In recent months, events have shown that Cuba has begun to enter a new phase. To sum up a reality in which one is playing an active role is extremely difficult, especially when signals mix with facts, replacing the foundation of verifiable information. However, the signs are clear enough: the Cuban government is in checkmate. An erratic and twisted foreign policy, a bankrupt economy, a state of increasing social discontent and lack of confidence within the country, plus the successive fractures suffered by the ruling party leadership itself point to the galloping deterioration of the system.
The year 2010 has proved particularly difficult for the regime. The deaths of dozens of patients at the Psychiatric Hospital, the death of political prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo and current hunger strikes by Guillermo Farinas and several political prisoners have publicly unmasked the regime’s despotic nature and exposed the systematic human rights violations in the Island. The clique of landlords is watching its deceptive mask collapse, and has lost thousands of naïve (and not so naïve) followers and supporters who believed, or pretended to believe, in the revolutionary project as an example of social justice. Indubitably, foreign cronies have realized that you cannot simulate decency and simultaneously support a satrapy.
Late last year, some foreign journalists asked me about my personal perception of the Cuban government’s performance over the medium term in relation to its internal dissent. At that time, I said that, based on historical experience, an increase in repression was expected, which was also the view shared by many of my colleagues in the Island. Subsequent events have proved me right: arbitrary arrests, threats, verbal and physical aggression on the part of the mobs and the representatives of the authorities -whether uniformed or civilian- against independent civil society citizens indicate that the wounded beast is not willing to budge an inch and will do everything possible to retain absolute power over a nation it regards as its property and asset, including the provision of slaves. It is very likely that repression will increase at the same pace as the regime feels it is losing.
On the other hand, the moral contrast between the extremes is undeniable. Orlando Zapata’s quiet dignity in facing his own death, and that of Guillermo Fariñas, despite his frail health, or of the 75 of the Black Spring, who refuse to even consider being exchanged for mediocre spies, of the Ladies in White, who march, armed with gladioli, against the violence of the wolf pack –trivial and vulgar, blackmailed by the authorities and forced into such a sad service- and of the resolve of many members of the independent civil society to peacefully exercise their rights to association and to the free expression of their views and differences are earning the public’s respect and support, and constitute the strongest indictment of the repression applied by government forces and of the facts of corruption among senior leaders that have been made public in recent months.
Tropical socialism’s big lie, the worn out myth of the olive green guerrillas and the shreds of what once was its symbolic force, the zombie effect that previously lorded over Cubans, and the glare of the eternal external lovers, those well-heeled leftists, are in countdown mode. Nobody knows how long the fall will be, but, without a doubt, it is already unstoppable.