What lies ahead?
At the start of the "Anti-imperialist Patriotic Duty Day," celebrated in the district of Belén, in the Havana municipality of Marianao, Cuba's hero/spy René González stressed the importance of an awareness of Cuban history, in particular the dispute between the island and the US, dating back to the 19th century." According to the newspaper Granma, González stated: "That is the man challenge facing the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries. If we do not forget the past, we will be able to successfully overcome what lies ahead."
To what worrisome future events did he refer when he warned about "what lies ahead"? It is quite possible he was alluding to an exchange of between Cuba and the US, through which the latter would benefit from investments in industry, agriculture, tourism, construction and communications on the Island, while Cuba would receive a percentage of profits and acquire advanced technology, more and better jobs, increased productivity and real GDP growth.
One asks: what would be wrong with all that? For some people, nothing. For others, a lot: the alleged danger of the return of capitalist forms of production, with the economic freedoms they entail and consequent independence from a paternalistic State; the development of entrepreneurship and a respect for the individual and his interests; the free exchange of ideas, and the philosophical conclusion that the market is a more efficient distributor of resources than government bureaucracy, with its planning and centralization.
That bureaucracy sees American capitalists' arrival on the scene as a threat to its hegemonic interests. But there will be not only economic changes. Now more than ever before, Cuba is a ripe fruit that is bound to fall in the geopolitical orbit of the US, with all the risks that this entails.
Cuban society suffers from a chronic lack of leadership. The perpetuation of a dictatorship based on a Stalinist model has eradicated all forms of unofficial thought and unofficial action, and today Cubans, most born after 1959, only know how to parrot revolutionary slogans devoid of meaning, and resign themselves to surviving in a precarious balance between misery and crime. Or they simply leave.
Given this social situation, in which amorality prevails, the piecemeal sale of the country will become another element that conspires against the existence of Cuba as an independent nation, and the worst part is that, apparently, those in power know this; hence René González's warning, perhaps the result of an inadvertent indiscretion.
While Cuba's rulers spout patriotic and misleading rhetoric, they simultaneously harbor plans to get the embargo lifted and turn Cuba into a kind of American protectorate, of which they will be the administrators.
We Cubans are stuck with a Government that prefers to surrender to foreign capital rather than "change everything that must be changed;" that is, the ban on Cubans attaining wealth legitimately, and prohibitions against them choosing their leaders and freely gathering and expressing themselves.
The lifting of the American economic and financial embargo against Cuba will turn the country into something much worse than it was before 1959: simply a holding of the US, managed by parties in cahoots with the Island's top brass.
It is doubtful that the residents of Pogolotti or any other Cuban neighborhood will be able to grapple with what is coming, because it is a conspiracy that has long been brewing behind the people's backs, who apparently prefer to stay out of the determination of their fates, and to leave them in the hands of the PCC, allowing a group of opportunists, old and young, to decide what the Cuba of tomorrow will be like.
Most Cubans are not even aware of what is coming, or even the fact that it is, such that René González's words must have gone in one ear and out the other.
Ignorance disguised as ideology is what sustains the Government. Cubans in the Atarés quarter do not know much about politics or economics, the political Left or Right, market socialism or State monopolistic capitalism. Cubans are not trained to think in those terms, nor are they interested in doing so, because they are too busy worrying about what their children are going to eat for dinner, or whether they will have shoes to start the school year. Cuban history has been so subverted that it ceased to be a subject of interest to them a long time ago.