Modeling Cuba: the turn of North Korea
Arnaldo M. Fernandez
There are no surprises with the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies (ICCAS) at the University of Miami (UM). As usual, Research Associate Dr. Pedro Roig took the day off academic work and went thinking on a fancy: the Politburo seems “to be looking for a model [to] fill the void left by Fidel’s charisma.” And guess what: it could be North Korea, because both the Cuban and North Korean regimes:
- Praise the discredited communist utopia
- Base their power on ferociously repressive forces
- Punish with severety dissent and criticism
- Are unable to produce enough food for the people
- Depend on foreign subsidies: North Korea on China, Cuba on Venezuela
Up to here Dr. Roig provided a school model of hasty generalization by reaching an inductive conclusion based on insufficient premises. He did it with complete disregard for the gradient of the variables, which could be properly applied to countries of the extinct Soviet bloc. Given that North Korea stands out as a communist dynasty, Dr. Roig forced then a peacefull transition from faulty generalization to blatant forgery: in both regimes, “the leadership positions are vested within the ruling family.”
The North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, was known in advance as successor of his father, Kim Jong Il, who made him General (2010) together with his aunt Kim Kyon Hui (Kim Jong Il´s full sister). The latter is a Politburo member married to another Politburo member, Jang Sung Taek, Vice-Chairman of the National Defence Commission. He was shown on TV in the uniform of a General for the first time in 2011. The Castro family neither has built such a circus nor has a single relative among the 15 members of the Politburo.
Dr. Roig dodged the trunk in order to beat about the bush: Raul Castro is not wearing his military uniform, but expensive custom made suits, and his granddaughter, Vilma Rodriguez Castro, was seen wearing Chanel shoes, a Rolex and a Louis Vuitton purse, while Ri Yong-ho, wife of Kim Jong-Un, was spotted with a Christian Dior handbag and designer suit. After remembering that Kim Jong Il had a luxurious 16-car private train, Dr. Roig concluded: “the North Korean model seems to have the security and comfort needed to gradually transfer power [from Raul Castro] to his son Alejandro.” Dr. Roig jumps from premises to conclusions as quick as he jumps from politics to catwalks. Although his piece appears in ICCAS´ Focus on Cuba, Dr. Roig appears out of focus by missing that Castroism has gone well beyond the Castro family and spilled out through the whole social pyramid.
Dr. Roig even let fly a tirade about the Cuban people “condemned to live as slaves, begging for a raft or exit visa to escape the tragic island ruled by a brutal and corrupt military regime.” Coming from an expert in Cuban affairs, such a diagnosis must support the prognosis of a factual catastrophe for the Castroism in the just-around-the-coner general elections. Live to tell.
Illustration © Yordanis Garmendía