“Earthquake in Miami”


March 28, 2024 Hour: 6:38 pm

 On March 17, extraordinary events took place in Cuba, which once again received disproportionate coverage in the social networks and some foreign media considering the type of disasters we are experiencing in today’s world.


Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel Visit the Province Songo-La Maya

They are “extraordinary in Cuba” because this has not been a country where the forces of law and order walk with long guns in the streets, there are no armored cars to confront demonstrations with strong jets of water, nor are there cases of loss of eyes due to the use of rubber bullets. They are “extraordinary in Cuba” because, with few exceptions, the authorities have been able to interpret the popular sentiment through formal mechanisms and solutions to preempt problems with acts in the streets.

On that day and the following days, a variety of Cuban leaders, at all levels, acknowledged the occurrence of the demonstrations and engaged in a dialogue with the people who expressed their discomfort explicitly. Neither bots nor artificial intelligence were able to create reports of beatings, arrests or injuries. Those who demonstrated then synthesized in a few words the causes of their mobilization: “electricity and food”.

However, for those of us who lived these events from Cuba, it gave the impression that a digital tsunami was taking place, with high waves from the outside, which was not caused by an internal telluric social movement that could justify it. It is worth clarifying that the irritation caused by long hours of blackouts, food shortages and other daily hardships experienced by Cubans these days is fully understood (and experienced). Added to this is that the right to demonstrate peacefully is recognized in the Constitution approved in 2019, in which the majority of us voted.

 The text reads, Immediately the authorities of the Party and the Government in those municipalities and the province appeared before the people who were at the demonstration and explained the circumstances that we all know and that has to do above all with blockeade.

But the issue is that when you looked at the networks during those hours, the word “collapse” was reiterated periodically, either of the regime or of the country, according to the semantic taste of the author, and similar events were mentioned in a multiplicity of places of the Cuban geography. The innocence of these provoked the mockery of those who, from their telephones, objectively wrote “I am on the Havana Malecon and I see nothing”, “no one has passed through this park with posters”, and similar comments.

Then, what was the cause and effect disproportion about, why there was no balance between physical action and digital reaction.

Those who have the age and knowledge to interpret the digital chaos could calculate in a few hours where the greatest amount of apocalyptic messages and their reiteration came from. Why did people living in South Florida, or in some former European metropolis, feel the blackouts more intensely than citizens actually living on the Morro road in Santiago, or in Bayamo?

The reasons these days seem to be more and more evident; their messages to increase the magnitude of what happened inside Cuba and, above all, the negativity of the future scenario, seem to be more directed to the American public than to create a chain reaction inside Cuba. It is enough to take a look at the events immediately preceding and those immediately following the aforementioned events.

 The text reads, While solidarity movements with Cuba send supplies to the island, far-right congressmen in Miami approve millions of dollars to fuel the protests in Cuba

In the last two years, in the midst of the combination of the survival of COVID19 , the increase of the state debt, the intention to order that brought new disorders, the increase of inflation, the lack of fuels and lubricants, and therefore of food, a new economic actor emerged in the Cuban model, which has already had its diverse social expressions.

The approval by the Cuban government of thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME), which were added to other already existing non-state actors, have meant, among other things, new sources of jobs, differentiated salaries, lifestyles, solutions to specific problems, imports of deficit products and much more. Where there has been no control, corruption and illegality grew.

A good part of the financing that allowed the emergence and activism of these entities came from abroad. Relatives, friends, fellow students and other interested parties stopped sending remittances to Cuba for simple consumption. They began to invest different amounts of freely convertible currency in small businesses, which had a high level of risk, but which in the end survived amidst external and internal uncertainty. Most of this out-of-pocket, non-bank financing has come from South Florida and, specifically, from Miami.

Neither concerts, nor algorithms, nor digital fusillades have prevented an increasing number of Cubans residing in those areas from repatriating, according to the technical-consular denomination, acquiring properties in Cuba, hiring labor force and extracting profits. In other cases, the challenge of entrepreneurship has been assumed only by those who have never left the island, even if the initial capital has come from abroad.

This fact has a multiplicity of concrete ways of identifying itself on the facades of Cuban establishments, websites, Whatsapp networks. It is still very uneven throughout the municipalities, but there are hundreds of success stories (and there could be many more) that confirm, and do not deny, that the so-called MSMEs are here to stay.

Some contribute to social programs in their communities, others bet on social stability and that the security of their own investment is not put at physical risk, they are also interested in the image we give as a whole to foreign visitors.

And this process, perhaps unexpected for some, rejected by others and not yet valued in all its internal and external magnitude, has raised within the political Miami that speaks Spanglish an unprecedented statement: you can go to Cuba to invest money and make a profit. There has not been a more shocking message in the last 65 years. Neither the much appreciated and life-threatening solidarity campaigns, nor the “Obama rapprochement”, nor the millions of passengers moving on cruise ships or airplanes, have created a greater sense of a lack of gravity among the heirs of the counterrevolution business.

These individuals have been constantly raising in the U.S. Congress in recent months that the new Cuban productive forms are a hoax, that all the new businesses are in the hands of “regime insiders”, that it is socialism in disguise.

They went so far as to organize a Miami program for a group of Cuban businessmen with the participation of former terrorists and local bombers, with the purpose that upon their return to Cuba these young people would receive some kind of official or popular rejection. Nothing happened.

U.S. politicians who think in British English have come to the conclusion that such is the failure of socialist formulas in Cuba that the government has finally resorted to capitalist experiments. One percent think that now is the time to invest massively in these ventures, while the rest prefer to wait for a supposed future scenario, which looks more like the occupation of Gaza by the Israelis.

But in recent days those of Spanglish have scored as a victory a small clause that appears in the emergency federal budget, which has been approved in Congress to avoid the imminent shutdown of the government, which states that no federal funds would be used to encourage the growth of MSMEs in Cuba. Only a person unfamiliar with the subject can qualify this result as transcendental, when it is known that in this exercise more than half of those who cast their vote hardly know the content of the approved text.

At a time when Biden’s continuity and other evils have reduced direct attention to Cuban issues from the research centers, when U.S. internal polarization has attracted the energies of elected leaders who used to dedicate time to building a different type of relationship with the Island, the mere existence of the new Cuban productive forms and their interaction with U.S. counterparts are a contradiction in terms for the believers in Armageddon.

These have been the days in which a delegation of agricultural commissioners from twelve states of the Union, grouped under the National Association of State Secretaries of Agriculture (NASDA), has traveled to Cuba to learn about the experiences and needs of Cuban producers. Most of these commissioners are militant Republicans and a high percentage of their base has voted for Donald Trump. These are the days when U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, the longest-serving Agriculture Secretary in recent history, has bluntly told a congressional hearing that it makes sense to trade agriculture with Cuba and support private producers in that nation.

So, if we consider the “exceptional” events in Cuba in their proper context, many other realities come to light that go beyond the initial bytes of the algorithms, we can better understand the audiences they are aimed at and we can imagine what they are preparing for the future.

From the Cuban side, the proposal has been reiterated to lift the blockade for a definite period of time in order to be able to assess what Cuba, the bearer of that special attribute now called resilience, would be able to achieve. Until the very recent past, the politicians of 8th Street saw the probable effects of this hypothetical exercise only inside the Havana seawall. Now they are aware that private Cuban mechanics, in possession of the right tools, can fix the vehicle that General Motors has not yet produced.

As Cuban popular wisdom says, “the move is a foregone conclusion”, it is a matter of avoiding one’s own earthquake with a tsunami of others.

Autor: José Ramón Cabañas Rodríguez

The opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily represent those of teleSUR

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