05 November 2007

Two Cuban Secrets: Dissidents and the MINIT

It’s frustrating to sit on this side of the puddle and wonder why the Cubans living on the other side just don’t do something. Anything!

Ok, so some kids wore some “cambio” bracelets and got arrested. Quietly. Big deal! Have you seen the protests in Venezuela? The hell with bracelets. We need protests like those. Thousands screaming with signs, tear gas, rubber bullets, brutality, beatings, blood.

Understanding the predicament of Cuban dissidents requires the aid of Cuban philosophy. In order to be a Cuban philosopher…well, all Cubans are philosophers, but to be a good Cuban philosopher, you have to be able to succinctly analyze the phenomenology of the specific reality being discussed and make a simple one-phrase pronouncement that breaks down the human condition to its essential existential component. (ok, so Cubans are good B.S.’ers too). So, I’m not a master of Cuban philosophy, but I’m going to take a stab at it anyway:

“El que esta fuera del agua, nada bien”

The opposition inside the island is weak, fragmented, infiltrated and virtually unknown. This is highlighted in this story from a Ray Sanchez article in Sunday’s Sun Sentinel.

More than 200 people had mobilized for the late September protest demanding
freedom for political prisoners. But state security agents intercepted many of
the dissidents outside the capital and detained them for hours.

"People were picked up on roads; others were prevented from leaving their homes," said Martha Beatriz Roque, 62, one of the organizers. An economist by profession, Roque has pushed against the Castro government for 17 years and served two prison terms for her efforts.

In the end, only eleven people attended the peaceful demonstration outside Cuba's Justice Ministry. It quietly fizzled when police loaded the demonstrators on a bus and drove them home.

Is all the opposition in the island totally hapless and clueless? Hardly. In Cuba, every fifth person in any group is probably an informant, an undercover member of the MINIT, (interior ministry). It is impossible to organize large protests because of this. In order for a mass protest, like the ones occurring in Venezuela, to occur, thousands would have to spontaneously take the streets without planning because any planning would surely alert the regime through its network of informants. Still, dissidents keep on trying. 70 young people protesting elections with or without bracelets is something. It's incredible. Sisyphus had a better chance of getting the rock to stay on top of the hill.- “No hay peor diligencia que la que no se haga”

Just how does the regime keep track of and control the opposition in order to thwart their regime change plans?

Well, for years we exiles have been saying that Cuba’s repressive machine is brutally effective and omnipotent, one of the worse in the “Soviet Block”. In this Miami Herald article, we learn that the Cuban Ministry of the Interior learned its repressive ways from the “best”, the West German Stasi, according to Jorge Luís Vázquez:

Headquartered amid the grim Soviet-styled apartment blocks of the former East Berlin, the Stasi -- short for Staatssicherheit, or State Security -- succeeded through surveillance, intimidation and torture in becoming one of the most feared intelligence agencies in the world. By the time the Berlin Wall collapsed in 1989, the Stasi had 91,000 employees and 350,000 collaborators in a country of 17 million.

When the Stasi archives were opened to the public in the early 1990s, East Germans learned that there had been 986 documented deaths at the prison and discovered 112 miles worth of files on their fellow citizens.

Wow. “El que nace para tamal, del cielo le caen las hojas”

Accusations of the extreme repression in Cuba are usually shrugged off or dismissed as anti-Castro right wing, Batistiano hysteria. Not only that, the victims of the regime’s repression are often attacked by Castro supporters and apologists. The following excerpt hints at why those who have visited Cuba, may go on to become fervent Castro defenders and appologist as well as Cuban exile attackers-it’s all in the “tapes”.

Vázquez says he found the MININT is ''almost a copy'' of the repressive Stasi security system, exported by East Germany to Cuba in the 1970s and '80s, and that the ties between the two organizations run far deeper than previously known.

From how to bug tourist hotel rooms to an intriguing mention of the hallucinogenic LSD, the degree to which the Stasi trained and provided material and technical support to the security arm of Fidel Castro's regime had a sweeping and harsh impact on Cuba.

Germans taught the Cubans how to mount effective camera and wiretap systems for eavesdropping -- for example, at what height on the wall to install microphones, which color wallpaper provides the best concealment, and which shade of lighting for the best video recordings.

“Dime con quien andas y te diré quien eres”


amy said...


Anonymous said...

Not all dissident groups inside Cuba have same view about US, embargo or US role in Cuba.



Are the dissident groups above , by Miami defintion, "cuban-haters" too....