The release of a video showing a caravan of
high officials escaping the indignant fury of the residents of Regla, a
municipality in Havana, is marking a “before and after” in the psychological
domination of the populace.
The villagers had very good reasons to clearly
see the demagogy of the "distinguished visitors". Their
dwellings and personal property were damaged by a powerful tornado and the
government presided over by Miguel Diaz Canel, came up with only two initiatives.
One was to sell meager rations of food to the victims - who even lost their
wallets in the ruins of their homes. The other, extremely irritating, was to
block the spontaneous distribution of free donations by private restaurants and
from other Havana neighborhoods.
In Cuba there are precedents of irate citizens
protesting in the streets. The insubordination of the residents of the town El
Cano in the sixties or the "maleconazo" in the nineties, are just two
examples of a long list of incidents that have occurred throughout the island
in the past sixty years and that were always brutally suppressed each occasion.
But what happened this time, although not of a similar magnitude, has a high
symbolic value at this juncture.
The worst thing about this incident for the
Cuban regime is that the reglanos have delivered a deadly blow
to the main pillar of the regime: the false premise, widely shared, that
citizens can not face power. That the only thing they can do is to present
their complaints and claims respectfully, individually, submissively and
bureaucratically. That is the essence of the demobilizing idea –quietly
disseminated by the governing elite- that "there is no one capable to
overthrow the regime, nor anyone capable of fixing it"
Few times the Castro dictatorship had had a
national and international scenario as adverse as the one they now face. His
overseas patron, the police regime of Maduro, is going through a terminal
The economic, social and psychological impact
in Cuba of a Venezuela collapse is difficult to calculate.
But it is not easy to underestimate the
psychological impact on the state of mind of the whole Cuban population of the
insensitivity, ineptitude, demagoguery and opportunism displayed by the
authorities towards the victims of the tornado.
The flight of the official caravan to escape
the irate masses is a clear warning to skeptics.
People have discovered that what seemed
"impossible" turns out not to be so. It is possible to transform
personal quiet complaints into open collective demands and protests. The regime
is neither almighty, nor invincible.
The worst nightmare for Raúl Castro is to see
Cubans adopting the slogan chanted today in the streets of Caracas: "¡Sí
se puede!" (Yes we can!) The reglanos have shown
that this is possible.