Images of the 11J protests in Cuba. Photo: elTOQUE.
Cuba: The People Don’t Carry Out Coups
20 / julio / 2022
Two days before the first anniversary of the popular uprisings of July 11, 2021, the president of Cuba revealed a flyer containing only the Cuban head of state’s affirmation that they’ll be celebrating, together with the people, the dissembling of a vandalic coup attempt.
In addition to the enormous lack of ethics in a call to celebrate a government’s victory over the people – a victory achieved via military, paramilitary, and judicial repression – we stand before a political absurdity and a historic and social irrationality.
However, it’s not the aim of this article to recount the history of coup d’etats, nor to systematically define their forms and methodologies. Much has been written about this from different theoretical and ideological postures. In addition, there’s a large constellation of historic events that demonstrate them, for those who prefer concrete examples over abstractions.
I’m going to focus on a basic explanation of the implications of the government theory affirming that what a segment of the Cuban people did on July 11 and 12 of 2021, was an attempt to cause a destructive coup d’etat.
A coup d’etat is a factual event that overturns or causes instability to a specific government. Coup d’etats, often leave the State intact, but break the constitutional and legal order by causing the interruption of the common flow of the Republic or Kingdom.
A Coup d’etat can’t be a legal action. Currently, certain ways of overturning governments from within the existing constitutionality have become fashionable (through parliamentary formulas, legal political institutions that – under constitutional interpretation and within their legal institutional structure – allow themselves to be used against a ruler: withdrawing their confidence, applying legal pressure, submitting them to trials of honor). However, all this is within the political possibilities of the parliamentary and presidential forms of government in the republics, that are sometimes used as mechanisms to destroy the legitimate and fairly-elected governments.
A coup d’etat is generally, a set of political and military events facilitated by influential groups or sectors within the political system that achieve the defeat of a government. These events must necessarily be led by organizations, leaders, or specific groups who use conspiracy, violence, or other unconstitutional methods.
A popular uprising is a mix of disarmed social groups that demonstrate peacefully – though there may be moments of violence, when they attack the state institutions or confront the police. It’s in no way a coup d’etat.
The people don’t conduct coup d’etats; the people don’t realize illegitimate acts, because the people are those who rule, or they should be. When people overturn a despotic monarchy that blocks them from exercising their rights, because it doesn’t allow the existence of citizenship, it’s not considered a coup d’etat against a kingdom instituted by the grace of God, but a revolution that overturns a monarch who was a tyrant. Tyrants must be toppled by the people, because in any case they haven’t known how to be fair rulers.
In the republics, the people are the sovereign rulers that set up the State. Without the people, there’s no Government at all; and without a sovereign people, there’s no republic. The people don’t rise up as vandals in the face of a tyrannical government. They rise up to demand of the rulers their due political rights.
A people who call for freedom aren’t vandals; a people who demand bread, work, electricity, rights and medicine aren’t vandals. The government that calls its people “vandals” for demanding their rights, doesn’t deserve to represent them nor speak for them.
In a republic, when a ruler isn’t chosen by the people, the republic begins to shake and flounder. Not because the people are resisting, but because it’s been born with a near-fatal wound, without the sovereign peoples having said who will have the specific authority to govern in their place.
The first coup d’etat that a republic suffers is from a constitution that doesn’t allow the exercise of political freedom; that doesn’t prohibit discrimination against those who express different political ideas; that doesn’t institute the creation of any political organizations besides those in power; and that doesn’t foresee the election of its leaders by the people.
The people don’t conduct coup d’etats – they rise up, demand, raise their voices, make revolutions, take over castles, overturn thrones, fill plazas, sing, and change the political order without asking permission, because there’s no more fair and pure law than that which the people write in the street with their will or their abandonment.
People don’t conduct coup d’etats. The rulers on the right or left who repeat such nonsense do so against the population, those who have in their favor that all their acts are legitimate, as long as they abide by the order they’ve founded or accepted.
On July 11 and 12 of 2021, a part of the Cuban people screamed for their rights. They didn’t try to take down a government, nor did they realize treasonous acts, nor accumulate arms, nor assassinate politicians, nor lock up government sympathizers. They only demanded what is lawfully theirs.
The people don’t conduct coup d’etats. The Cuban people should be spoken of with respect for marching by the thousands those days. They’ve suffered repression for it, and they’re still suffering in prison. The political gesture that ignores them and reduces them to a horde of vandals is reactionary. It’s not contributing anything to the needed solutions, and it’s turning a blind eye to a long history of problems that ordinary people have in Cuba, without their untouchable governments ever demonstrating a minimum of sensitivity about them.