By Fabián Escalante. Division General (retd), former head of Cuban intelligence services. Author of several books on the intelligence services of the US against Cuba and has investigated the assassination of John F. Kennedy from the Cuban viewpoint.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Undoubtedly, the social explosion that took place in our country on July 11 of this year surprised us all, and not for lack of evidence and indications. The social networks, in an Olympic marathon, spread to the four winds slogans, orientations, false news, doctored photos, etc., aimed at manipulating, confusing and deceiving national and international public opinion on the Cuban socio-political situation.
The objective was clear, to take advantage of the dramatic circumstances of hardships and needs produced by the asphyxia of the multilateral blockade decreed by the United States. To this was added circumstantial events, such as the exponential increase of the COVID-19 pandemic and the breakage of the main electricity factory (Guiteras, in Matanzas), which not only affected energy but also the water supply.
To this should be added the difficulties in the supply of food and medicines with the usual long queues, a “mafia” of “black market” born as a result of this, and the mistakes made in the late implementation of economic measures approved some years ago, including food production.
The subversive operation of coup-like magnitude, at least for what is publicly known, was not discovered and unmasked, nor -at least- was the population warned by all available means. A solitary and excellent documentary, The Dictatorship of the Algorithm, shown on Cuban TV, was the most outstanding alert of these weeks. It, however, since it was not conceived as a well-organized media campaign aimed at exploiting the information provided, did not achieve the psychological and political effects and influence on the social consciousness that was necessary and should have been projected, given the imminence of the aggression underway.
The Cuba -and the world- of today is different from that of yesterday, and even more different from that of the first years of the Revolution. These reasons that make it impossible to use the same methods of analysis or crisis management used before. There is a young, depoliticized sector of the population (due to our inefficient political and patriotic work) that does not understand the need to resist imperial policies and who wish to improve their living conditions and do not find an immediate solution to their expectations.
Days have passed since the events described above and, as it happens, many interpretations are coming to light, while the media campaigns in the United States and its allies continue to accuse Cuba of human rights violations and other atrocities, with the open intention of creating the conditions for a U.S. military intervention.
We, revolutionaries, have to meditate and draw lessons from what has happened. The United States and its fascist government is mainly responsible, but -and this is important-, we also have responsibilities for the errors committed. They demand a self-critical analysis, not only marginal references. It is necessary to deepen in the why of them, what were their causes and how we are going to solve them. That is what Fidel taught us and warned us in November 2005 when he stated in a speech at the University of Havana that only the Revolution could destroy itself.
The call to revolutionaries and communists has to be to go on the offensive, to the front line: fight against counterrevolutionary elements from within and without, fight against corruption, bureaucracy, idleness: fight against what is badly done, fight against disappointment and mistrust, against the lack or absence of administrative and political control, fight against “hollow, formal” orientations, in two words, generate ideas, defend concepts and conquests.
To fight against the enemy and bureaucracy would be the duty and responsibility of this historical moment. To use the political, social and mass organizations, supported by the duties and rights provided by our socialist Constitution, not to shy away from direct confrontation and not to be afraid to face conflicts, because as Fidel indicated on many occasions: the best way to defend oneself is to take the offensive.
The combat and confrontation of ideas is taking place today at the base of society, in the block, in the neighborhood, in the community. It is there where the Party and the social and mass organizations must and have to do battle, not to oppress, but to convince, to explain and, if necessary, to transfer to the leadership of the party and the government, the difficulties, misunderstandings and shortcomings.
Passivity makes us accomplices of the errors and negative tendencies that Fidel had already warned in his time.
The enemy campaigns carried out by social networks, by mercenaries of Cuban origin living in Florida, as well as by the media operations of the traditional bourgeois media, must be confronted without hesitation. It is necessary to denounce them, to alert our population, to disarticulate them from within, taking advantage of the enemy’s need to publicize their slogans, orientations and contact their internal promoters. Their activities can be prevented and neutralized, without unnecessary mobilizations, which could wear down and exhaust our forces in the perspective of a long struggle.
External solidarity, as has been called for, must be strengthened to its maximum expression, both in Miami and other North American cities where honest Cubans live, as well as in other cities of the world, where the Cuban attitude of solidarity is well known.
Once again, Fidel summons us to the battle of ideas, which consists in debate and not in imposition, in conviction, in listening and understanding arguments, and accepting those that are fair, because this does not imply concessions of principles, on the contrary, in any case, it reinforces our concept of Revolution, that which Fidel bequeathed to us.
“Trenches of ideas are worth more than trenches of stones”.