The protest by bicycle rickshaw drivers in the Plaza de la Revolución debunks many stereotypes
The protest by bicycle taxi operators in the Plaza de la Revolución is an even meriting some analysis. The images show the operators demonstrating an enviable level of organization, with their rickshaws all lined up, one behind the other, in an orderly manner, projecting an image of numbers and power, focused on a specific issue.
This protest dispels many stereotypes. People in Cuba are not afraid when they are motivated by something they feel really affects their interests. The opposition's politically-charged discourse is simply not in tune with their realities. These people's perception of the common good, based on a lot of logic and common sense, is not related to political issues.
Several of them talk about rights, so it is not true that people are ignorant of their rights. Others are calling upon carriage drivers and other carriers to join, so there is an incipient desire and determination to build clout through numbers. The potential is there and, frankly, the opposition's absence from these conflicts demonstrates a failure to reach out and connect with the people, thereby finding strength in numbers. Cubans must start pedalling.
Meanwhile, the migration continues, and will continue to do so at a steady pace. People are moving, but in a direction opposite that of the change in Cuba. Many of the Cuban emigrants interviewed, bound for Mexico, via Panama are engineers and argue that the people will continue fleeing, whether the borders are closed or not.
The migratory flow is, in reality, another sign of the lack of hope in Cuba, not only with regards to the Government, but also at the prospect of the opposition changing the regime. It also shows that other sectors of the Cuban population, motivated by a specific and concrete idea, are able to take risks and confront fear, or move forward despite their fear – which is the best definition of courage.
In short, the great challenge for pro-change activists in Cuba is to find an idea capable of rallying the people. Obviously, this idea has not emanated from the political and academic spheres. Bicycle rickshaw operators, carriage drivers and mobile stand vendors, to mention just a few, having been making suggestions in this regard.
The whole Communist bloc fell due to a workers' strike, with concrete demands. But Cubans must start pedaling, and get moving.