Español When you’re the lone openly libertarian organization in a nation famous for censorship, as is the case for Cuba’s Anarcho-capitalist Club (CAC), just remaining in existence for a year is an achievement.
To celebrate the occasion on Saturday, March 14, the group’s dozen or so core members launched a campaign to teach Cuban citizens and small entrepreneurs about bitcoin.
“The idea is that tourists can use bitcoin to pay Cuban entrepreneurs and thus keep profits out of reach of Castro,” Joisy García, the club’s founder, told the PanAm Post.
A month ago, the CAC became the first organization in Cuba to start accepting donations in bitcoin. With the help of supporters abroad, they opened a bitcoin wallet to raise funds for the club, since the majority of the members cannot find employment on account of their open opposition to the regime.
García said the plans for 2015 will involve more “fight and enthusiasm.” They’re currently seeking to secure international scholarships in economics for young Cubans, to “show them another ideology, another vision.”
For García, now working from Miami, the club’s biggest achievement has been “to have broken the taboo about discussing other doctrines besides communism or socialism.” He highlighted the importance of creating intellectual ammunition in the opposition’s battle against General Raúl Castro.
With one year of online presence under their belts, they have garnered an unprecedented following of 3,000 virtual supporters inside and outside Cuba who follow the club’s daily “Libertarian Revolution,” according to García.
The CAC’s genesis came from videos that García and Nelso Rodríguez received from abroad: presentations by Jesús Huerta de Soto on anarcho-capitalism. After three months of digesting them, they decided to found the club and become a thorn in the side of Cuba’s communist rulers.
García explains that the group’s essence is, simply put, the desire for freedom, economic progress, and happiness. Beyond human rights, they battle for liberalism.
Not without Resistance
It hasn’t been easy for the Cuban anarcho-capitalists. Although the club was only founded a year ago, members have been receiving threats dating back much further for expressing their unwillingness to accept the Soviet-style structure of the island.
“The personal threats started in 2000,” García explains. “After that I was fired from my job and cannot find work in Cuba. In 2002 I signed onto Project Varela, carried out by the Christian Liberation Movement headed by Oswaldo Payá, a project that asked to change the Cuban Constitution.”
The members of the CAC, labeled opposition activists, have been banned from employment on the island and face ostracism from neighbors who are fearful of being associated with their activities.
In October 2014, García received a citation from the National Revolutionary Police for providing an interview with the PanAm Post about the hostility the club faces from the Cuban government.
Observing US-Cuba Discussions
With respect to the position of the CAC in relation to the renewed talks between the United States and Cuba, García sees the club as “observers.” They are hopeful that “the old abandoned wooden wheel will start to move,” in reference to the stagnant situation that has come to define Cuba for the past half century.
“Many think that the reopening of relations has the potential to provide the Cuban government with money for repression, but they are not lacking it,” he says. “The money they invest is not in hospitals, in the streets, or in the Cuban people.”
“We believe that it is necessary to maximize the amount of money on the island in order to benefit the country. We know that the Castro government wants to institute state capitalism so that the only ones to benefit are from that group, but this is the start of something.”
Translated by Daniel Duarte and Michael Pelzer. Edited by Fergus Hodgson.