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Cuba’s Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR)

Posted by FactReal on October 26, 2011

In the Age of Obama, we hear more about government seeking informants and snitches (i.e., Obama’s snitch website or Obama’s White House seeking email informants). This is nothing new. Big-government ideologues have historically created snitch brigades to control their citizens. Meet the CDRs.
Castro’s neighborhood snitch groups: The Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDRs)
Humberto Fontova explained what they are:
Snitching is essential to totalitarian regimes. Both Stalin’s and Castro’s Gulags were filled primarily by acting on tips from snitches. Such snitching has a snowball effect. The very fact that you’re snitching gives some people a (usually false) sense of protection from regime police because they’re assisting them. Then as more and more people get rounded up, more and more people feel threatened, so more and more of them snitch — more fear, more arrests; neighbor snitches against neighbor, cousin against cousin, even sons and daughters against parents. […]

In the mid-1990’s, the Catholic Human Rights group Pax Christi, headquartered in Belgium, visited Cuba and secretly conducted a study on the status of the CDR’s…

“Fear is the basic instrument of (Cuban) political control,” concludes the study. “There is one CDR for every 140 Cubans. The information at the State Security’s disposal can be used to threaten and intimidate anybody. There is no place to escape the tentacles of the State. Most ordinary Cubans reported that they remained intensely wary of CDR surveillance, even while conversing in their own homes.” These CDRs keep a file on every person in their beat (usually 2 city blocks in the cities) where they list all of the comings and goings, personal contacts, etc., in the hopes of detecting any revolutionary backsliding, which can be anything from a particularly snarky comment on a regime honcho or policy to playing hooky from the latest anti-imperialist rally in the Plaza de la Revolucion. The CDRs also supervise the issuing of the monthly food ration cards to all Castro’s subjects. “Food is a weapon” famously declared Stalin’s foreign minister, Maxim Litvinov.

With a little imagination almost everyone can visualize the Communist snitch-and-survive or snitch-and-reward process. At work, we’ve all seen that insufferable brownnoser who hopes to mitigate or camouflage his incompetence or laziness by sucking up to the boss. We’ve all seen that gossipy little backstabber, that busybody shrew get promoted over their betters. Somehow after every flush of “downsizing” many of these Eddie Haskells and Mrs Kravitzes keep bobbing back to the surface.

To some extent this is human/corporate nature. All organizations favor “team players.” In the private sector these kinks are eventually straightened and the brownnosing incompetents axed. Either that, or the company goes under. There are stockholders and customers to keep happy. But under Communism this swinishness is the very essence of the system. There is only a Maximum Leader to keep happy.


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