Communism in Cuba will end when citizens can unite

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Imagine a world of absolute equality: no competition, no minorities, no difference.

Is this utopia? No, it is communism... along with the whole posse: socialism, totalitarianism, Marxism, and Leninism. Communism is merely a system of social organization in which all economic and social activity is controlled by a totalitarian state, which is dominated by a single and self-perpetuating political party.

Such regimes tend to continuously contradict themselves, ranging from absolute egalitarianism to the strictest and most aggressive form of dictatorship. The ideas propagated by communism are merely rhetorical ones meant to facilitate the manipulation of the masses. Even Fidel Castro, the president of Cuba from 1976 until February of this year and first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, who has continuously insisted on the difference between the aforementioned “-isms,” has been known to forget exactly which set of ideologies he stands for.

“I am not a communist, and neither is the revolutionary movement,” Castro said in 1959 after he overthrew Fulgencio Batista, the president at the time, in the revolution that brought him to power. “I am a Marxist Leninist and I will be one until the last day of my life,” he added. Well, Mr. Communist Party President, I wasn’t aware that being a communist was optional while presiding within the one party that is meant to do precisely that: protect and endorse communist ideology.

The fact of the matter is that if and when a dictator’s rise to power goes smoothly, after a while he gathers enough force to safely assume any role within the public or political sphere with little fear of external judgment, disagreement, or prosecution. That is how totalitarian regimes assume, maintain, and nurture their power — by forming a sort of elite socio-political class that protects itself and its interests while feeding off what they take from the people — the supposed excesses of capitalism.

Ironically, these regimes assert that they do all of this for a noble cause: They are only filthily rich and powerful because they are doing what they can to maintain the “sacred balances” within societies.

Yoani Sanchez, currently one of the most well-known critics of the Castro regime, did the unthinkable when she was a student at the University of Havana in writing her thesis on dictatorships about the Latin American regime. In the thesis, she may not have directly criticized Castro, but the government definitely thought she was too close for comfort in a country where most types of personal expression are officially unthinkable. As a result, Sanchez eventually fled to Switzerland, in 2002, with her son and husband later joining her.

In 2004, however, she did the unthinkable again and moved back to Cuba after her husband couldn’t find a job. In April 2007, Sanchez started a blog, “Generación Y,” about real life in Cuba, and rather surprisingly in the stifling society, posts with her real name and photograph. While shortly before she started her blog, Cuba’s communications czar, Ramiro Valdes, told the public that “the wild colt of the new technologies could and must be controlled,” nothing has been enough to stop her.

Sanchez writes her blog posts at home and, using a USB drive, takes her work to a tourist hotel or an Internet café to upload her thoughts. Her blog’s server is outside of Cuba, of course, far from the system and its tamers of “the wild colt.”

While such a situation sounds nasty, most Cubans seem pretty complacent. But as the saying goes, things are rarely what they seem to be. If your life depended on it, you too would be complacent and keep all forms of opinion to yourself. For Cubans, it does — literally.

Like all kinds of totalitarian regimes, “stability” in Cuba rests on one important task: perpetuating the political propaganda, the main sedative of the Cuban society. With just the right dosage of fear and misleading statements, the Cuban political regime has maintained power and influence for about half a century.

The Cuban government has been so successful in its own hypnotizing ways that Castro, now 82, has not been seen in more or less two years, during which word has gotten out about his gradually failing health and numerous operations. He has handed the power over to his brother Raul Castro and, generally speaking, no speculations have been heard from the Cuban population about how maybe, just maybe, the poor old man is worm food by now.

But silence must be maintained. Even if Castro is not physically present, the abstract idea of him is still powerful enough to feed the atmosphere of fear and blind obedience under which Cuba’s people live.
Cuba’s government can very well shoot down a few “rebels,” but it cannot keep an island with a population of around 11 million down forever.

The “good lord” can just “take Fidel one of these days,” as George W. Bush recently said in a speech at the Naval War College in reply to questions about Castro’s health and ongoing influence; what “the good lord” certainly cannot do, however, is banish the influence of totalitarian regimes like communism by getting rid of its transmitters.

Communism is a force by itself, and it survives by spreading, as all such ideologies do. I’m pretty sure the good lord won’t be bothering with Castro for a while, anyway; and the dictator seems to think so too, as indicated by his response to Bush’s criticism: “Now I understand why I survived Bush’s plans and the plans of other presidents who ordered my assassination: the good lord protected me.”

I believe that neither the death of Castro nor that of his brother Raul will result in the fall of communism. Communism doesn’t have a face, but facilitators. In a place where even cell phones are just starting to be available, how can people know they want change if they don’t know what change looks like?

But I do not see change as far away as the Castro brothers would probably hope for. The people are the key — communism will die when they are ready to let it go. Why would anything change when the essential ingredient of totalitarian regimes — manipulation of the masses — has gone so smoothly for Cuba? As younger generations grow, communication with the outside world will increase, and will subsequently feed the imaginations and dreams of Cubans.

The end for such regimes will come eventually. The hypnosis controlling these people’s lives and thoughts will be interrupted as soon as they attain the political capability to break the habit of fear, obedience, and subordination; their success will be proportional to their unity in doing so.