04 May 2007

Children Become What's Expected of Them

Yesterday’s news about the attempted hijacking at Jose Marti International Airport is a symptom of Cuba’s dysfunctional society.

Cuba is a violent and militaristic society.

Cuban children are taught, from a very early age, to be like Che. They are taught to assemble AK-47’s in schools as part of the revolutionary curriculum. Cuban children are brought up to hate. They are taught that the ends justify the means. They are taught to lay down their lives for the revolution because the collective is what matters, not the individuals. They are taught to be revolutionaries. Only revolutionary values are accepted. God and family are bourgeois vestiges of the obsolete classes of mankind’s imperialist past.

This hate filled curriculum is not subtle; it’s all encompassing. It consists of 24/7 propaganda and indoctrination.

Revolutions are about violent, abrupt and instant social change.

The Cuban youth is taught to idolize men like Fidel, Raul and Che. These are men who solved their problems with guns, bombs, kidnappings and blackmail. As long as they achieved their ultimate end, power, any means was justified.

It should not surprise anyone that youths who are a product of this culture of hate and violence would rebel and lash out and act exactly like Cuba’s revolutionary heroes would under the same circumstances.

Cuban society teaches its youths to be “revolutionaries”, yet turns around and forbids any kind of rebelliousness whatsoever. Cuba is a country where the majority of the population is under 40. The majority in Cuba are young, trained revolutionaries with nothing to rebel against except the regime.

I am afraid that Cuba may be on the verge of more violent acts. After Fidel Castro temporarily stepped down nine months ago, most Cubans expected some changes towards making their everyday lives a little easier. Even Raul acknowledged that he was tired of excuses about the food and transportation situation on the island. Yet, the only perceivable changes so far have been more repression and tighter workplace rules; a move to Stalinist orthodoxy where the victims get blamed for the crimes.

The Cuban regime knows that it is sitting on a powder keg. The answer is not more repression or allowing the Spanish Reconquista of the island to continue. The answer must be a move towards democracy because the new regime’s grace period is starting to run out and there is an island full of angry young people who want change.


Val Prieto said...

You know, I saw the movie "Blood Diamond" this past weekend and there's a scene where the African sstates "they say Africa's soil is red from all of the blood spilled by her people." I swear I complteley lost it right then and there, thinking, My God, that may very well be Cuba.

Tomás Estrada-Palma said...

Well lets all hope these youngsters put that training to good use and free themselves. Perhaps they are sneaking guns away right now for the job?

El Gusano said...

Man, thats wierd I saw that movie two weeks ago and and I've been saying "TIC" (this is Cuba) ever since. I was trying to explain to Mrs Gusano how Fidel was partially responsible for the mess in Africa.
Although the way they indoctrinated those children was way more extreme than in Cuba, the parallel was there.
At some point the Cuban Military is going to have to decide if their purpose is to protect the people from the regime or the regime from the people.Blodd is going to flow whose blood is what worries me.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the sentiment of the post (great point about rebelousness), but the post made me at least, wondering about a lack of context.

You noted, "Cuba is a violent and militaristic society." (true, in the macro-political sense, but not true on an indivdiual street level, I would strongly argue.)

If you've been to Cuba, then you know that one (tourist or normal cuban) feels very very safe walking in the streets(in terms of walking around late at night). Note that, I am talking too about walking around in working class type neighborhoods (like Habana Vieja) where my cousin lives , not in tourist or more upper middle class areas like Vedado..

In contrast, I would never walk around late at night in big USA city (where I live). USA cities are by far most violent (per captia) in developed world. See FBI crime index, the stats. (per capita murder) are for all to see, and although crime has fallen over the years, our crime rate , from a comparative sense, is appalling.

And its not just Cuba. After spending much time in Peru (almost 2 years), I can say that I felt safer in any part of Peru (even el centro de Lima), in terms of falling victim of a violent crime, than I would feel in big USA city where one can get shot for looking at some dude the wrong way.

Anyway, i didn't mean for this to be a diatribe about crime in the US, but i just think that your post is a bit off - more specifically, lacking context. I mean we live in the most violent (and by the way militaristic) country in the world. Now, our military is mostly used for 'good', I agree, but still, we pump more money per capita into military than all developed countries combined.

So, what kind of violence are you talking about in terms of Cuba? Rigid political repression, which is a form of violence, yes, street level/individual level NO.

Finally, I thought your comments about the rebel contradiction/paradoz in Cuba are very insightful (i.e., the Cubans admire 'rebels' yet cuban youths MUST 'conform' to communist norms This is indeed quite a paradox, thanks for pointing this out.

Anonymous said...

you mentioned "They are taught that the ends justify the means"

True, but don't be double standard... what about Iraq war and all of the Iraq citizens (and americans killed).. The arguement goes that the ends (democracy) justify the means (death).

El Gusano said...

Are you serious? I hope you're just kidding.
1)Nobody knows what the real crime rate in Cuba is because the country is run by lying bastards with no honor.
2)Do you know what the cops do to you in Cuba if they catch you committing a crime? hint: they don't read you your rights.
Cuba teaches its children that violence is the way to achieve your goals.It idolizes revolucionar violence.

The US, doesn't teach their children right from wrong in public schools. If they did, they couldn't be taken advantage of by the politicians.That'swhy there's so much crime in the US,IMHO,a society with no ethics is going to pay the price.especially when the children are bombarded by songs, movies, video games, etc. that idolize violence.

In the US if the government screws up,(iraq in your view) the responsible politicians get booted out of office.
However, it was Hussein who adhered to the ends justify the means and tortured, killed and mamed 100's of thousands to remain in power. he then started to cause instability in a part of the world vital to EVERYBODY'S interests so he had to go.
There is right and wrong Saddam and Castro do not have the same moral equivalency as the United States that adheres to the rule of law.
Those who don't realize this and live in a world of moral relativeness are the result of a public school system that never taught any values.

Anonymous said...

Hi el gusano

Thanks for your response. You raise some valid and interesting points.

In my view, your point 2 is right on. Your point 1 is also very valid, but again, my only point was to draw attention to the fact that street level violence in Cuba (or in most Latin American countries) is way way lower than USA, per capita.

I was responding to the original blog, which i thought painted a somewhat inaccurate picture. I thought the blog needed to differentiate better between political and street violence in Cuba.

Of course, as your point 1 notes, low street crime rate in Cuba is most likely due to Cubans feeling very very afraid of cops (and jail), thus, they are less likely to committ crime (especially against foreigners). I agree.

One lingering thought is, however, why then is it safer, in terms of being victim to violent crime, to walk the streets of even Lima, B.Aires or Santiago, than LA, DC, Chicago?

Now, I don't want to get into a debate about the variables that affect violent crime rates on random strangers (that would be a long debate). Moral relativeness might be part, especially in cases such as the VA tech. tragedy, but then again, you probably would argue that the Europeans are "moral relativists".

While Europeans can be defined as those pesky moral relativists (they also play video games, watch movies, and listen to violent rap, etc), yet their societies are not plauged by the crime rates witnessed in the USA. Japan has the highest rate of video game players (gamers) and their games are super violent too (and movies), yet then again not much street violence on random strangers in Japan like in US. So there must be more to the story. Who knows, we should consult a criminalogist.

About the Iraq bit -- I see that my comment on this issue got you a bit upset, and it became the focus of your response. I didn't realize anybody still thought the Iraq war was a "good idea" or that Saadam "had to go". I guess you know something that at least 70% of Americans don't.

You are correct in pointing out that in USA system , we can boot our politicans out. This is b/c our country is governed by the rule of law. I agree. For this reason, I can't wait to see what happens in 2008. good luck.

best wishes, Bathesda

El Gusano said...


sorry, but i was agaisnt Iraq since they brought it up. you cannot fight plitically correct wars.

ok, i understand what you mean about the violent street crime in Cuba. vs political violence. i didn't live in the best of neighborhoods in Cuba and I never felt threatened.

crime in europe is petty compared to here thats for sure.

talk to you next week!