End of an era, in Cuba? Such rubbish

The press has made a big deal about the exit of Cuban generalissimo Raul Castro, dictator of the odious 63-year communist dictatorship on the socialist hellhole island.

"Meet Cuba's new leader who's not a Castro," went the CNN headline, as if we were supposed to be excited about some sort of new developments in Cuba.

"Exit of Cuba’s last Castro brings curtain down on revolutionary era," wrote Marc Frank at the Financial Times.

Oh, the change, change, change.

Which is baloney, or something stronger.

They've been talking about 'change' in Cuba, a communist hellhole and total failure from the very beginning, and for more than fifty years on out. And guess what? It's never happened. The crap about entrepreneurs for menial jobs is nonsense, anyone who shows anything resembling a profit from his meager earnings rapidly finds those earnings confiscated one way or another, and then it's back to the 'revolutionary struggle.' Meanwhile, the Cuban oligarchy -- with its 80-something year-old oligarchs, such as Ramiro Valdes, is exactly the same as it's always been. There are several names in this category. Remember Ramiro Valdes? He's the one whose knowledge of electricity amounted to administering electric shocks to Cuban dissidents, and who was later put in charge of Venezuela's electricity, blowing it out. In the words of Alanis Morrissette: 'Well, you're still alive.' Any questions as to why at least a quarter of the island's population has fled, often on floating tires and rickety boats?

I remember watching a network special from one of the nets back in 1978 or so, heralding the 20th anniversary of the Cuban revolution, featuring little kids standing in a military-like blocchanting communist slogans and the newsmen speculating on the likelihood of change now that the country has gone through 20 years of revolution, with Fidel Castro depicted as an avuncular old military dictator. I hunted for it, but did not find it, it was old as heck.

I did find this 1968 piece, though, from Charles Kuralt on YouTube, which, though imperfect in its claim that the indoctrinated kids were 'winners' in the regime, pretty well depicted Cuba with considerable accuracy, with forced labor on collective farms, political prisoners, forced recantations, filthy dungeon prisons, rundown shambling housing, the militarization of women, the hideous socialist grimness that descended over once-vibrant Havana, the lack of car parts, the ration books, the lack of ration books, the fear of the secret police, the spying, the mobs, the lack of food, the "mediocrity," the socialist grayness, the cash in the country spent on military weapons, and a lot of other horrors, all perfectly accurate today. 

If you have 20-some minutes time, it's an eye-opener from an honest if imperfect journalist who refuses to withhold the entire story as he knows it and was able to find it, even if there are dribs and drabs of error in places. They don't make journalists like Kuralt any more, and fifty years after his piece, it sure as heck is more accurate and informative as news than anything being broadcast by the gushy coopted media today. (And the utterly dated Mad Men-style Connecticut Life ads are a hoot). Sadly, it's only gotten at this writing about 163 views.

The news today may herald change but the real Cubans who know the place know better. Alberto de la Cruz at the estimable Babalu blog in Miami gives the actual scoop in a piece titled: "The Castro family dictatorship still holds the reins of power in Cuba." It features part of a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Marcell Felipe, which tells the reality:

Raúl Castro announced his resignation as chief of Cuba’s Communist Party on Friday. Many U.S. media outlets characterized the move as the “end of an era” of communist rule on the Caribbean island. This is false. For many years Cuba has not really operated as a communist or socialist state. Instead it has been ruled by a military dictatorship that concentrates its power within a cartel-like chain of command of hard-line Castro family members and loyalists and generals who fiercely shield their wealth and status—as well as each other.

Many analysts are focused on whether Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel will inherit Mr. Castro’s leadership position as party secretary, which—on paper, at least—is the highest office in the land. This is a distraction, as is Mr. Díaz-Canel, who was installed by Mr. Castro in 2018 as part of a faux transition of power. In Cuba, the Castro family leads with an iron fist, and the party and government follow suit. Even the Communist Party’s online motto, #SomosContinuidad—“we are continuity”—implies the regime is determined not to change.

And in another powerful essay by Venezuelan journalist Orlando Avendano, the lowdown is given in "Cuba remains the same."

Reinaldo Arenas shouted to the world in 1992 that Cubans on the island lived under the oppression of a relentless dictatorship, which persecuted political dissidents or what the regime deemed were moral dissidents (gays and others).

Decades later, Cuba remains the same. Little, if anything, has changed. I mention Reinaldo Arenas because his cry was the most powerful, but the writer is a symbol of five damned years of persecution, a persecution against the free world, the world of the arts. Arts became the enemy of the Cuban government because it no longer remained silent against the endless crimes by the regime. The strained relationship between Castro and the arts ended years of deep adoration and profit schemes on the hands of the dictator. Censorship, jail, torture, and death were tactics used by Castro to suppress any creative thought that challenged his evil government.

And it did not matter as history shows. That is and was the reality of the island. A reality that was strongly denounced in the book Antes Que Anochezca (Before Night Falls). Arenas’ voice remained unheard. Years went by and the Hollywood elite continued to visit the island, like Europeans in a Jeep admiring the beauty of the lions or the height of the giraffes. A zoo, miserable, in the end, was what the island became. Pandered by those artists in whom Reinaldo Arenas did not find an echo.

The artists on one hand and the politicians on the other. Obama, for example, only cared about the narcissistic applause of the vain world of the Ivy League and European academies. The thaw, even if it was accompanied by sitting next to the dictator enjoying a baseball game, was praiseworthy. The thaw, even if it only represented an economic relief for the communist leadership, but no freedoms for Cubans, was praiseworthy. Obama was praised for shaking the hands of a tyrant, while Trump was crucified for daring to ask for democracy for the Cuban people before handshakes.

Read the whole thing here.

Meanwhile, the Miami Herald went and interviImage: Pixabay / Pixabay Licenseewed Cuban exiles on the street who said the same thing - that this shift is the nominal reins of power in the socialist dump is nothing to get excited about. They know better. They've known better for years. They've known since 1968, and almost certainly earlier. Communism is a hellhole and it's very hard to get rid of, a cancer on society, and a killer if one cannot escape. 

So much for the press gushing about change afoot. It's a story foretold and foretold, and foretold for decades. The bottom line is that named or not, the Castro regime and all its vileness remain in power, and any change of faces to suggest change itself is a total lie.

Image: Pixabay / Pixabay License

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