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Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Fidel Castro's Private Revolution

Fidel Castro's Private Revolution
JORGE A. SANGUINETTY | Miami | 4 de Octubre de 2016 - 06:06 CEST.

Deception plays an important role in history. Man uses it as an
instrument to achieve his goals, similarly to the way animals, through
mimicry, disguise themselves, depending upon the environment around
them, to escape their predators or to surprise their prey. Deception is
an intrinsic part of human nature and, therefore, of society. Regardless
of its ethical and moral implications, like it or not, we must learn to
grapple with deception.

Applied to public and State affairs, deception has been used to achieve
political, military and economic objectives during various stages of the
history of nations. Cuba is a good example. Its republican history
cannot be understood without acknowledging the prominent role of
deception and, upon the beginning of the revolutionary process in 1959,
deception rose to unprecedented levels in the country, essential to
Fidel Castro's daily modus operandi. Official deception was utilized in
very deliberate, refined and effective ways, in sync with actions of the
revolutionary Government. These actions not only led to Castro's
personal domination of all the State's power, but also virtually all the
country's economic power, hitherto widely distributed among many private
parties. In this way deception convinced a large segment of the
population, perhaps most of it, that the concentration of power served
morally superior ends, as embodied in socialist ideology. It would be
pointing out the obvious to state that without deception the massive
cataclysm called the "Cuban Revolution" that has plagued society since
1959 never would have transpired.

Herein I analyze the main official statements and measures that swiftly
and radically transformed Cuban society in less than two years. It is
not easy to find examples in history of change so rapid and so profound.
It consisted of a refined conflict between Castro's public statements
and the measures later implemented. This cycle of Deception-Betrayal
(D-B) had its first major expression in the initial promise, dating from
before 1959, that the Revolution was being carried out order to
overthrow the Batista dictatorship, restore the Constitution of 1940,
and organize free elections for a new democratic government. Such was
the first segment of the "D-B" cycle, completed in early 1959 when the
Government surreptitiously abandoned the constitutional restoration
plan, and made it official in 1960 speech in which Castro rhetorically
asked: "Elections? What for?" Although the D-B cycle was continuously
repeated on various scales, and at different times, and for different
audiences, here we shall focus on the most significant cases in the
early process.

Thus, the next great cycle was that which also began before 1959, with
multiple statements by Castro denying that he, his followers, and the
revolutionary movement were Communist. However, already in 1959, even
while denying these accusations, Castro was placing, without the
public's knowledge, militant communists in key Government positions,
even while he was getting rid of anti-Communist staff. All this led to
protests and the subsequent resignation of President Manuel Urrutia in
mid-1959, and Commander Huber Matos that October, with the latter's
immediate imprisonment.

Castro's statements about the nature of his revolution, meanwhile,
featured a vague definition of a "humanist" regime. While he persisted
in disavowing that it was Communist, he initiated relations with the
Soviet Union and implemented measures of a socialist nature, such as
agrarian and urban reform laws. These laws violated the property rights
of hundreds of thousands of Cuban citizens and those of a good number of
foreigners, and reached their peak in the D-B cycles and the massive
expropriations of 1960. The greatest of these cycles was completed on
April 16, 1961, when Castro finally proclaimed, in a public speech, the
socialist nature of the revolution. Later that same year the great B-D
cycle came to head with Castro's confession that he was a Marxist-
Leninist and would be his whole life.

It is noteworthy that a large portion of the documentation of many of
these episodes of deception has gradually been erased from public
records in Cuba, a practice that takes the deception to a higher level;
that is, deception about deception. In this way Cuba repeated the
well-known Communist practice of simply deleting inconvenient parts of
their histories, so as to maximize the Government's control over citizens.

Parallel to the process of expropriations in 1960, Cuba's Central
Planning Board (JUCEPLAN) was organized. This would be the
megaorganization that would supplant the market economy that had
prevailed in Cuba hitherto, and that would be in charge, in theory, of
overseeing the country's entire economy under the socialist regime. In
this regard it is crucial to understand that this new system would
replace hundreds of thousands of product and service companies, of all
sizes, each with their respective owners, managers and workers, with
state monopolies. The disappearance of private owners generated a vacuum
of economic and administrative authority that had to be filled, in a
question of just months, with improvised personnel loyal to Castro, to
prevent a production shutdown on the Island.

While the Board represented the essence of what should be the handling a
new and efficient socialist economy, in practice it became the
instrument of the Fidel Castro's last great deception: he would handle
the economy at will, without well-prepared plans, while making use of
expropriated companies as if they were his property. Instead of "social
ownership of the means of production," as expressed in the sacred texts
of socialism, the expropriated property was, de facto, privatized by and
for Fidel Castro himself. He now had all the power, to use and
distribute as however he pleased, without having to answer to anyone,
and without a free and independent press, or supervision by the
Communist Party or any competent State body. And instead of using those
properties and the central planning system to promote Cuba's economic
and social development, Castro used his resources to promote guerrilla
wars in several Latin American countries, antagonize the US all over the
world, and intervene in military conflicts in several African countries.
This was an unknown aspect of his private agenda, in which socialism
itself, as conceived by or dreamt of by socialist Marxists, did not
apply. Another set of deceptive maneuvers came to light, constituting
new instances of betrayal: instead of dedication to the welfare of the
people, Cuban socialism morphed into a proletarian internationalism and
a standard-bearer of anti-Americanism under its the country's new lord
and master.

The Castro scheme constructed a veritable Trojan horse to surprise
millions of unsuspecting Cubans, who were unable to defend their
interests, rights and property. With the Castro regime donning a
disguise of benevolent socialism, the deception was not limited to Cuba,
but also exported for international consumption, with great success.
Emulating the villages of Potemkin, the socialist facade was sold in
other countries through a massive and costly propaganda effort. Many
Cubans still do not grasp the private nature of the Castro regime,
although now it is becoming increasingly clear, due to hints of a
dynastic succession whose main heirs appear to be members of the Castro
family. At this point one wonders whether the public outrage that will
ensue when these truths are widely known just might generate the
conditions necessary for a profound change in the regime.

Source: Fidel Castro's Private Revolution | Diario de Cuba -
http://www.diariodecuba.com/cuba/1475554019_25757.html
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