Cuba: Dissidents’ suicide pods without technology.

The controversial ‘suicide pod’ lets users kill themselves with the press of a button.

Today death no longer represents a recognizable limit. Death is not even a metaphysical horizon of the “dasein” that Heidegger wrote so much about. After Heidegger, Andy Warhol’s endlessly reproducible electric chairs brought back the meaningless around the rhetoric of death as an instrumental act of the living. Later on, David Bowie’s Lazarus song revived again the corpse and the machinery of death as a judicial, political, and even aesthetic gesture: The human right to take one’s life, which also motivated political activism for “compassionate” assisted death.

Right as I write, we have in Cuba a nursery of dissidents’ suicide pods. They are not the “Sarco” (short for sarcophagus), but the San Isidro Movement (MSI). “Compassionate” assisted death in the context of poverty and oppression has reached a new high, but without the state-of-the-art virtual reality glasses of “Sarco”. I have two sentences for the San Isidro Movement:

Cuba and Cubans need you and more of you alive. The rhetoric of death is and should be the rhetoric of the system that you fight against, not yours.

Death is no longer a horizon of heroism or even of cowardice. Death has actually exited long ago human life as a narrative of meaningful discourse, it has literally forsaken us. We can never deliberately die for a purpose nor purposely, not at least, in a way that is meaningful, [was death ever meaningful, let alone pursuing it for the sake of a higher goal?]. We risk our lives to live, but we can never put death as a bargaining instrument of life unless deep down we know we will carry on living.

Like never before, there is today something worse than death, namely, to disappear in life and while living, or worse yet, to be dead alive while life itself rushes ahead of us like a shrinking prison. Suicide has become fashionable, particularly, when we commit suicide for others or because of others.

A recent tweet by one hardliner supporter of the Cuban revolution reads:

This is exactly how the Cuban regime and its supporter treat any dissent. In fact, his three points above not only apply to MSI. It is indeed a formulaic blueprint to refer to any opposition in Cuba. Differences in Cuba are only accepted by the current totalitarian regime if they are “within” the revolution, anything outside it is by definition against it. And if such differences are “outside” then it naturally follows that: “They are people easily manipulated against the Cuban people, and they certainly receive foreign aid”.

There is a general belief in Western societies that currently we are ruled by the tyranny of minorities (Identity Politics on one hand, and the so-called 1% on the other), unlike yesterday's when we were ruled by the tyranny of majorities. We no longer know how to strike a balance for democracy because democracy should be the ruling of majorities but majorities with some degrees of self-organization.

When majorities need to be over-protected and under constant surveillance, we do not have really majorities but individual agencies of power coercing mobs and manufacturing consent. This is the type of mobs we have in Cuba, a uniformed-chaotic mob ruled by slogan but with zero capacity for self-organizing.

In mobs like that individuality does not count unless it aligns with the slogans of the collective. It is not just the idea of the permanent revolution that brings the real danger to Cuba’s future, but the very ideas of the collective and its relation to the individual whatever might be the political path (right or left) that Cuba finally takes.

The tweet above reads: “Gavilán no caza moscas” (Hawk does not hunt flies) and it describes clearly what happens when the revolutionary mob-majorities rule. Cuban revolution bandwagon is a “society” of hawks in which those who dissent are considered outliers and even pariahs who ultimately are not against a political idea (that is considered a gimmick) but against common moral sense and the “natural” benevolent laws of the Cuban people.

And for those on the current left side of politics, Cuba’s current mainstream political Zeitgeist is a macro echo chamber of its Western micro echo chamber counterpart represented by the mainstream liberal-progressive ideas of the current Biden-Harris political Zeitgeist. But let's leave that for another occasion. Cubans need unity beyond hawks and flies, unity in respect for diversity, diversity even of outliers.

In Cuba, its current totalitarian regime wants, by all means, to disappear any opposition, any dissent, and what better way to do so than to take advantage of the natural Stoic character of the Cuban people and put such character against them by promoting a sarcophagus-masochism that would lead them to take slowly but surely their lives dues to the unbearable hardship they have to endure while the government elite and their families hide their privileges and promote the bigotry of low expectation for the common Cuban.

I still have to untangle the connections between my pondering in here and the hunger strikes by the Cuban political movement in San Isidro. So far, what I can say is that their hunger strike has no differences in logistics when compared with the well-known “compassionate” assisted suicide pod chamber created by cutting-edge inventors in Europe.

Isn’t it so sweet to die with such comfort, be it with the comfort of technology or with the comfort of friends who support you? Yet, to deliberately kill oneself for a noble or higher cause has always had far greater implications than whether we die with comfort or not.

When we want to die it doesn’t matter if we do it to save other people’s lives or to escape our own misery. Either way is impossible to take death seriously by seriously killing oneself. Wanting or seeking death is a mise-en-scène whichever way we look at it. Having death wishes is a theatrical act with zero honesty, no matter how honestly we might wish it. We can only want life even somehow against the natural entropy of our own lives.

To die today is increasingly irrelevant and trivializing, particularly when compared with being ignored or, worse, not being noticed at all. This is precisely the most critical point because it is a point of reversal. When being noticed competes with the risk of taking one’s life, not for the sake of being noticed per se but for the sake of a higher moral cause, both, death and life become trivialized on the altar of that moment of attention.

The so-called economy of attention is at its best not when attention is sought out for attention’s sake but when its investments produce real dividends, morals, or monetary, precisely as a result of an ultra-polished approach to attention-seeking.

The economy of attention is not a shallow economy against the depths of knowledge and intellectual heights. On the contrary, it is like pulling our attention into a library of vast knowledge by exhibiting coffee makers and beverage sceneries outside in a bookstore’s window-shop.

The best attention-seeking plays with deception without a hint of deception, in fact, it sells itself out unpolished, raw, and brutally honest, but underneath is moved by a very artful and skillful mise-en-scène that is executed all too natural like the Diesel jeans which come tore off as a luxury item.

The Cuban revolution led by Fidel Castro was precisely that, an all too natural mise-en-scène of deceptions played with such craftsmanship that even failures after failures Castro still arrived in Havana victorious, not really because he and his troupe defeated anything but because the whole system was collapsing by its own accord, and they seized the opportunity to “fix” it.

Cuba is one more time collapsing by its own accord in the hands of Castro’s legacy. The upcoming political and civil rights fight in Cuba will know sooner rather than later how to avoid the all too natural mise-en-scène of deceptions played by Fidel Castro’s legacy. Cuba will collapse of its own accord again but this time there won’t be fake nor uniformed victories. Wanting and seeking death is part of the masochistic necrophilia legacy of Fidel Castro. That is the legacy any Cuban should leave behind.

Luis Manuel Otero, on hunger strike since November 18, 2020. House of San Isidro’s movement, Old Havana.




Genuine tragedies in the world are not conflicts between right and wrong. They are conflicts between two rights. Friedrich Hegel.

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Ulysses Alvarez Laviada

Ulysses Alvarez Laviada

Genuine tragedies in the world are not conflicts between right and wrong. They are conflicts between two rights. Friedrich Hegel.

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