As a child in Cuba I witnessed how the newly formed Castro government stealthily expanded its incipient authority. The Castro brothers deceitfully conceived a security campaign exhorting the public to spy as an act of national loyalty, an action that contrasted with Rosie the Riveter’s barely twenty years prior spurring Americans to do precisely the opposite in a democratic society. The Castros promoted public safety by encouraging the people to spill everything they observed to the government. They achieved their nefarious goal of ensconcing themselves in power with public support for their malfeasance.
Fifty-five years later, the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution continue to wreak havoc in Cuban society. Individuals across the Island report block by block on neighbors, parents, brothers, sisters, relatives and friends. The Castro brothers institutionalized snitching as a patriotic activity for the good of society. They developed a scheming formula irresistible alike to despots and elected leaders today.
The Castro brothers learned about public repression in all its manifestations from the well-known figures of world domination: Joseph Stalin, Walter Ulbricht, Erich Honecker, Erich Mielke, and Chairman Mao. They found in Joseph Goebbels, the Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda of the Nazi regime, a source of inspiration and a fountain of technical knowledge to achieve their undisclosed goal of absolute subjection. The product of their maliciousness remains on public display as twelve million enslaved men and women dream only of fleeing from their captivity by escaping from the Island.
Today across the globe we strive to defend our society from armed groups of misguided individuals spewing hatred in the name of a just and loving God. How these parties justify their criminal activities as different factions of their faith is beyond our grasp. The fact is, we are vulnerable if we fail to recognize their surreptitious proximity and fail to quash their evil acts before they kill and maim us.
Our open society; our culture of freedom; our defense of individual rights to protect us from despotic rulers like the Castros, all make us susceptible to being wounded or hurt by terrorists. The result is that we heighten our senses to raise our awareness in different surroundings. Yet, we go about our business standing in defiance of potential assailants while the governments of the world engage in public campaigns to recruit us. They lead us to be wary of everyone around us, to report to the authorities what we see. They coax us to trust Big Brother.
I stand in disbelief as images of my childhood resurface in my mind. I know the outcome. I gasp deep in my DNA.
“It’s not the same,” I hear. “It’s not nefarious.” “It’s for a greater good.”
But do we all agree on what truly is this greater good? Is survival the greater good? I dare say not if this desire would lead us by design or subterfuge down the road to some form of unavowed totalitarianism. Furthermore, blanket mistrust is anathema to traditional American values, for all of America’s bountiful blessings are cradled in freedom. To live among us is the desired goal of “wretched masses yearning to breathe free,” as Emma Lazarus depicts.
So today I post this Blog to question our resolve to remain in liberty. Did our soldiers die in wars to bring freedom everywhere so that today we may give away this cause so gallantly advanced thoughtlessly? Do we honor our fallen braves by renouncing our Bill of Rights?
Governments around the world in their battle against terrorism embrace and stand with Goebbels, Hitler, Stalin, Mao and the Castro brothers by urging the citizenry to spy on one-another. Their choice concerns us all, for we must position the course of our tomorrows today with as much determination as the Fathers of the Country when they conceived the Union.
So I ask, is freedom the price to pay for security?
If the majority finds the answer to this question in the affirmative, then I choose the opposite camp, standing instead with Thomas Paine, James Madison and Patrick Henry.