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Castro's Promise: A Future Without Poverty; Now Only the Poor Remain

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The Humble


I had not yet been born in April 1961, when the socialist character of the Cuban process was declared. "This is the socialist revolution of the humble, by the humble and for the humble..." Fidel Castro announced near the foreboding gates of the Colon Cemetery. Many who listened to him, jubilant and optimistic, assumed that the first revolutionary objective would be to stop having humble people. With this illusion, they went out to champion a future without poverty.

Observing the present audience for what was announced nearly fifty years ago, I wonder when prosperity will stop being seen as counterrevolutionary. Will wanting to live in a house where the wind doesn't tear the roof off stop being, some day, a petty bourgeois weakness? All the material shortages that I observe beg the question of the common sense of this colossal upheaval in the history of the country, only to stop having the rich, at the expense of having so many poor.

If, at the very least, we were more free. If all these materials needs were not also expressed in a long chain that makes every citizen a servant of the State. If the condition of the humble was a choice, voluntarily assumed and practiced, in particular, by those who govern us. But no. The renewed exaltation of humility launched by Raul Castro this January first confirms for us what we learned in decades of economic crisis: poverty is the road that leads to obedience.

(Yoani Sanchez blogs from Havana, Cuba. The English Translation is here.)