Streets Without Protests

Protestors in the streets of Vienna (Luz Escobar)

Protestors in the streets of Vienna (Luz Escobar)

A friend sent me photos of a demonstration in the streets of Vienna in support of the Palestinians. I also received—from all over the world—images with signs of solidarity or rejection of one or the other of the parties implicated in the conflict in Gaza. Many take sides and demonstrate it, be it a tweet, a way of dressing, a shout or a public protest. In Cuba, however, only the official press and institutions may speak in headlines and statements. In the 14 days of the latest bloody confrontation between Israel and Hamas, no spontaneous demonstration on the subject has taken place in our public spaces.

Freedom can be simulated, replaced by false statistics of well-being and justice, but someone always puts it to the test. That public protests on national and international issues don’t happen in our territory is evidence of the lack of rights and social autonomy we endure. It is this same gagging of public speech that prevents organizations like those of the LGBT community from protesting the arrival on the island of Vladimir Putin, considered one of the most homophobic presidents on the planet today. It is also a bad sign that today, during the arrival of Xi Jinping, no one is seen outside the airport demanding the release of Chinese dissidents or asking for greater environmental protections in that country.

I repeat, freedom can be simulated, but its lack is obvious in a minute, its immense absence. So among my friends—one of whom has prepared his keffiyeh, while the other has a Star of David tattooed on his arm—cannot march through the streets of Havana showing their preferences or outrage. No one is allowed, of their own initiative, to denounce the deaths, the blood, the pain. Thus, we will not see pictures from Havana with the streets filled with people outraged by the events in Gaza.

123 thoughts on “Streets Without Protests

  1. It´s not really aout the Castros or Cuban exiles and dissidents. It´s about people understanding what´s going on and learning the best way to do something about it, and it´s happening!

  2. This is the same result of both pure socialism and capitalism: Most people have to suffer the consequences of a small elite taking almost all the resources. A thriving economy and society is created by good govt and an upwardly mobile working and middle class.

  3. Neutral Observer: The reason that the government can use violence is because there aren’t enough Cubans on the street demonstrating….Cuba has 12 Million People if only 1500 show up to demonstrate, then the Cuban government is not afraid to use violence to control the malcontent.

  4. Many countries seem peaceful becase of a repressive govt or poverty, usually both. These govts are afraid of IT because it shows people that reality is very different from what they want people to know. The good news is that humans are able to learn and progress even when repressive forces are very great.
    In India there´s a new, very cheap smartphone. India´s not a “socialist paradise”, but it´s hardly an evil capitalist empire either…

  5. Omar,

    I thought the reason we don’t see many successful demonstrations in Cuba is because all free demonstrations are illegal in Cuba.

    You sure write a lot of nonsense while avoiding the obvious.

    The Castro police arrest demonstrators, beat them up, destroy their homes and fire them from their jobs.

    Obviously Castro disagrees with you about the threat of public demonstrations.

  6. A successful demonstration — one that accomplishes its goals either immediately or over the long term, and that runs the way organizers envisioned — depends upon clarity of purpose, getting people there, getting the message to those who need to hear it, and leaving a sense of success and support for the issue with your target audience, your constituents, the public, and the media.

    ….and this is why we don’t see too many successful demonstrations in Cuba. There never is a sense of success and support for the issue with the target audience…the Cuban People are divided on the message the dissidents keep sending. The dissidents message is not one for sovereignty of Cuba. Their message is perceived as an extension of the U.S. regime change policy against Cuba and many Cubans view them as mercenaries of the Empire instead of Patriots that support sovereignty and Human Rights. The dissidents message has been made unclear by Raul’s reforms and the dissidents have lost support for change because change has come to Cuba without regime change. This is why they keep complaining about the speed of change of the reforms implemented so far because they have no valid option for change that does not threaten Cuban sovereignty. It is very clear they want U.S. intervention in Cuba and a return to American undue influence in internal affairs in Cuba. There are enough Cubans alive today that actually lived through a Cuba dominated by the U.S. and know that this is not a solution to Cuba’s economic problems. A Socialist Democratic Republic is a better option for the island nation then a return to an existence as part of the U.S. Plantation economic influence.

  7. Demonstrations essentially serve a function of social outreach. It tells other people that there are others who care about the issue, and provides opportunities for them to network and plug into other forms of activism. So it’s not very effective in itself as far as changing the system, but it’s useful for movement-building.

  8. Mario,

    You seem to have a problem thinking. Your posts make no sense.

    I don’t claim to want to go fighting in the mountains.

    You claim to be a socialist.

    But you prefer capitalism for yourself.

    Here’s the question again:

    When is ONE socialist anywhere going to remove his money from his capitalist bank, donate it all to the poor, and move to Cuba to live like a worker?

  9. In the doorway I let the ladies first:
    Travelling to Cuba, I let the Cubans first.

    So let me ask again:

    When is ONE Cuban willing to sell his house in Miami, donate the money to the Endownment for Democacy and go to Cuba to fight the “bloody dictatorship”. I do not mean to fight on the blog. I mean to fight the way Fidel did, as real man, starting in the mountains.

    If anyone wants to know a reason why to stand against the cuban government please don’t ask me becuase I don’t know. Ask Neutral Observer. He won’t join you, but will give you a looooong talk with plenty of arguments against Fidel and Raul. If you’re lucky he’ll invite you for a glass of scotch in very comfortable armchairs of his studio. You will then notice a sticker on his door: ABAJO LOS CASTRO.

  10. Mario,

    I wasn’t offering you a deal. I don’t claim to be a military man and have no need to fight anybody.

    I asked a simple question to the demented capitalist hypocrites who claim to be socialists:

    When is ONE socialist anywhere going to remove his money from his capitalist bank, donate it all to the poor, and move to Cuba to live like a worker?

    If that’s too complicated for you, I’ll make it simpler:

    How come socialists never live like socialists?

  11. Neutral says:
    “When is ONE socialist anywhere going to remove his money from his capitalist bank, donate it all to the poor, and move to Cuba to live like a worker?”

    Foreigners are welcomed in Cuba, as tourists. But I may go for good, if…

    …When is ONE Cuban willing to sell his house in Miami, donate the money to the Endownment for Democacy and go to Cuba to fight the “bloody dictatorship”. I do not mean to fight on the blog. I mean to fight the way Fidel did, as real man, starting in the mountains.

  12. THE CHAVISTASFASCISTAS ACTING LIKE THE MAFIA THAT THEY ARE! TRYING TO GET THEIR NARCO FRIEND OUT OF JAIL! AND OUT OF EXTRADITION TO THE USA!

    WALL STREET JOURNAL: Aruba Says Venezuela Raised Military Pressure on It – by Kejal Vyas and José de Córdoba

    CARACAS—The Netherlands’ release of a former top Venezuelan official wanted by the U.S. for alleged drug trafficking came after Venezuela raised economic and military pressure on two Dutch islands in the Caribbean, a top Aruban official said Monday.

    Aruba’s chief prosecutor Peter Blanken said that Venezuelan navy ships neared Aruba and Curaçao over the weekend as Dutch officials were debating what to do with Hugo Carvajal —Venezuela’s former chief of military intelligence who was jailed in Aruba last week on a U.S. warrant.

    “The threat was there,” Mr. Blanken said. “We don’t know what their intentions were, but I think a lot of people in Aruba were scared that something would happen.”

    Mr. Blanken said Venezuela’s government also had threatened to sever Venezuela’s vital commercial air links to Aruba and Curaçao. Venezuela’s state oil company also threatened to withdraw from a contract to manage Curaçao’s refinery, Mr. Blanken said, which would have put at risk some 8,000 jobs.

    Aruban officials on Wednesday detained Mr. Carvajal, known as “el Pollo,” or “the Chicken,” but then released him on Sunday night after the Dutch government ruled that he was protected by diplomatic immunity. The decision overruled Aruban officials who had decided that the Venezuelan had no immunity because he hadn’t been confirmed as consul by the Dutch government.

    Much to the dismay of U.S. officials, Mr. Carvajal flew to Caracas on Sunday night to a hero’s welcome from President Nicolás Maduro.

    Annemijn van den Broek, a spokeswoman for the Dutch Foreign Ministry, said the decision to release Mr. Carvajal was made solely on legal grounds. She confirmed Venezuelan ships had come close to the islands, but said the Dutch Ministry of Defense had been told by the Venezuelans that the ships were returning from a naval exercise.

    “I understand that the people on the island had a sense of urgency, but we have confirmation that this had nothing to do with the case,” she said.

    HAVING TROUBLE POSTING LINK, SO COPY AND PASTE ARTICLE TITLE AND SEARCH TO REACH IT!

  13. THE CHAVISTASFASCISTAS ACTING LIKE THE MAFIA THAT THEY ARE! TRYING TO GET THEIR NARCO FRIEND OUT OF JAIL! AND OUT OF EXTRADITION TO THE USA!

    WALL STREET JOURNAL: Aruba Says Venezuela Raised Military Pressure on It – by Kejal Vyas and José de Córdoba

    CARACAS—The Netherlands’ release of a former top Venezuelan official wanted by the U.S. for alleged drug trafficking came after Venezuela raised economic and military pressure on two Dutch islands in the Caribbean, a top Aruban official said Monday.

    Aruba’s chief prosecutor Peter Blanken said that Venezuelan navy ships neared Aruba and Curaçao over the weekend as Dutch officials were debating what to do with Hugo Carvajal —Venezuela’s former chief of military intelligence who was jailed in Aruba last week on a U.S. warrant.

    “The threat was there,” Mr. Blanken said. “We don’t know what their intentions were, but I think a lot of people in Aruba were scared that something would happen.”

    Mr. Blanken said Venezuela’s government also had threatened to sever Venezuela’s vital commercial air links to Aruba and Curaçao. Venezuela’s state oil company also threatened to withdraw from a contract to manage Curaçao’s refinery, Mr. Blanken said, which would have put at risk some 8,000 jobs.

    Aruban officials on Wednesday detained Mr. Carvajal, known as “el Pollo,” or “the Chicken,” but then released him on Sunday night after the Dutch government ruled that he was protected by diplomatic immunity. The decision overruled Aruban officials who had decided that the Venezuelan had no immunity because he hadn’t been confirmed as consul by the Dutch government.

    Much to the dismay of U.S. officials, Mr. Carvajal flew to Caracas on Sunday night to a hero’s welcome from President Nicolás Maduro.

    Annemijn van den Broek, a spokeswoman for the Dutch Foreign Ministry, said the decision to release Mr. Carvajal was made solely on legal grounds. She confirmed Venezuelan ships had come close to the islands, but said the Dutch Ministry of Defense had been told by the Venezuelans that the ships were returning from a naval exercise.

    “I understand that the people on the island had a sense of urgency, but we have confirmation that this had nothing to do with the case,” she said.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://online.wsj.com/articles/aruba-says-venezuela-raised-military-pressure-on-it-1406594604

  14. When is ONE socialist anywhere going to remove his money from his capitalist bank, donate it all to the poor, and move to Cuba to live like a worker?

    I’m waiting.

  15. Mario,

    You would have liked Nazi Germany in the 1930s, it was very peaceful.

    Unless you were a dissident.

    Or a worker who wanted to strike or insulted Hitler.

    About as free and peaceful as Cuba.

  16. DEATH EVERWHERE
    Today: Libya, Ukraine, China, Afghanistan, Palestina.
    Not in Cuba.

    Thank you, Cuban Interior Ministry and Armed Forces for every peaceful day.

  17. – But youre totally correct about US foreign policy not helping. The US – and any powerful nation with imperialist tendencies – don´t have friends, only interests…

  18. So the leverage – threat – to get Carvajal released had nothing to do with oil? Or did Maduro threaten to cut off the flow of cocaine to Amsterdam? The Chavistas have been giving away lots of oil to the Castro bros and other friends. The Venezuelan people wouldn´t have gotten any benefit if the oil was sold at full price. That would be spent on vote buying and supporting the wonderful lifstyle of the Boliborguesia. Now we have been made aware of how cocaine money´s “helping” too…

  19. Omar, it´s not that easy: Outside help may be needed. The trick is getting that without becoming dominated bu a large geopolitical player…

  20. If the US de facto censorship would allow to publish “Currency Wars” (Song Hongbing) people would realize that the superpowers are not fighting for oil but for currency as an instrument of domination.

    What makes the alarm bells ringing in Washington is true sovereignity of any nation. This is why they hate Cuba and Venezuela. The US does very well in building up its own energy sector and cannot care less what happens to the oil fields in the Americas. They are scared to death that a country may survive without the World Bank… and give examples to others.

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