Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. - http://www.cubafreepress.org

01 de Febrero del 2000

CUBA'S 'HARDENING OF THE ARTERIES' WELCOMES ELIAN'S GRANDMOTHERS. By Armando Aņel, Cuba Free Press.

Havana.- The people "already are getting tired, " a friend told Cuba Free Press as we discussed the relative paucity of crowds for the "spectacular show" that the Cuban regime scheduled for the arrival of the two grandmothers of Elian Gonzalez from the United States on Jan. 30.

The writer dissented politely, telling the friend that the people were not "tired." What was really happening, the writer explained, was that most of the participants in these marches and parades had never been participating voluntarily. But on that welcoming day, a Sunday, people did not show up because it was neither a working day nor a school day. So the students and government-union workers could not easily be mobilized by government mandate.

By now everybody knows that the government of Fidel Castro, at least in the Elian case, has mobilized the schools, work places and communist party offices intensively for the various activities so that crowds might show up on television stations in the United States.

In this case, during the Cuban TV stations' early Sunday newscasts, an announcer had read more than a dozen times a document which instructed the public about the hours when the grandmothers' spectacle would take place and listed various locations where people could gather to watch it.

Despite all that repetition, the grandmothers' parade did not produce the fruits anticipated. Along most of the avenues where people could watch the car displaying the grandmothers there were only scattered and small groups of citizens waving the paper flags 'donated' to them by the government. The panoramic views shown by the TV stations revealed more of an absence of people than of ample crowds, except where 23rd St. intersects Malecon avenue and also on the street which runs past the United States' Interests' Office.

The writer does not doubt that the "humble and lovable" grandmothers, as the commentators describe them, felt proud of the popular support they might think was shown by the welcoming groups. But those who had counted on watching the finals of the Cuban soccer contest were disappointed because that was canceled as was the Open Discussion that Diego Armando Maradona had scheduled with special permission of the Maximum Leader.

People are now asking each other, "can anyone tell me what has happened to the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDRs)?" And, "have the CDRs lost their capacity to mobilize the public?"

This journalist can report from observation that at the bus stops at Santa Cataline and Heredia streets and in the "10th of October" neighborhood, more than a dozen of those long buses (popularly called "camels" because of the odd humps in their middles) were sitting without passengers. They were waiting in vain for the public that had decided not to come aboard. Were the CDRs supposed to have herded the people to the buses? Has the capital's population lost its fear?

The answers may be found in a saying attributed to Karl Marx in which he spoke of something which "had vanished in the air!" The writer knows that he knows nothing but that things are happening as darkly seen through a gathering fog.

What the Cuban regime once again has documented - perhaps without much forethought - is a gradual deterioration of its system, which the regime tries to disguise so as to avoid looking ridiculous.

By Armando Aņel, Cuba Free Press.


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