Using misery and hunger to rule a people: The metaphysics of Cuba’s ‘Special Period’

Translation: It is better to cease to exist than to cease to be a revolutionary. – Fidel Castro

Cuba’s socialist Castro dictatorship knows when people are hungry and struggling to survive, they have little time to think of freedom and human rights. This concept is the true foundation of Cuba’s communist revolution: using misery and hunger to rule a people.

Miguel Salas in Diario de Cuba:

The Metaphysics of the ‘Special Period’

Cuba’s subaltern president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, recently declared on national television that the “Special Period”  was “a great act of collective creation, with firm leadership that never gave up”.

Despite the numerous criticisms of the metaphor used to characterize this diffuse period (which officially began in 1990, but whose end has never been fully clarified) it is the first time that Díaz-Canel has actually conveyed a really interesting idea, one which points to a profound understanding of the nature of the regime he oversees administrates. This conceptual capacity is very meritorious, because his functions are not supposed to include that of exercising “the dismal mania of thinking”, which, at the beginning of the 19th century, Fernando VII’s supporters reviled.

According to the sermon that Castro II delivered on April 19 of last year, when he appointed Díaz-Canel to the first magistracy, the exercise of the presidency of the Council of State and the Council of the Ministers consists of applying old ideas, transmitting new orders, and preserving,  sine die,  the political monopoly of the  Communist Party of Cuba (PCC)  .

In line with this definition, that day the new president promised that he would be faithful to the ideas of Castro I, as enforced by Castro II and the hegemony of the PCC. “I know the strength and wisdom of the people, the leadership of the Party, the ideas of Fidel, […] and I affirm before this assembly that Comrade Raúl will lead the decisions for the present and future of the nation,” he declared at the time.

Now, upon proposing prescriptions to face the prospect of a new “Special Period,” Diaz-Canel has stated that it is necessary to return to the measures promulgated by Castro I in the 1990s: “These are documents that have to be dusted off, that the whole world has to study,” he said.

Those who criticize the description of the “Special Period” offered by Díaz-Canel are totally missing the point. They draw on anecdotes and remember the power outages, the camello superbuses , the transgenic tilapia fish, the hunting of street cats; optic neuritis and other epidemics generated by malnutrition, and point to the more than probable increase in the number of suicides and abortions spawned by the regime’s measures.

Although all this is evident, the deep meaning of the “Special Period” must be sought in the interiorization of suffering, misery and submission as normal conditions of survival under Castroism.

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