Is "Castrismo" a cultural Cuban trait?* Answer: Do you have to be Chinese to be a Maoist?
What follows is not a discourse on social Darwinism,1 but after five decades of Castro's undisputed reign, perhaps it's time to admit that Cubans may not be above patrocliny:2 Something about Castrismo seems to realize glossed over aspects of Cuban culture.
An often-neglected aspect of Castrismo? Its heavy-handed HEROISM: All pretense (true heroes belong in Greek tragedies), penultimate curse coming down on Cubans like a beam of light through the solar plexus. Behind the tough posturing lies a dormant inferiority complex. Why? Jingoism is driven by an insatiable search for validation (lies presented as legitimate needs: "In politics, be as unpolitical as possible"). One doesn't know how bad it is until one gets reminded. Can Cubans escape this Third-World-symptom and march on to First-World socio-economic development?3 As the story goes, since their republican incorporation, Cubans lived comfortably in the dark corners of self-induced socio-political anomie. The Platonic/Revolutionary imperative of "facing the sun" 4 left them blinded. Cubans had no choice but to revise and accommodate their hopes to Castrismo's second coming.5 And the only good thing about this "second coming" is that it forced Cubans to pay attention to Castrismo's first incarnation.
Learn by rote!
For Cubans, any experience-memory of the present becomes automatically erased. They are happy to witness the present as if it was the first time! It must be hard not to have a (redeeming) past to fall back on. Never mind, Castrismo's "exile version"6 is no less utopic: The past gets altered, its memories appropriated (as Wall Street hedge-fund speculators do) from possible to non-existent futures. Teleologically speaking: Cubans exiles enjoyed uninterrupted progress -with minor misalignments- right until January, 1959.
Thus, the Nineteenth-Century slave refrain:
Siá, desásete cará, desásete historia, dale pa'trá ("History, free yourself, go back!").
Why is this relevant now? Castro's impending physical disappearance has very little to do with Castrismo. Watch out, all ghosts come back!7
*The question is seldom asked for fear of the truth. 1I don't take "Castrismo" as just an ideology -which it is- but as a broader set of cultural symbols and practices, transmitted through cultural habits. Given the proper environment, they flourish or become latent (or repressed). 2I'm referring to nom du père, symbolic Lacanian order, Castrismo as imago. 3History's true delivery, according to Castrismo's teleology. No doubt, this dependency theory is a product of Modern Neoclassical Economics. Isn't the very idea of "development," after Global Warming, in need of revision? Castrismo had it that Socialism would deliver humanity from the ills of underdevelopment (fifty years later, Castro's promise hasn't delivered). 4Were it not Platonic through-and-through, "Morir de cara al sol" ("To die facing the sun") would not pull such jingoistic zeal. Incidentally, José Martí is considered by nationalist Cubans as "the thirteenth apostle." 5Barely manifesting itself during pre-Modern Spanish-American colonialism, Castrismo grows to healthy maturity during the 1960's, just at the time of Cuban Revolution. Stubbornly idiosyncratic, during the 1980's it didn't sit well with Soviet-style bureaucracy and perestroika. Presently, Castrismo (as ideology) enjoys a comeback from oblivion after the apogee of Neo-conservatism. 6There is this Cuban cultural terribilità, like a two-heads-in-one-trunk syndrome (think of Lot's wife vs. Freud's Rat Man). 7Derrida's quote, referring to Marx, in Specters of Marx, Routledge, 1994).