Today Cuba's military is fat and happy -- has been for decades. They run Cuba. The only thing properly describable as an "industry" in Cuba (tourism) is run primarily by Cuba's generals. They also run the export industries. If anyone craves “stability” in Cuba, it's these high-rolling graduates of Cuba' Military Academy—but not just because of fiduciary considerations.
Tito Rodriguez Oltmans, a former Cuban freedom-fighter and political prisoner, watched many of these men, as young cadets, perform one of the requisites for graduation from Cuba's military academy of the time. "They were all armed with Belgian .308 caliber FALs as they lined up for the firing squad," recalls Mr. Rodriguez, a prisoner in La Cabana prison in the early 1960s. "Every evening the cadets would be bused in from the Managua army base and the Mariel naval base near Havana. As darkness fell the condemned patriot -- shirtless and gagged -- would be dragged to the execution wall and bound. The cadets would line up only four meters in front of the patriot and all had loaded weapons." ... FUEGO!
A brief aside: historically and almost universally, most members of a firing squad shoot blanks, to assuage their conscience. But such assuaging would contradict the Cuban firing squads' most vital purpose, secretly named "El Compromiso Sangriento" (the Blood Covenant.) This tried and true Soviet scheme was presented by Soviet GRU agent Angel Ciutat to Che Guevara just weeks after he and Fidel entered Havana in January 1959. The scene was a meeting at Che's palatial (and recently stolen) estate in Tarara just west of Havana. Every candidate for officer, suggested Ciutat, would take his place in a firing squad and pull the trigger with live ammo.
In front of a genuine Soviet GRU agent, Che (who often signed his name Stalin II) was undoubtedly smitten and instantly embraced the idea. So let's see here: a policy suggested by a Soviet butcher and adopted by an Argentine hobo for murdering Cuban patriots, instantly became government policy in newly "nationalist" Cuba.
As recently documented by Cuban-American scholar Jose Azel, Cuba’s “Social media” is so tiny as to be essentially irrelevant. Cuba—a nation with more phones and TVs per capita than most European countries in 1958--today has fewer internet connections per-capita than Uganda and fewer cell phones than Papua New Guinea. The Stalinist regime is very vigilant in these matters.
Castro’s police state controls what its subjects, read, say, earn, eat (both food and amount), where they live, travel or work. In the mid 1990's the Catholic Human Rights group Pax Christi headquartered in Belgium, visited Cuba and (secretly) conducted a study on the status of the neighborhood snitch committees known as CDR's. Castro, under East German STASI tutelage, installed these in 1960, making a potential regime spy out of half the population. Instilling the pervasive fear and a mutual-suspicion society is essential to every communist dictatorship.
“Fear is the basic instrument of (Cuban) political control,” concludes the study. "There is one CDR for every 140 Cubans. The information at the State Security’s disposal can be used to threaten and intimidate anybody. There is no place to escape the tentacles of the State. Most ordinary Cubans reported that they remained intensely wary of CDR surveillance, even while conversing in their own homes.”
The CDRs also supervise the issuing of the monthly food ration cards to all Castro's subjects. “Food is a weapon” famously snickered Stalin's foreign minister, Maxim Litvinov during the Ukrainian Holocaust.
Humberto Fontova holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and is the author of four books including his latest, The Longest Romance; The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro. For more information and for video clips of his Television and college speaking appearances please visit www.hfontova.com.