hombres, mujer

PhDs Galore, Doctoral Summits and Other Nonsense

9 / octubre / 2023

They’re taking the piss out of us, there’s no doubt about it. Mercilessly and shamelessly. They are mocking us, ironically.

According to different media outlets and social media, Esteban Lazo would have defended (or is defending) a doctorate in Education Sciences. Not a degree, nor a diploma, specialization or a Masters, a doctorate. You heard that right. He’d previously published a couple of “scientific” articles as the academic rules demand in magazines classified in Cuba. “Integrating community leaders to teach values in Regla, Havana,” the first one was called, signed alongside a researcher from the National Institute of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation (INDER) in Atenas magazine (from Matanzas). The second was “The political-ideological education of university students in Cuba today,” in the Cuban Magazine of Higher Education, co-written by none other than the Dean of Havana University (UH).

Denia Garcia Ronda, who has been teaching at UH for generations, posted on her Facebook profile: “What need is there in our country for our leaders and other public servants to want to be PhDs right now? (….) Anyone who has gone through this scientific process knows how much energy, how much stress, how many dead hours it takes to research, process, reflect, write a thesis and then get ready to present it. How long does it take? How much commitment does it take? And what for? Being a PhD doesn’t prove a leader’s competence. A habit doesn’t make the monk. Cobbler, stick to your shoes.”

Alina Barbara Lopez Hernandez, a PhD, also remarked on the Stalinist nature of the article signed by both the President of Parliament (Lazo) and the Dean. Quoting Pozo, the authors of the analysis argue that: “Political-ideological work is able to exercise influence over the political mindset and public opinion. It establishes positive adjustments in people’s attitude towards the Party and State’s content, ways, tasks and activity. It forms negative adjustments and attitudes towards the political enemy. Forming a positive public opinion regarding the Party and State’s concrete events and intentions is also part of its job. A perfect pamphlet. This isn’t the only juicy part. They also mention words uttered by Diaz-Canel, PhD, the husband of Lis Cuesta, PhD, and also the mentor of Alejandro Gil PhD. A constellation of PhDs if there ever was one.

Aside from the responsibilities any politician in power has anywhere in the world, which would greatly restrict their ability to undertake scientific research at the same time, if this politician is also the Head of Parliament and a Council of State, it’s much more difficult for them to do this. If we also tell you that we’re talking about a leader that is 79 years old and hasn’t ever managed to put together a verbal speech that is coherent for more than two paragraphs – now or when he was younger -, and that when he has to read he can barely do this with the same fluidity as a high school student, then, the matter isn’t very realistic and becomes a blatant joke.

Although, what can you expect but a mockery, biting jokes, from people who are ruling an “estate” in ruins and who recently took the luxury of organizing a global summit that involved dozens of countries. Even if they had to leave half of the country without electricity, before and after, or let the guard dogs out to repress activists and opposition members on a large-scale to keep streets quiet for dignatories’ ears.

What can you expect from a president who stands before the G77+China and preaches about “building a fairer world, that is truly democratic and inclusive”; while he has over 1000 political prisoners, a caricature of an electoral system and turning the Constitution into a piece of old paper that is used to restrict the Cuban people’s rights, when it armor-plates the rulers’ rights.

Or from a president who then goes to the snazzy podium at the United Nations and appears “dismayed and angry,” to say in Benedetti’s words – who he likes to quote – and demand “urgent reform of the international financial system.” This president, whose Government has turned the finances in his homeland into a real disaster, with a national currency that is only good for shame.

Aren’t sick jokes the order of the day? Like the person who breaks your feet, sells you crutches and then convinces you that it’s thanks to them that you can walk, in true meme style.

What more do we have left to see? A PhD by Ulises Guilarte called “Scientific Methodology to make workers happier while paying them very little and forcing them to parade”? A scientific article by Teresa Amarelle Boue about the need for women to reproduce for the sake of creating a solid reserve of revolutionary pioneers? A masterclass by Guillermo Garcia Frias about the ideological importance of hutia and crocodiles for the virtual socialist stomach? That universities in Havana, Villas and Oriente are awarding doctorates together in Law to Ramiro Valdes, for his legal/repressive expertise? That the G77+China, CELAC and ALBA are launching a crowdfunding page to erect a moment for democracy and freedom of the press in Cuba? A congress of gravediggers on the island under the slogan: “Let’s work more!”?

Anything can happen. Lord have mercy.

This article was translated into English from the original in Spanish.
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