Apartheid en Cuba
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    Why Do We Cubans Put Up With All This?

    Why Do We Cubans Put Up With All This? / Cubanet, Roberto Jesús Quiñones

    Cubanet, Roberto Jesús Quiñones Haces, Guantanamo, Cuba, 3 November 2016
    — In talking to fellow countrymen and foreigners, the question comes up:
    Why do we Cubans have put up with so much abuse from the Castros?

    The question is raised because of the discrimination to which we have
    been, and are still subject, to the existence of a dual currency system,
    excessive prices for goods and services, and the indiscriminate
    repression at the slightest sign of dissidence.

    But those who ask this question are forgetting inescapable historic
    circumstances, because the anthropological damage caused to the Cuban
    people by the Castros has its origins in the Sierra Maestra guerilla
    warfare and in secrecy. We also should not forget that the Cuban
    Revolution enjoyed the overwhelming sympathy and support of the people
    because its political and economic programme was backed up by the
    restoration of democracy. Measures which, with obvious popular impact in
    a country where the people, up until then, had been seen as an
    entelechy, guaranteed an extraordinary level of support for Castroism.
    Taking advantage of that, it was able to convert the slightest criticism
    into a counter-revolutionary act, thus legitimising repression “in the
    name of the people” although those who are repressed are a part of the

    In April 1961, a group of excited militiamen accepted Fidel Castro’s
    proclamation of a socialist revolution, “in the name of and on behalf of
    the Cuban people”, without which nobody would have conceded that right,
    on the corner of 23rd and 12th (opposite the cemetery in Vedado,
    Havana). A typical example of manipulation of the masses.

    Absolute control of education and the media, subjugating everyone to
    surveillance, ranging from telephones and correspondence, up to their
    private lives, making all family or individual advancement indissolubly
    linked to loyalty to the regime, was, among other practices, sufficient
    to establish Castro’s rigid control of society. When, in October 1965,
    the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party was created, another
    leftist dictatorship was politically formalized, which had, de facto,
    existed since 1959.

    Those who dare to stand up to the totalitarian regime pay for it by
    death in combat, being lined up and shot, thrown in jail, sent into
    exile, or ostracized.

    In the 70’s, the advance guard of a peaceful opposition made itself
    felt. It began to knit together a new awareness and, although the regime
    continued to enjoy popular support, the discontent was evident, as was
    demonstrated at the Mariel embassy and what happened afterwards. (The
    April 1980 occupation of the Peruvian embassy, the confrontation with
    the Castro government, and the subsequent mass exodus from the port of
    Mariel of some 125,000 Cubans to Miami.)

    The Special Period was another turning point. (the extended economic
    crisis from 1989, through the 1990s, following the collapse of the
    Soviet Union). Progress in the independent civil society was still going
    slowly, although more visibly. Its protagonists contributed to the
    revealing of another Cuba, which did not exist in the Cuban official
    media. Radio Martí, broadcast from the United States, made an enormous
    contribution to that.

    Fidel Castro’s posture, which was to refuse to admit the de facto
    failure of socialism, which he was faithfully copying, and which was
    going hand in hand with shortages, the exodus from the country of
    important cultural, sporting and political figures, the strengthening of
    the mass exodus of the Cuban people, the emergence of marked social
    differences and phenomena such as tourist apartheid, decriminalization
    of the dollar and prostitution, increased popular discontent.

    From then on, the civil society began to grow rapidly. The ground they
    had gained was thanks to their courage and persistence. Repression
    increased, but because of that, the people know that the police beat up
    and lock up men and women whose sole offence is to peacefully demand the
    observance of the human rights, which the Castro regime repeatedly
    violates on a massive scale.

    All of this occurs with the complicity of the State Prosecutor’s Office
    and the tribunals. The Cuban opposition lacks any rights. Along with the
    complicity of the state institutions, can be added the no less shameful
    connivance of numerous governments whose latest cynical act has been to
    approve Cuban membership of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

    Some ask, how much longer? Forgetting that to be a peaceful opposition
    requires a large dose of humility and courage. Anyone can shoot a
    policeman in the back, as did the members of Castro’s 26th of July
    movement, dedicated to overthrowing Batista, or place a bomb in a cinema
    or public place. If the peaceful opposition started to do that, if they
    took up arms – if they obtained them even though one of the first
    measures of the dictatorship was to eliminate arms factories – then
    Castro and his inevitable front men would go crying to their accomplices
    in the UN to denounce the “terrorists” and put an end to them with the
    consent of the governments who praise democracy while they support

    But it’s just one day at a time. In spite of the defamatory campaigns,
    the discrimination and abuse, the people are watching. It’s a long-term
    struggle, but at least the opponents don’t have the death of any other
    Cuban on their consciences. Their achievement is that they are fighting
    peacefully, even for the cowards who hit them, discriminate against
    them, and penalize them.

    Translated by GH

    Source: Why Do We Cubans Put Up With All This? / Cubanet, Roberto Jesús
    Quiñones Haces – Translating Cuba –

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