Monthly Archives: February 2010

For its Weak Side

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With the collapse of the “iron curtain”, it was thought that our oppressive shackles would be broken, affected by the corrosion of the economy. When this didn’t happen, an oracle was sought. Oracles have been used for making predictions: the board of Orula, the Ouija board, tarot cards, runes and I Ching among others. The popular imagination saw prophecies even in the serious and well weighted academic analysis . It has been said, Now, YES! Now, YES! to create a planetary alignment, the passing of a comment or other cosmic event. In general, the citizen approach to changes has been led by external factors.

Today the scenario for the changes is already defined. The Magna Greece bequeathed us the sentence: Power corrupts and absolute power absolutely corrupts. Those who have ruled half a century in a totalitarian manner are alienated by their omnipotence. They have started a dynastic succession to perpetuate in power at any price. The young members of the ruling government, projected as heirs, grew convinced that the country is simply family heritage and its people modern slaves and serfs. They were trained in the certainty that their duty is to preserve the gains of their parents.

I want peace. I strive to foster a holistic culture of respect and peace. This is the way to not disappear as a nation and to perpetuate ourselves as human beings in general. But in our history, conflicts have been resolved with violence. The Latin maxim: after reason comes the sword, amongst us “the sword to enforce my reason.”

Possibly the mistakes will be repeated and the transition to democracy will pass through a stage of violence, to be very clear: bloody.  It is the only way to open the system. In the morbid psychology of the leaders, it is to leave behind the Apocalypse. For reference we have the Mariel boatlift in 1980. The U.S. president said that they would receive refugees with open arms and allowed Cubans in the United States to come by boat to pick up their relatives. With characteristic arrogance Fidel Castro emptied the jails of ordinary prisoners and hospitals of the insane and forced the U.S. to take them away. He just wanted to show that those who left their paradise were criminals and madmen.

The rebuilding of civil society is the foundation that will support the changes. For that we must overcome the psychological barriers of helplessness and regain self-esteem. The transition starts from our skin inward. The necessary and sufficient condition is to change the perspective and to become self-centered. To take decisions and to exercise citizens’ rights; To perform those natural human acts spontaneously without asking permission, and without coercion. By achieving internal growth, the mold outside is broken. Every day, there are more that empower themselves, strengthen their will and form into independent organizations.

One example is the Platform for Candidate Nominations for Change. They promote independent citizens to come forward as delegates of the People, in elections in the constituency where they live. So begins the transformation from the base and within the regime’s own legal system.

It has been proven that no repressive apparatus, however professional and well-resourced, can stop all people exercising their rights peacefully. We see this when people are visited in an attempt to intimidate and coerce them not to stand as independent candidates. They know that if they frighten and abandon them the paralysis remains.

According to Marxist philosophy, for change to occur, three factors are needed, namely: 1 .- That there are objective conditions, 2 .- That subjective conditions are created, 3 .- That there is a leader. Let’s see what the situation is in our society.

1 .- The objective conditions were created by the demise of the USSR and the so-called socialist camp in Eastern Europe. This is getting worse each day, with the system not able to satisfy even the basic needs of the population.

2 .- The subjective conditions are shown when the citizen identifies the bad with the system and not with external causes. Because of this public criticism and social indiscipline increases. This was proved in a survey conducted between April 25 and May 25, 2009. Of those surveyed, 46% felt that the system had stagnated and 52% felt it had regressed. This indicates that changes are required. The frustration, helplessness and lack of hope was expressed by the 52% who answered that they only had some possibilities to realize their aspirations and the 43% that they had none.

3 .- When civil society emerges citizens gain visibility with capacity to lead. This is perceived when repressive agencies selectively prevent certain citizens from having access to public places and meetings. The goal is for emerging leaders to not interact with their followers. They know very well that society is doomed for social upheaval or as their own philosophy of the system calls it: the conditions are created for a revolution. The reactionary powers feel threatened by the peaceful actions of the civil society and its leaders of opinion.

The system has amply demonstrated, outside the national borders, their combatant capability and inside its borders, the efficiency in repression. Even in the midst of an existential crisis, it is ready to crush, in a bloody manner, the violent attempts to change. To contain these actions, it is fully ready and wanting to use this route. But the transformations proceed through its weak flank. It is not ready for the peaceful struggle of citizens who are empowered with information and communication technologies. Urgently they sought technological support in China, they strengthened these defenses and want to go on the offensive. But in this they have the rigidity of a professional army in relation to the flexibility that characterizes a guerrilla. To this must be added the fear that their trained young people might identify themselves with the objectives of their opponents.

Translated by: JRoDDz and CIMF. Edited by MRZ

New Wineskins

On Friday the 12th, the economist Oscar Espinosa Chepe – an honorable prisoner of conscience from the 2003 Black Spring, on parole – gave us a lecture at the Blogger Academy on the state of the Cuban economy at the end of 2009.

He showed us, with facts, figures, tables and benchmarks, how the system in place since 1959 is in its terminal phase. The inability to generate wealth due to its inefficiency and unproductivity over a long period prevented it from replacing what it spends. Instead of implementing appropriate economic changes it began a process of self-cannibalism, and has devoured itself. Fortunately, the disaster is of such magnitude that it is impossible to perpetuate it.

Structural transformations involve socio-political changes that generate redistribution of power. For this reason the snake has preferred to swallow its own tail and engorge itself. With criminal arrogance the regime has gobbled up everyone’s inheritance.

Those in power would prefer to implement minimal changes without affecting their own exploitative interests. But the Gospel of Matthew tells us: No one puts new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins will break — the wine will spill out, and the wineskins will be ruined.  Instead they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.

I contextualize this biblical quotation when I see the octogenarian State Council Vice-President Jose Ramon Machado Ventura all over the country, with the presumption that young people will continue with the aged vessels. I am in touch with that generation and I know perfectly well that they are already making their own wine and preparing new wineskins.

Translated by: Tomás A.

The Epidemic of Change

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On Saturday I saw the movie “The last days of Franco” by director Roberto Bodegas, which is circulating in the underground film network. The film chronicles the last two months in the life of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. I have already passed it on to others, with the suggestion that they do the same.

I have used this method for some time with excellent results. I initially called it “exponential diffusion.”  I figured, ideally, you can pass on to 2, who can pass on to 4, these to 16, and so on. Then I started calling it the avalanche:  I visualized an avalanche to undermine the state media monopoly, to destroy and crush it.

But I borrowed Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point – How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, and have learned that the transmission of ideas, messages, and behaviors that change our lives spread like viruses, and thus their diffusion has the dynamics of an epidemic. In our context we only have to take off the mask, sneeze strongly and often, to spread the virus and be part of the epidemic of change.

Translated by: Tomás A.