Neither Strong Men nor Soft Coups
Neither Strong Men nor Soft Coups / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar
Posted on August 25, 2015
14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, 24 August 2015 — Two notable Cuban analysts,
Carlos Alberto Montaner and Rafael Rojas, have plunged the scalpel
almost simultaneously, but without having come to an agreement (as far
as we know) about a particular issue: the popular anti-government
protests in Latin America. Montaner in, “The Terrible Time of the
Strongmen” and Rojas under the title, “Soft Coups?” in the Mexican
newspaper La Razón
The first, the politician, makes a list of twelve demands shared by the
citizens of Latin American countries against governments of the left,
the center and the right; the second, the academic, questions the term
“golpista” (coup supporter) from the leftist governments faced with
their respective “peaceful and institutional oppositions, without the
support of the armies, who are loyal to their governments.”
Looking at this simultaneously from different positions – which do not
diverge – overlooking the Latin American political landscape, one
appreciates the agreement on the inefficiencies of the continent’s
democracies. The protests, organized or spontaneous, with greater or
lesser violence, allowed or suppressed, are a reflection of the
discontent of certain sectors who do not feel duly represented in the
halls of parliaments, where what is demanded with shouts in the street
should be settled in a calm way.
The leaders affected by these protests, whatever political color they
may be, defend themselves wielding the supposed legitimacy they once
achieved at the ballot box, dismissing the demonstrators and claiming
they have been confused or bought by foreign powers, or they send their
supporters out into the streets to compete in numbers with the opposition.
Curiously, neither of the two analysts includes the case of Cuba. It
gives the impression that the Caribbean island does not belong to Latin
America, or that the uniqueness of Cuba merits its own separate study.
Of the dozen grievances enumerated by Montaner only one, the violation
of human rights, has a permanent presence in the Sunday marches of the
Ladies in White or the demonstrations of UNPACU in Cuba’s eastern
provinces. The rest of the topics, except for the shortages, seem to be
postponed until we have an imperfect democracy, although any one of them
is worthy of an entire day of protest.
Another curiosity that comes to mind after reading “Soft Coups,” signed
by Rojas, is that the Cuban government is on the only one in the club of
Latin American leftists that has never used the descriptive “coup
supporters” in the long list of insults it launches against opponents on
the island or in exile. And this is despite the fact that from the most
radical sectors of the opposition there is no attempt to hide the desire
to “overthrow the dictatorship.” Not for one second does it occur to the
managers of official propaganda that those in uniform would be against them.
The only military coup that might be expected in Cuba would have come
from this recalcitrant left that frowns on timid openings in the market,
rapprochement with the United States through an eventual normalization
of relations, and any concession to multiparty democracy.
The presumed protagonists of this coup option would not go out into the
street with posters or gladioli, but rather with tanks and machine guns.
But this is an improbable hypothesis, just as much as is the sudden
appearance of an enlightened leader who would drag the people to a
restorative platform through the instrument of revolutionary means.
Source: Neither Strong Men nor Soft Coups / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar |
Translating Cuba –