Thursday, April 17, 2008

¡Qué difícil es ser breve en la batalla de ideas!

Castro is worried. The pace of Sinification might be accelerating. People are talking--that is, people that count are talking. That is people who are read by the Cuban elite are talking. And what they appear to be talking about are those fundamental changes to the character of the Cuban revolution that, while it may not satisfy the right wing of the Miami Cuban community, will drive the Stalinist wing of the Cuban establishment mad. But rather than tackle Sinification directly, Castro is moved to protect the purity of his ideas applied during the special period. And so, in a brief address, Fidel Castro attempts a gentle tongue lashing in the form of an essay--Fidel Castro Ruz, Relexiones del compañero Fidel, No hacer concesiones a la ideologia enemiga, April 15, 2008 ("Decidí escribir esta reflexión después de escuchar un comentario público divulgado por un medio masivo de la Revolución, que no voy a mencionar concretamente.").

Castro reminds his readers that the so-called special period in Cuba, that period of several years in the aftermath of the disappearance of the Soviet Union, was neither special, nor evidence fo the possibilities of Cuban communism. It was also temporary. "El período especial fue consecuencia inevitable de la desaparición de la URSS, que perdió la batalla ideológica y nos condujo a una etapa de resistencia heroica de la cual no hemos salido completamente todavía." ("The special period was an inevitable consequence of the disappearance of the USSR, which had lost the ideological battle and moved us to a heroic stage in our resistance from which we have not yet completed.").

For those who look to the special period as a template for a new Cuba upon the death of Castro, he suggests one ought to look elsewhere. And he is right, of course. The special period was temporary--a seats of the pants response out of panic and a sense of desperation at a time when it looked likely that Cuba would fall back into the American orbit. But it was a Stalinist enterprise--bureaucratic, inefficient, prone to exaggerate class distinctions and corruption. It served the nation badly. This form of engagement would suit the Americans well--requiring substantial intervention to save Cuba from the sad consequences of that experiment. Castro argues that the greater evil has been the dominion of the Americans and the products of their rule of the planet, for they and the system of ideas they represent, are responsible for a large list of global defects listed in the essay.

Castro makes his point--and preserves his legacy. He wants to ensure that his memory is preserved exactly as he sees it, and he appears to have the luxury now to protect his ideas--and their exposition. ¡Qué difícil es ser breve en la batalla de ideas! Castro exclaims. Fidel Castro Ruz, Relexiones del compañero Fidel, No hacer concesiones a la ideologia enemiga, But there may be irony here. In place of the deviations of the special period, Castro now confronts the reality of Sinification. And against Raul and FAR, he will be far more circumspect. See Fidel Castro Ruz, Reflexiones del compañero Fidel, La victoria china (parte 1), March 30, 2008, and parte 2, .

No comments: