Cuban Memories

When traveling in Cuba, we had to hide my brother-in-law whenever we went to a restaurant and pretend we didn’t speak Spanish. He’s from Peru, and when he was with us, we’d wait hours to get served and would have to put up with really lousy treatment.

The poor guy would literally hide in the bushes, we’d order (and get treated like royalty because Cubans assumed we are British), and then he’d join us. My brother-in-law is the most polite person I have ever met. But eventually it got to him and he exploded.

“You despise me for being latino, like you, and speaking Spanish, like you,” he said to the Cubans. “It means it’s yourselves you despise.”

It was so sad to see. But it’s a totalitarian regime. That’s what it does to you. It’s got nothing to do with poverty. People in the extremely poor Dominican Republic are extremely proud of their language and culture.

Totalitarianism takes everything away and makes life about purely material pursuits. The results are ugly. And they are identical in Ukraine and Cuba, for example. It’s the system that does it to people. Totalitarianism stole their culture from Cubans and turned them into pathetic, self-hating, self-prostituting Soviet clones.

26 thoughts on “Cuban Memories”

  1. The condemnation of your Peruvian brother in law may be deeper then just being Latino. Once in Communism, where the common meme is “misery loves company”, how is it this particular Latino is associated with these “wealthy capitalists”? The Cubans (through no fault of their own) may have associated your brother in law with the ruling class. It becomes apparent that even in communism, there are “classes which are distinct and separable”. The ruling class is always on top, until the plebes awaken to the bullshit they were sold, so the propaganda is important to keep the plebes from understanding that their leaders and rulers are leading a life far removed from poverty, and more in line with luxury.

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  2. “Totalitarianism takes everything away and makes life about purely material pursuits. The results are ugly. And they are identical in Ukraine and Cuba, for example. It’s the system that does it to people. Totalitarianism stole their culture from Cubans and turned them into pathetic, self-hating, self-prostituting Soviet clones.”

    In past threads, I’ve asked a few questions about how things worked in the USSR regarding what happens when members of the so-called “ruling class” have made a mistake and can be targeted themselves. The answers received included that smart and decent people have a very difficult time, that smart helpful people with new ideas were beaten down by everybody around them and told to be like everyone else, and that senior people in the party weren’t punished by the party because they were in the party etc.

    So, trying again – the West has possibly entered a stage of pre-authoritarianism/totalitarianism, where people on the right are being targeted along with conservatives and intellectuals etc. While all of this is going on, people in the West are still generally quite normally minded, autocratic etc. If we suppose that the Westerners of the future might end up like these miserable sounding sullen Cubans/Ukrainians, I’m curious to know 1) how long does that take and 2) how are members of the emergent “ruling class” vulnerable to displacement aside from maiming or killing them.

    If anyone knows or has any input, I’d really like to hear 🙂

    Also from what I’ve seen, Cuba sounds hellish.

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    1. In the past, I’d say it takes about 20 years in my experience. Also, in my experience, it ends in the third generation when nobody believes the ideology any more.

      But in the US it’s very accelerated. Even 5 years ago, I’d never believe I’d see Americans so beaten down and pathetic so fast.

      I still think it ends when nobody, not one person takes the ideology seriously. How long that will take in the US? By God, I hope not too long.

      It doesn’t end with violence. Violence strengthens them. It ends with a huge collective sarcastic grin.

      Reader Alex left a brilliant comment a while ago. He said that by virtue of being American you feel this inborn guilt that renders you powerless to the ideology. When the very last American says, “screw this, it’s ridiculous,” it all ends. But it’s got to be everybody. Even the ideologues themselves need to mock the ideology in private.

      Let’s see how long it takes Americans to dig themselves out of this hole they’ve been eagerly digging for themselves.

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      1. “It doesn’t end with violence. Violence strengthens them. It ends with a huge collective sarcastic grin.

        Reader Alex left a brilliant comment a while ago. He said that by virtue of being American you feel this inborn guilt that renders you powerless to the ideology. When the very last American says, “screw this, it’s ridiculous,” it all ends. But it’s got to be everybody. Even the ideologues themselves need to mock the ideology in private.”

        So just to be really clear – the weapon is humour, used against the legitimacy of the target. ie if there are party members or whatever who have made a mistake or something, then mocking them in a legitimately amusing way relentlessly is how to wipe them out?

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        1. The party members themselves need to know that the ideology is ridiculous, though. Everybody needs to know it. Once the last believer is gone, it all falls apart.

          Unfortunately, Americans are very earnest. And not big on humor. So it will take a while. A cynical, unserious generation will end this.

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          1. “The party members themselves need to know that the ideology is ridiculous, though. Everybody needs to know it. Once the last believer is gone, it all falls apart.

            Unfortunately, Americans are very earnest. And not big on humor. So it will take a while. A cynical, unserious generation will end this.”

            I’ll be clearer. Let’s say that Hunter Biden was in office in a communist country, and you really didn’t like him. Imagine that every journalist in the country was banned from talking about the pictures on his hard drive, but that you were actually mad enough to be a fringe journalist or something whose mission in life was to use those pictures etc as a weapon to obliterate him, his party, or anything else in striking range (figuratively speaking of course – no violence).

            In that case, would it be effective to embed his utter stupidity for leaving his laptop at a repair place and how foolish he looks on his back taking photos of his penis 400 times in a row in anti party comedic rants. If you did so, what would happen to Hunter and/or the party?

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            1. I’m only interested in the fall of the entire totalitarian system. Specific individuals are of little interest to me. They come, they go – who cares if the system remains in place?

              There was Brezhnev’s son-in-law who was all powerful. Everybody hated him and finally he was removed because he’d exceeded every mandate he had and made himself look ridiculous. But the system remained in place. This is why the mechanism of his removal isn’t interesting to me.

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              1. “I’m only interested in the fall of the entire totalitarian system. Specific individuals are of little interest to me. They come, they go – who cares if the system remains in place?

                There was Brezhnev’s son-in-law who was all powerful. Everybody hated him and finally he was removed because he’d exceeded every mandate he had and made himself look ridiculous. But the system remained in place. This is why the mechanism of his removal isn’t interesting to me.”

                The last time I focused my attention on a small handful of socialist types, I controlled as much of the vote as a newspaper or union. At the time I wasn’t trying to upend anything.

                The reason that you might wish to find what I’m talking about interesting is because the key to undoing the whole system is probably singling out a few of the serious idiots and convincing everyone that they represent the whole structure.

                Trump used the same tactics when he singled out AOC and the rest of the squad.

                So, I’ll cut n paste from above:

                “Let’s say that Hunter Biden was in office in a communist country, and you really didn’t like him. Imagine that every journalist in the country was banned from talking about the pictures on his hard drive, but that you were actually mad enough to be a fringe journalist or something whose mission in life was to use those pictures etc as a weapon to obliterate him, his party, or anything else in striking range (figuratively speaking of course – no violence).

                In that case, would it be effective to embed his utter stupidity for leaving his laptop at a repair place and how foolish he looks on his back taking photos of his penis 400 times in a row in anti party comedic rants. If you did so, what would happen to Hunter and/or the party?”

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              2. And Trump lost. AOC clearly won.

                My answer is the same: nothing would happen. The ideology is still extremely strong. I don’t see anything working against that.

                Maybe somebody else has a more heartening answer.

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              3. “Maybe somebody else has a more heartening answer.”

                I have no interest in heartening answers, only true ones. But thanks and here’s hoping someone else does 🙂

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          2. You’re thinking in terms of a one-party system. In a two-party system, elections depend on convincing moderates and swing voters. It remains to be seen whether voters will fall for the same hysteria again in 2024.

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            1. ” It remains to be seen whether voters will fall for the same hysteria again in 2024.”

              They didn’t fall for this in 2020… the elections were crooked, the question is when they have to make them so crooked that moderates and swing voters notice and get upset….

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              1. Be careful pushing this point. The electoral college is a concession. Concessions can be taken away.

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            2. In 2024 there won’t be an election. There will be the kind of thing Russia has. It looks like an election but it isn’t because the only candidate is the one you are allowed to know about.

              A candidate that displeases the oligarchy has no place to inform the voters of his existence. He’ll be labeled a terrorist and deplatformed. Or worse.

              Elections are a thing of the past.

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              1. “In 2024 there won’t be an election. There will be the kind of thing Russia has. It looks like an election but it isn’t because the only candidate is the one you are allowed to know about.

                A candidate that displeases the oligarchy has no place to inform the voters of his existence. He’ll be labeled a terrorist and deplatformed. Or worse.

                Elections are a thing of the past.”

                Given how fractured Western democracies are, and how costly that fracture is economically, in my judgment it seems more likely that a voter ID system will be implemented first along with Singapore style electoral regulations that make becoming a candidate so expensive and convoluted that only the candidates approved by the kind of money that already bought media may apply.

                In a sense, the elections wont be Russia. They’ll be New Zealander/Australian.

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              2. We have 30 million illegal immigrants and the border has been thrown wide open. How can there be a voter ID system? Or is it something different from what we call voter ID in the US?

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              3. “We have 30 million illegal immigrants and the border has been thrown wide open. How can there be a voter ID system? Or is it something different from what we call voter ID in the US?”

                By making a voter ID system in name only.

                For example, in the city in which I live, an independent anti corruption body was set up to investigate the government. To make sure that no corrupt people would actually be caught, the first thing they did was to put someone in charge who could easily be blackmailed. Then they paid that person a cartel salary rate to that person, to make sure that they didn’t want to upset anyone too much.

                Then they made sure that funding for the anti corruption body came from the departments that the anti corruption body was supposed to investigate. Then they employed family members of people who might be investigated ot be the investigators on the anti corruption body.

                After that they made sure to underfund the anti corruption body so that it couldn’t afford to actually pay lawyers to take anyone to court.

                And then, by sheer accident and fluke, many people who made complaints about corruption were fired, lost their contracts, or were chased out of the city, almost as if the purpose of the anti corruption body was to flush out people who might report corruption and then get rid of them.

                In my experience, one of the limitations of the average person when it comes to politics is that the average person cares much more about things actually making logical sense, while actually being able to feel a sense of shame. People in politics, to a large degree, are more than happy to implement illogical things and be shameless as they tell you how wonderful those things are/call you a conspiracy theorist if you point out problems.

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              4. A big problem also is that you can’t be a truly independent candidate unless you are independently wealthy due to the risk of being unemployed if you lose an election.

                At least with party candidate the voters know who pays their salaries and the candidates get some level of job security from their parties.

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              5. @PaulS:

                “A big problem also is that you can’t be a truly independent candidate unless you are independently wealthy due to the risk of being unemployed if you lose an election.”

                That used to be true. Now you have to be wealthy enough to survive the targeting that happens if you don’t win the election, economically and sometimes physically as well.

                “At least with party candidate the voters know who pays their salaries and the candidates get some level of job security from their parties.”

                In my experience, very few parties (if any) directly support their candidates. Generally the candidate or someone being groomed to be a candidate is given a job or contract by an entity with close connections to the party, like a political donor.

                In turn, that means that both candidate and party are owned by the donor, whose name you probably wont know.

                Oh and sometimes they’re employed by one of many NGO’s or charities that are really fronts for politicians/parties/donors/related. It’s a lot like the mafia in that way ime.

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              6. In South Africa people mostly just vote for parties, and then the members are allocated based on party lists. So I’m not actually that familiar with systems where people vote for individuals rather than parties.

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      2. I’m 50/50 on whether it will last long enough for Biden to win reelection. Of course Bush won reelection, but I doubt if it will last longer than the war on terror.

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        1. Biden won’t run. The next step is to bring in somebody a lot more radical. The Democrats are setting Biden up for a failure to push through his much more radical successor.

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      3. I dunno. The kids who grew up in the Great Depression were three generations ago. I think that means the rest of us have no grit at all– we’ve never experienced hardship, and we don’t know how to do anything uncomfortable to get something better in the future. Or even sacrifice one goal to achieve another.

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  3. “The electoral college is a concession.”

    It’s in the constitution. It can be changed but there’s no way that the country could pass an amendment now… there’s nowhere near enough discipline or unanimity.

    I can totally see Biden (or Harris) trying to executive-order it away. Maybe it would be a good thing if he tried – it would hasten things along….

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