I read “Animal Farm” in 2008, here in Canada, when I was trying to find “1984” - another work of George Orwell. I knew Orwell novels long time ago, just as references and never as a book I could touch with my fingers, and enjoy even the squeaky sound of their pages as they went through them when you read.
Suddenly, I understood why Orwell and his works were banned in Cuba.
“Animal Farm” addresses not only the corruption of the so-called “revolution” by its leaders but also how wickedness, indifference, ignorance, greed and myopia destroy any possibility of a Utopia=Cuba. Orwell’s novel shows how potential ignorance and indifference to problems within a social process identified as “revolution” could allow horrors to happen, if a smooth transition to a people's government is not achieved.
And that it’s Cuba.
Fidel Castro was raised to power in 1959 and one by one dismantled all the traces of democracy-to-be that possible could be arose by any potential opponent group within the movement he headed to power. Opposition leaders were accused to betrayed the revolution, thousands of opponents to Castro ended their lives in the fire squads without appeal in court, the middle and high class, business owners, intellectuals, artists and hundreds of thousands people escaped from what not too long was a promess to Democracy.
The country was drowned in an era of censorship, repression to any sign of dissidence to any other word or thought but those throw it, loudly and in endless public speeches, by Castro.
Someone had said: look back in every man background and you will find the source of his future behaviour. Fidel Castro’s father was a landowner of a big farm in the eastern province of Cuba, Oriente The farm was named “Biran”. And Angel Castro behaved like any landowner at that time: a tougher and stingy man who never knew the word “NO”.
From him, Fidel Castro inherited his pettiness, the arrogance in his persona that never had allowed others to point their fingers on him, and the haughtiness we all known nowadays. He studied in Jesuit colleges where frugality and severity were the most important virtues. Because of that frugality in his younger age, I truly believe Fidel Castro developed his self-centered persona.
“Biran” then was too small, too meaningless to him. He didn’t want to be a landowner of a small farm in a far province from the capital of Cuba. He wants to be, of course, a landowner, but instead of his father’s farm he wants Cuba.
Since 1959, Fidel Castro had held the Caribbean island like his father held his farm. He wrote the laws and made the tools to control the country. He creates, one by one, the Commandments to keep order and ensure his elementary leadership... within Animal Farm=Cuba.
Remember “Animal Farm” in Orwell?
It is a fable we cannot forget. These are the seven original commandments written by Orwell in that work:
1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
3. No animal shall wear clothes.
4. No animal shall sleep in a bed.
5. No animal shall drink alcohol.
6. No animal shall kill any other animal.
7. All animals are equal.
What it is very interesting is how in Orwell’s novel, and in Fidel Castro’s Cuba, the commandments were changed with a very clever twist.
Corrupted by their absolute power they hold over the farm, Napoleon=Fidel Castro put additions to some commandments to benefit THE PIGS=Castro’s clan while keeping them free of accusations of law-breaking. Here are the new rules written:
1. No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets.
2. No animal shall drink alcohol to excess.
3. No animal shall kill any other animal without cause.
Eventually the laws are replaced with "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others"
Isn’t sound familiar to you?
Castro has been managing Cuba as Napoleon handled the animal in Orwell’s story. Laws, partisanships, repression, vigilance, corruption and absolute power held in one hand. He wasn’t the landowner Angel Castro was in “Biran”, but in Cuba. It is as plain as that.
That’s why “1984” and especially “Animal Farm” is banned from Cuba’s educational and book publishing system.
Any coincidence and similarity between them are not strictly casual, you can bet.