Castro vs. the Cuban People: Where was the President?

by  and translated by Alex Higson  /  July 22, 2013  / No comments

Orlando Luis Pardo discusses the subtext and nuances of Raúl Castro’s recent inflammatory speech to the Cuban people.

Raúl Castro. Photo: Courtesy of Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo.

With a speech that lasted 35 minutes, Commander in Chief Raúl Castro destroyed the very last traces of the New Man that would complete the 1959 Castroist revolution. In doing so he created a paradox in which a leader accused the masses of living without moral and civic values: Without honesty or decency or shame or modesty or honor or sensitivity or solidarity.

  1. Is it worth-while to focus on the last images and letters coming from the inside of the last living utopia on Earth? Is Cuba by now a contemporary country or just another old-fashioned delusion in the middle of Nowhere-America? A Cold-War Northtalgia maybe? Can we expect a young within that Ancien Régime still known as The Revolution? I would like to provoke more questions than answers.
  2. Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo was born in Havana City and still resides and resists there, working as a free-lance writer, photographer and blogger. He is the author of Boring Home (2009) and is the editor of the independent opinion and literary e-zine Voces.

Raúl Castro (who is also the First Secretary of the Cuban Communist Party and President of the Council of State) made this condemnatory speech on July 7 during the 8th Legislature of the National Parliament. At times, the General seemed to be on the verge of ordering an ethnic cleansing of the Cuban nation. He threatened to impose discipline at any cost, even though we Cubans are used to that after more than half a century of watching the government use repression as a mechanism for creating consensus and governability.

So, the governing elite is now discovering that the island is in ruin, and that its raw human material is reprobate at best, guilty of: Theft, impunity, squatting, black-market dealing, noncompliance with working hours, illegal slaughter of livestock and endangered species, breeding animals in the city, hoarding products in short supply and reselling them at higher prices, illegal gambling, bribery and perks, harassment of tourists, computer hacking, drunkenness, swearing, and littering in public (as well as defecating and urinating in parks and on the street), graffiti, pounding music, academic fraud, vandalization of phone booths and pylons and even drains and traffic signs…

For speeches similar to Raúl Castro’s most recent one (what we can call a Cubanicide), many people who are critical of the socialist system have been officially punished with ostracism, stigmatization, jail, exile, and death.

The question that never gets answered is this: Where were brothers Fidel and Raúl Castro while Cuba was falling to pieces? Were they ignorant or inefficient or indolent?

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