Monday, December 19, 2011

North Korea and Cuba: The reinvention of the Matryoshkas

Someone could think there are not too many resemblances between the small Caribbean island and the secretive and mercurial regime in the Korean peninsula. But they would be wrong, for many reasons too.
Today the whole world was stunned by the news coming from North Korea: Kim Jong Il died... last Saturday. Meanwhile the western media tries to dig into the secretive death of one of the craziest regimes in the planet; Cuba just woke up with a little statement from the official Communist Party newspaper giving not a hint of what was going on through the minds, and thoughts, of the best friend of that Asian regime in the Western Hemisphere.
The point is: it is not good news for the Castro’s monarchy in this very moment.
Beyond all that, what it came to my mind was that little Russian nesting dolls named Matryoshkas. It is crazy, right?
Not too much. Just think how curious are those sets of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside the other. You lift one and you get the next one ready to play: maybe in a different color, a different shape or small detail in some place... but the same.
They are the same. Just let me dig a bit more in it, if you don't mind.
The Kim Jong saga’s regime had requested to all their citizens to call them “Dear Leader” and all of them had to wear a little button with his face on their shirts. 
Well, I remember when I was in Cuba, a few years ago, the Secretary of the Communist Youth in my last job sent a letter to Fidel Castro - in one of those moments when the organization of young communists has the “initiative" to write a letter of support for something - and he had to change its header “Commander in Chief” as the communists call Castro with “Dear Fidel”, or a one more appropriate "Dear Commander in Chief".
Pure coincidence? I don’t think so!!!
In both, North Korea and Cuba, the education system is more an indoctrination camp rather than a school system. Their citizens are subjects rather than regular people with civil and human rights. There aren’t any democratic elections, any freedom of opinion and expression, any freedom to hold their own opinions without any interference, and absolutely any freedom of peaceful assembly and association in both: Cuba and North Korea.
In both countries the change of power should be sought as a change of a name within a family dictatorship: Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il and now Kim Il Un in North Korea; in Cuba: Fidel Castro, Raul Castro and many are speculating Mariela Castro Espin or some of the Castro’s family clan members could be the next person in charge after the historic figures in the island.
For sure, nobody knows. The truth whatsoever is both countries are more like those little wooden figurines in Russian tradition, where you pull one and you can see the other one underneath: with a slightly different name, some superficial differences but, in essence, the same.
So, here we have it. The reinvention of the Matryoshkas in North Korea could be the prelude of what could happen in Cuba very soon.