Fidel’s “Revolutionary Collective Surveillance” Neighborhood Spies Create Social Violence and Hatred 2

By Yoani Sanchez

Posted: 09/28/2012 2:52 am

The stew was cooked on firewood collected by some neighbors, the flags hung in the middle of the block and the shouts of Viva! went on past midnight. A ritual repeated with more or less enthusiasm every September 27 throughout the Island. The eve of the 52nd anniversary of the founding of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR), the official media celebrate on its commemoration, a song intended to energize those who are a part of the organization with the most members in the entire country, and to dust off the old anecdotes of glory and power.

But beyond these formalities, which are repeated identically each year, we can perceive that the influence of the CDR in Cuban life is in a downward spiral. Gone are the days when we were all “CeDeRistas” and the acronym — with the figure of a man brandishing a machete — still shone brightly on the facades of some houses.

Amid the ongoing decline of its prominence, it’s worth asking if the committees have been a more of source of transmission of power to the citizenry, than a representation of us to the government. The facts leave little room for doubt. Since they were created in 1960, they have had an eminently ideological base, marked by informers. Fidel himself said it during the speech in which he announced their creation:

“We are going to implement, against imperialist campaigns of aggression, a Revolutionary system of collective surveillance where everybody will know who lives on their block and what relations they have with the tyranny; and what they devote themselves to; who they meet with; what activities they are involved in.”

These words from the Maximum Leader are now difficult to find reproduced in full on national websites and newspapers. In part because, despite the unconditional support for the Commander in Chief, the current editors of these spaces know very well that such language is totally out of sync with the 21st century.

Read the entire feature here:


  1. The CDR Is one of the most hated organizations in Castro’s Cuba is an organization to provide support to the repressive MININT,The CDR are made up by the president in every street block and they organize activities against all those that oppose Communism.The president is the person in charge of assigning the neighbors on what day of the week they have to watch their fellow neighbors at the same time,Cubans try to stay away from watching their fellow citizens or put themselves in a position to turn their neighbors to the communists.The CDR are willing to turn you in from listening to Radio Marti which is base in Miami.My family was never a member of them,my father hated them because he was in prison for ten years for opposing the communists and me I never serve the communist system,never served the militias and much less their Communist military,it cost me a lot, fights,persecution,sometimes beatings.In my school class I was one of only three people out of 29 who refused to sign for the communist militia,it cost me but at the end of the day I remained standing and proud.My father was constantly harassed by the MININT and the CDR who threatened him with incarceration but he remained reluctant to serve them and like us there are millions that oppose this hateful regime.

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