The Young Generation and the CDR’s

By Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - CommentaryThe Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, also known as the CDR’s in Cuba, are the most basic component in how the Communist Party of Cuba governs the country. They can be neighborhood government committees in the country’s major cities, or the local government in the rural towns and villages. They are known for organizing sports activities, cultural events, helping to fund local projects, deal with local problems and issues, and help Cuba’s young people or the elderly. Unofficially, but very well known, is that the CDR’s are also the eyes and ears of the Communist Party’s security apparatus. The leadership of these committees keep watch on all of the people, and participation is required. These committees were originally created to “thwart counter-revolutionary activity” and instill the people with “values of the Cuban Revolution and socialism.”

These days, it is easier said than done. Today’s Cuban generation no longer feel any revolutionary anything. They only see extreme poverty, people barely making a living, and people barely eating. The Cuban economy is in crisis, and hundreds of thousands are fleeing Cuba every year. Many young Cubans know people who have left the island, and of so many more of their friends, family and neighbors who wish to flee. This is the reality they know. For the young generation of today, they see nothing but deprivation, repression and the Communist Party not doing much to significantly change their lives for the better. There is no “revolutionary spirit” left in the young generation of today. Whatever their parents and grand-parents may have felt in the early years of Communist rule, the young people of today could care less.

In so many ways, Cuba is at a breaking point. There is not enough housing, not enough food, poverty is worse than ever, people have had to make do with even less than a generation ago during what the Cuban government called the “special period” when the country was going through economic contraction due to the collapse of the former Soviet Union, and the inequality that young Cubans have experienced their entire lives has only gotten worse. However, it is easier said than done to bring about political change in Cuba. The Communist Party simply does not want to give up power, and it has turned the screws of political repression ever tighter. Getting rid of the Communist Party of Cuba may require a revolution, and this is something the Cuban government is making sure does not happen. Even with the Cuban government allowing more people to open their own businesses, buying their own homes, and freely exchange U.S. dollars if they can get them from their relatives in the United States, in too many ways it is too little and too late. The younger generation want real change, but this is not happening. As long as the Communist Party of Cuba is in power it will not allow it. Cuba could become a powder-keg, and we have no idea where this will go.

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