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    Fidel Castro’s Battle of Ideas… Political Pantomime

    Fidel Castro’s Battle of Ideas… Political Pantomime / Somos+, Roberto Camba

    How much truth can a man take?
    Friedrich Nietzsche

    Somos+, Roberto Camba, 12 September 2016 — They say it began with the
    fight to return the young rescued rafter Elian Gonzalez from the United
    States to Cuba. Really it was much earlier, since the strategy never
    changes: silence and ignore the adversary, incessantly repeat lies until
    it is almost impossible to distinguish the truth.

    To define, to communicate that the assault on the Moncada Barracks was a
    revolt of sergeants, to publish in Bohemia magazine in January of 1959
    that the Revolution was green like the palm trees and had nothing to do
    with the Soviet Union, or to when the United States invaded Granada in
    1983, are examples. And yet, “Revolution… is never lying,” say the
    propaganda billboards.

    By monopolizing all the media immediately after 1959 and creating their
    own education program, the arsenals of weapons were entirely under their
    power. The enemy could have ideas, but could never express them publicly.

    With the Elian Gonzalez case they started the Open Forums and the
    Roundtable TV shows… all caps. I never understood that these
    manifestations of the Battle of Ideas transmitted to the Cuban people
    were just about ensuring their overwhelming support for the Revolution.
    Where was the battle? Who was the enemy? Why do you line up the “canons”
    facing your own soldiers?

    The speakers at these “Masses” didn’t have to think, they just recited
    the Revolutionary “creed” from memory. On the Roundtable show the
    soldiers didn’t have to face the enemy, only their colleagues on the
    other side of the table.

    The concept of “Round” itself symbolizes the endless and monotonous.
    Like in Mark Twain’s novel “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s
    Court,” the topics of each day of the week were identical: “The King
    walks through his circular courtyard.” There is nothing new in a vicious

    All Communist regimes have curtailed freedom of expression. The only
    explanation for this is that it is in the ideological arena where they
    are most vulnerable. Therefore, they continually reject dialogue with
    the opposition, they refuse to share “the same room” with its
    representatives during the Americas Summit in Panama, so they hid the
    people of the “Varela Project” and discussions with Edmundo Garcia were
    only broadcast in Miami. Ultimately, former vicepresident Ricardo
    Alarcon ends up looking ridiculous talking to Eliecer Avila, then a
    student, as do the Castros at press conferences. They find having
    interlocutors uncomfortable. They learned monologues, not dialogues.

    They arm the “fighters” of the Rapid Response Brigades for an act of
    repudiation against the Ladies in White. They shout a lot so they don’t
    have to hear the voices of these brave women. If there are not enough
    people they bring an orchestra, they set up a “Street Fair” with
    screaming kids or hold a “Carnival.” If the Ladies in White continue to
    express their ideas they force them into a bus and take them away.

    The “Battle of Ideas” is a paradox. There is no “battle.” They only
    fight when they have previously “killed” the enemy. The other army is
    not allowed to shoot. Only then they can win the battle. In the Cuban
    Constitution there is only freedom of speech and of the press as long as
    they “conform to the aims of socialist society” (Article 53), which is
    another way of creating the crime of “enemy propaganda” (Article 103
    Penal Code).

    The “Battle …” has now moved to the digital arena. The “soldiers” of the
    University of Computer Sciences and State Security must comment on the
    articles of the official media, and of those refugee challengers in the
    only place that the state can not fully control: the internet.

    Compare the comments on the articles in the official sites such as
    “Granma” or “Cubadebate” with those of the independent sites such as
    “14ymedio” or “CubaNet.” In the articles themselves, it seems they are
    speaking of different countries. Censorship makes the difference. The
    “soldiers” don’t get medals, they get toiletries and free internet
    access. In the land of those with nothing, nothing is an incentive.

    The idea is not even new. Putin learned it in the KGB and used it
    extensively as revealed by the newspaper The Guardian. The difference is
    that Putin pays his trolls better. Like any war strategy, it has a weak
    point. The “soldiers” — allowed to surf the internet to promote the
    Revolution — are exposed to the enemy’s “weapons.” Eventually they will
    contrast these ideas with those they’ve been inculcated with and with
    the reality they experience. And they will learn the truth … and the
    truth will set them free.

    Source: Fidel Castro’s Battle of Ideas… Political Pantomime / Somos+,
    Roberto Camba – Translating Cuba –

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