• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • The Cuban Way Part II: Big Brother's Repressive Hand

    Big Brother of George Orwell’s 1984 still lives, and he’s right in our backyard. Yoani Sanchez has documented how Big Brother works through her depiction of the Cuban government in her new book Havana Real.

    Cuban repression often takes the form of a group of thugs rather than the organized police. It targets people who are outspoken and harbor anti-regime opinions. Even Sanchez and her friends were kidnapped and beaten because of their blogging and their opposition to the Castro regime.

    Sanchez wrote, “How can I describe the despotic faces of those who forced us into that car [or] their visible enjoyment as they beat us.” Bruised and in pain, Yoani and her companions emerged from the kidnapping with emotional and mental wounds. The message is clear: Against us you have no rights; our power is limitless.

    Beyond kidnappings, Cubans are frequently imprisoned without warrant:

    Over the years, hundreds of prisoners of conscience have been imprisoned in Cuba for the peaceful expression of their views.… Harassment, intimidation, arbitrary detention and criminal prosecutions, all continue to be used to restrict the expression of views critical of the government.

    Government regulation of the Internet has severely limited Cubans’ ability to communicate with each other and the outside world. Twitter, Facebook, and even Sanchez’s blog, Generation Y, are blocked by Cuban authorities. Access is highly restricted as well. In Havana, many native Cubans must resort to dressing as tourists or speaking foreign languages just to get past the guards in Internet cafes.

    So what does Big Brother want? He wants a cadre of true believers who will run the party, the state, and the army as organs of repression. He wants worker bees who will labor for the glory of the hive. He wants other Cubans to remain apathetic and fatalistic.

    As Sanchez notes, “The person who complains or demands his rights is seen as ‘some kind of weirdo.’” Sanchez further observes a general malaise that can be seen through the Cuban choice of language. She says that phrases like “Don’t sweat it,” “You’ll give yourself a heart attack,” “Just ignore it,” and “That’s not going to accomplish anything” are sayings frequently heard in Cuban culture. Reflected in the language of many in Cuba is a worn-out spirit that has lost its will to fight for what truly matters: freedom.

    This the way the Castro brothers want it.

    Olivia Snow is a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation. Click here to learn more about interning at Heritage.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to The Cuban Way Part II: Big Brother's Repressive Hand

    1. Laurie Davis says:

      I am intrigued by information on what Cuba is truly like. It seems today that the Democrats and Progressives want to promote the idea that Castro's Cuba is a wonderful Utopia where medicine is free and education available for all. Michael Moore's disinformation about medicine there was a narrative many swallowed.

      Would love to find a true story of education in Cuba to send to them. How simply outrageous to spend taxpayer money for advice from a tyrannical state.

    2. carol,az says:

      I'm certain your revision of the Cuban Despotic leadership is accurate. My only issue with this article and most writing about Cuba the last several decades are facts left out, about how this happened in the first place.
      The USA, fully supported and armed the insurgent in the mountain of Cuba during the rebel up rising in Cuba against the despotic leadership by Batista.
      America, our State Dept reported; the young Jesuit educated rebel leader, Castro as "the second coming for Democracy". We funded the rebels hiding in the mountains, armed them and backed the over-throw of Cuba missing all fact, that Castro was hard-core Communist. This failure IS central to all discussion about our flawed foreign policy and lack of Intel when discussing the Cuba crises..
      Once the Castro regime took power, total despotic government Castro style began.
      Every foreign-owned Buss was confiscated. Every foreign-owned bank account, frozen. All Foreigners were given 24 to 48 hours to leave Cuba safely .
      Chapter number #2 would be the failed Bay of Pigs invasion and our total duplicity in failed policy in Cuba.

    3. ZACtech says:

      Che that murdering punk would certainly approve of all that.

    4. Robert, TX says:

      Funny, we HAD to go fight communism when it was 8,000 miles away – yet, not when it was 90 miles away. And, we are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan to "promote liberty and freedom" when the Cuban people (similar to our own inner cities) are much worse off. When Ms. Sanchez described "the worn-out spirit that has lost its will to fight" I thought she was talking about republicans.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.