Everyone should sign up for The Havana Times – you will learn what you won’t learn in the mass media. And it’s a morale-booster for the people who put it out, to know that thousands of people all over the world are reading it.
The Cuban Regime will be very reluctant to shoot people down in the street – of course if they have to – as theysee it – they will. But they’ve prided themselves on running ‘socialism with a human face’ – to steal a phrase from the Czechs, fifty years ago.
It’s not a Caribbean North Korea. You can live, and work, in Cuba, and be openly critical of the regime, with your own blog. Youi can even go on work assignments abroad, to get trained on some sort of special equipment, and meet your (anti-regime) political co-thinkers while you’re there. Just don’t try to organze inside Cuba. You keep your opinions to yourself and a small circle of friends (one of whom will be reporting to the secret police. (Sort of what progressives would like to see in the US.)
A large section of the regime desperately wants to follow in the Chinese footsteps, and open the country’s economy up to the entrepreneural talents of the Cuban people. And theose talents are there: when I visited a few years ago, I was very impressed with what people could do, within the confines of the regime’s laws: little restaruants in their homes, casas familiares: – renting out a room to tourists. All heavily restricted by government rules and regulations and “we’ll-take-a-cut-of-that-thank-you-very-much.!”
And I didn’t meet one single person who was a supporter of the government. (I didn’t just stay in Havana, but went from one end of the island to the other.) Everyone knows that full-blooded socialism doesn’t work. The Economics Department at the U of Havana have a complete understanding of the ‘Socialist Calculation Question’, and the virtues of a free market.
However, we must not forget Cuban patriotism/nationalism. The last thing the opposition needs is to be identified with the Yankees.
Before COVID, in co operation with The Havana Times, I was involved in getting micro-computers to Cuba, for their ‘journalists’ there. People go and sit out side the tourist hotels and use their internet connection. (If anyone is interested in taking part, when the COVID stuff is passed, let me know: it just involves acquiring old laptaps, putting some software on them, and finding people who are going to Cuba, and giving them a contact’s phone number there. Not as hard as it sounds.)
There is a ‘weekly packet’ of downloaded/pirated TV programs that circulates among people who have micros but no internet connection, or not one they can afford to use much. Human ingenuity is limitless.
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