Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Youth Leadership, a Dangerous Sequel to the US-Cuba Rapprochement

Youth Leadership, a Dangerous Sequel to the US-Cuba Rapprochement /
Cubanet, Miriam Celaya

Cubanet, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 30 September 2016 — This Friday, 30
September 2016, the fourth session of the Cuba-US Bilateral Commission
is meeting in Washington, an occasion which the Cuban regime has
selected to present their rejection of "endorsing programs that
Washington is promoting without the consent or consultation by the
official channels established for exchanges of this kind."

This statement by Mr. Gustavo Machín, vice president of the Cuban
Foreign Ministry in the United States, refers to the summer scholarship
program that the non-governmental World Learning Organization grants
young students around the world, although the official Press in Cuba and
officials instructed in the case have been orchestrating in recent weeks
in an all-out media spectacle aimed at convincing domestic public
opinion that this is another grisly imperialist plan aimed only at
encouraging young Cubans to subvert the political and social order
within the country.

It would seem that the roughly 40 Cuban students who have had the
opportunity to pass these summer courses in 2015 and 2016, respectively,
constitute a real threat to the stability of a dictatorship that has
survived for nearly 60 years in power. Or that the White House has
concocted the bright idea of annually forging a handful of youth leaders
who, after several weeks of classes in a free society, where they will
exchange with other young people from the US and other countries, will
be willing and prepared to end Castro's revolution.

Such presumption suggests, on the one hand, the fallacy of the
ideological solidity of the Cuban youth, so touted by the olive green
regime; and on the other, that the political system has begun to suffer
from a butterfly fragility in the heat of the exchange programs promoted
by the US after the restoration of relations between the two governments.

The apotheosis of nonsense is the list of "subversive" practices
acquired by students benefitting from World Learning summer course
scholarships, shown on the organization's website, citing verbatim the
press monopoly scribes of the Castro regime: developing public speaking
skills, teamwork, negotiation, consensus building, conflict resolution,
defense of one's rights and troubleshooting.

Only for a reality like that of Cuba could such a program be termed
"subversive". No leader with a modicum of decency – especially in our
underdeveloped, poor countries with serious institutional problems –
would be offended in the least by their country's youth receiving this
type of instruction and acquiring these skills that, according to the
website, "help the next generation of world leaders to get a greater
sense of civic responsibility, to establish relations across ethic,
religious and national lines, and to develop skills and knowledge to
transform their communities and their countries."

But it is not difficult either to understand the alarm of the Druids of
the Plaza of the Revolution, well-versed in subversions. Nothing is as
dangerous to them as a "leader" who does not emerge from the "Ñico
Lopez" Party High School where, nevertheless, dozens (or more) guerrilla
leaders have been formed who have sown conflict, war and death in this
region. Not a few leaders of the FARC and other leaders of the most
corrupt Latin American radical left have passed through its classrooms
and have received diplomas and awards from their mentors. Some have even
attained the president's chair in their own countries, with known
disastrous results.

And not to mention the indoctrination and systematic brainwashing of
thousands of young people from the Third World who have studied Medicine
and other specialties in Cuba over the last decades. The Castro regime,
the most perversely "generous" dictatorship in recent history, has even
extended its "charitable" mantle to lower-income American students,
though it has not requested their government's permission to do so.

And it is specifically at that point where the apex of insular
authoritarianism reveals itself. Assuming that the US government and the
NGO World Learning need to go through the prerequisite of requesting
authorization from the Cuban government to provide summer scholarships
for Cuban youth, they are placing the young people in an obvious
position of slaves who need the benevolence of their masters (the
State-Party-Castro Dictatorship) to access certain training. At the same
time, the government places itself in the position of the feudal lord
who turns down success opportunities for his serfs.

At the same time, they ignore once again the leading role that should
belong to the young people's parents and relatives, who would be best
suitable to decide and support, or not, their children's education,
especially since the timing of such instruction – student's vacation
period – will not interfere with the school year set by the Cuban
educational system.

Far from it, and to legitimize the "national outrage" of the colossal
offense, the Cuban authorities have ordered middle school,
pre-university and technical school students to engage in the
traditional protests against the twisted imperialist maneuver leading
them down the wrong path. The most histrionic teenagers have screamed
their heads off chanting slogans and waving nationalistic signs, they
have learned by heart the speeches they might have to utter before the
news cameras and the world press, while their own government has yet to
offer an alternative with a future.

I see these fresh faces, hear their voices repeating the thousand
platitudes of several generations lost in the national shipwreck, and I
cannot stop thinking about how this corrupt regime has sown duplicity in
the spirit of the nation. I just hope, for the sake of these young
people and of Cuba, that scholarships like these will become more
prevalent, that our youth will be taught as free individuals and that
they will be granted lofty dreams and strong wings so they can achieve
them. By then, they will have forgotten the slogans and will provide
ideas and actions to overcome the long Middle Ages of the Castros.
Meanwhile, let more "subversive like this" scholarships come, until
Cubans won't have to leave their national borders to learn to lead the
destiny of their own country.

Translated by Norma Whiting

Source: Youth Leadership, a Dangerous Sequel to the US-Cuba
Rapprochement / Cubanet, Miriam Celaya – Translating Cuba -
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