Dissection of a Tyranny (Part II)

By Jose Luis Garcia Paneque

Tyrannies do not know of limits when it comes to their diabolical behavior, and they are unpredictable at all times. There one and only objective is to sustain themselves, and their philosophy is beyond clear: “the ends justify the means”. This is why they lack any hesitation when it comes to getting to power and staying there.

Any signs of a clear mind or of intelligence are considered enemies. The second postulate of St. Thomas of Aquinas is yet another one viciously applied by Castro’s government:

2. It is also necessary to do away with distinguished and intelligent figures, for it is possible that, through their knowledge, they can achieve a way to stop the tyranny.

The “Revolutionary Offensive” was not just confined to the economic sector. It also lashed out against the media, whether it was the written press, radio, or television. And the intellectuals were crucial targets who used these outlets to share their views.

In their first Cultural Congress, the regime made their intentions very clear when they threatened intellectuals with the slogan, “In the Revolution, everything. Outside the Revolution, Nothing.” Instantly, many intellectuals were condemned to ostracism, if not to jail, upon not being sponsored by “official” thought. Examples are not scarce. In fact, there are more than enough. There are the examples of Padilla, Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Reynaldo Arena, Maria Elena Cruz Varela, and many others, who were defamed and later forced to abandon the country. In addition, all their literary works were banned in the island.

Schools were confiscated, and professors were expelled. History was kidnapped and a completely foreign culture and ideology was imposed. At that very moment, parents lost the ability to choose what kind of educations their children would receive. At very early ages, the youth were torn from their families and interned in rural schools in order to create “the New Man”. By doing so, the regime was fulfilling yet another objective– banishment.

What is disturbing about all this cynicism is how easily they lie. I recall that in the 1998 Book Fair Fidel Castro carried out an opening speech. In response to international criticism of official censorship, Castro declared, “In Cuba, there is no such thing as a banned book. The problem is that we have no money to buy them.”

Initiatives did not take long to respond. One month after this discourse, the Independent Library project was launched in the island. The regime’s response did not take long at all. Founders of such libraries were pursued and many were deported from their own homes to the South Eastern region of Cuba. Most libraries were raided and their books were confiscated.

More than 12 years have passed since the start of the Independent Library Project, and despite all the campaigns set in motion to discredit and oppress them, the project continues resisting the attacks of a regime that does not tolerate dissidence, and much less the freedom of thought.

After 52 years of dictatorship, there are too many scientists and intellectuals that have had no other choice but to abandon their homeland in order to escape from the institutionalized repression of a regime which is not interested in anything but maintaining power. In the next post, we will continue the comparison of the postulates of Saint Thomas of Aquinas and the behavior Cuba’s dictatorship.

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