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Orlando Gutierrez-Boronat: Cuba’s Pawns, Informants, and Financiers, from China to America

Since July 2020, thousands of Cubans have been protesting against their regime, demanding change, freedom, and an end to communism in their country. Orlando Gutierrez-Boronat is a spokesperson for the Cuban Democratic Directorate, who has spent decades raising awareness about the brutal reality of living under the Cuban regime after he fled the communist island as a child.

“When you look at the collapse of infrastructure that collapsed the economy, they’re killing that nation-state. They’re killing the Cuban nation,” said Gutierrez-Boronat.

His recent book “CUBA: The Doctrine of The Lie” exposes propaganda about Cuba and dispels common myths and misconceptions.

“The regime is the platform for the expansion of Communist tyranny throughout Latin America—in Venezuela, in Nicaragua, in Bolivia, and now perhaps also in Chile and Colombia,” he says. “It’s very convenient to many powers that be – Russia, China, and others here in the United States—that the regime maintains the illusion of having been successful.”

Gutierrez-Boronat has been involved in peaceful protests against Cuba throughout the world, many of which were hijacked by violent, pro-Cuban mobs.

“In Panama, we were attacked by Cuban embassy thugs together with local pawns of the regime. And several of us were badly hurt. I had two ribs broken. My knee was torn. I needed reconstruction surgery on my knee,” said Gutierrez-Boronat.


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Jan Jekielek:

Orlando Gutierrez-Boronat, such a pleasure to have you on American Thought Leaders.

Orlando Gutierrez-Boronat:

Thank you, likewise.

Mr. Jekielek:

So, tell me about what’s happening in Cuba right now.

Mr. Gutierrez-Boronat:

The big news in Cuba is that there is a sustained citizen uprising against the tyrannical regime, the totalitarian regime which Cuba is suffering from. Since July 11th, 2021, thousands of Cubans have gone out to publicly protest against the regime, especially young artists, women, youth, all demanding change, and demanding the end of communism.

They’re fighting for their life and they’re fighting for their freedom. And it’s there, the videos are there, the political prisoners are there. Hundreds of people have been arrested and imprisoned. Cuba has 122 women who are political prisoners. It’s the country in the world with the greatest number of political prisoners per capita, and there’s a deep desire to change the regime.

Mr. Jekielek:

Why so many women?

Mr. Gutierrez-Boronat:

You can look at Cuban birth rates after communism took over, when you look at the level of exodus, over 200,000 Cubans have arrived in the U.S. since January of 2022. When you look at the collapse of infrastructure, at that collapse of the economy, they’re killing that nation state and they’re killing the Cuban nation. Women perceive this in a very intuitive and profound way. They know that their children, their families, and their communities are being wiped out. They’ve taken the lead in trying to save the country by organizing communities for civic resistance against the regime.

Mr. Jekielek:

You don’t seem to hear a lot about this these days. There were these large protests over a year ago now. That did get some general coverage, but a lot of people today could be forgiven for not realizing that there’s even anything going on.

Mr. Gutierrez-Boronat:

There’s been large protests taking place even after last year against the regime. This summer was full of protests throughout Cuba. But there seems to be a literal blackout on what’s going on in Cuba with the citizen defiance of the regime.

Mr. Jekielek:

Any thoughts on why that is?

Mr. Gutierrez-Boronat:

One of the main reasons is that Cuba is iconic to the Left. Cuba is supposed to be the model of the successful socialist revolution, and it’s not that at all. It’s a highly-repressive regime that has downgraded the lives of Cubans, that has destroyed living standards in that country, and that has created a crisis for the Cuban population. But that regime has a very good propaganda machine in its favor, and it’s not just entirely Cuban, it’s also international.

And the regime is the platform for the expansion of communist tyranny throughout Latin America—in Venezuela, in Nicaragua, in Bolivia, and now perhaps also in Chile and Colombia. This regime is essential for the spread of these ideas and of the creation of totalitarian advocates throughout the hemisphere. It’s very convenient for the many powers that be, Russia, China, and others here in the United States, that that regime maintains the illusion of having been successful.

Mr. Jekielek:

Let’s go back into history here. You’re the author of a wonderful book that I’ve been reading about Cuba. What was it like before the Revolution?

Mr. Gutierrez-Boronat:

I can say this, in 1898, when the Cuban Spanish American War ended, Cuba was devastated. Cuba had been a very profitable colony for Spain because of sugar production and tobacco production. The wars of independence resulted in 200,000 Cubans dying and the country’s economic infrastructure being destroyed. The Cuban independence leadership, which took over Cuba in 1902 after an American occupation, a very good occupation which did a lot of good for the country, faced a country that was still in a dire state.

Between 1902 and 1922, the Cuban economy boomed. Cuban living standards experienced a spike in improvement, in growth, in literacy rates, hygiene, education, they all increased dramatically. Because to a great degree, Cubans put their best effort into rebuilding their country in freedom. There were political crises, there were conflicts between political parties, but the economy of the country and the social growth remained very steady and very even.

It was done within a model of trying to build a rule of law within respect for individual freedom, respect for religious spirituality and all its expressions, so Cuba grew very swiftly. What occurred was that there was an institutional and political crisis in the late 1950s with a military government taking over that led to an insurrection. Then, Castro and his acolytes took control of the country with great support from American liberals in every way you can imagine.

The myth began to be constructed that this country had risen from a medieval state to great progress through socialism and communism, which is completely the opposite of what really happened. What happened was that a country that was flourishing and was about to take off in the development stage collapsed under a communist regime.

Mr. Jekielek:

An excellent book that I read last year was called The Gray Lady Winked by Ashley Rindsberg. One of the things he talks about is how a New York Times journalist, whose name escapes my mind right now, essentially made Fidel Castro into a hero. The guy was so pro-Castro and so pro-communism that eventually he was fired. It was even too much for the New York Times. But apparently, on his first visit to America, Fidel spent a lot of time at the New York Times, and apparently thanked them for their support. I don’t even know what to make of that.

Mr. Gutierrez-Boronat:

Herbert Matthews was essential in building the Castro myth. He went up into the mountains, the Sierra Maestra, when Castro barely had 20 people following him, and built that into he already had an army of hundreds, for the consumption of the U.S. public. Herbert Matthews was very important.

That tour of the U.S. that you mentioned in 1959 by Castro, a public relations firm in the U.S. set that up. Who paid for that firm? Who paid for that tour of the U.S. by Castro, which presented him as a democratic reformist who was anti-communist and pro-America? All that was false. They were already building a communist state in Cuba.

It’s very obvious, the steps that were taken, and what they did with that trip to the U.S. The work of Herbert Matthews was to somehow deflect attention from what they were really doing inside Cuba. The Left needed a successful socialist revolution that didn’t have any of the stains of the bad reputation that Stalinism had already gained in the world.

Remember, by 1959, Khrushchev had revealed the crimes of Stalin at the Congress of the Communist Party. The invasion of Hungary in 1956 had taken place, along with the crushing of the East German worker strikes, all of that was in the air. People saw how repressive communism was.

Then along comes this revolution in a tropical country with some charismatic leaders promising utopia and heaven for Cubans. They began to build that up from the very onset. Castro was surrounded by international advisors to help design that totalitarian state.

It’s very clear in Che Guevara’s writings, the purpose was to create a platform through which to create a socialist revolution in the U.S. and in Latin America, through a combination of planning and preparation by the Cuban Communist Party and the U.S. Communist Party and other Left wing forces. An opportunity emerged, and Cuba became a force for socialism in Latin America.

That’s why to this day there is still an attempt to protect that regime from any bad publicity it generates itself. Marcuse clearly states in his essay on liberation that the Cuban Revolution was essential for socialism in the U.S. When you see the role of that regime since it took power, it has been a place to train U.S. Left-wing activists, to indoctrinate, to create underground cells and espionage networks in the U.S. Throughout the region it facilitates any kind of activity aimed at opposing America’s plans and subverting democracies throughout the region, not dictatorships, but democracies.

From the very onset the Castro regime wanted to take over Venezuela, to the point that they even sent armed invasions throughout the 1960s. The same thing was repeated in key countries which they thought were essential to creating the united socialist republics of Latin America, and of course, to also cause social tension, class struggle and radical transformation of the United States. That has always been the plan. It’s always been part of what the regime, and they don’t hide it that much, of what the regime states it wants to pursue.

What got me started on my book was I found a long dialogue between Che Guevara and Left-wing journalists that took place in New York City in 1964 at the Cuban Mission. It was extremely revealing as to what Guevara was seeking, and also what these so-called journalists were seeking.

Mr. Jekielek:

What was revealed?

Mr. Gutierrez-Boronat:

It revealed to me the madness of Che Guevara, a man bent on his own vision of what the revolution should be and how to bring about socialist transformation, and also recognizing the great disasters they were causing. But at the same time, these journalists who are all born in the U.S. and citizens of a free republic, are urging him on. They’re creating the myth and putting that into Guevara’s mindset as they interview him.

It’s obvious they’re using Guevara to push the idea of a socialist revolution, and Guevara thinks he’s using them to consolidate that regime. To me, it was fascinating the relationship between so-called progress, the woke ideology, and hard-line, radical, dangerous people like Ernesto Guevara.

Mr. Jekielek:

I really want to explore that more. But before we do that, given everything you’ve just said, what do you make of the fact that it’s very common to see kids running around in Che Guevara T-shirts?

Mr. Gutierrez-Boronat:

I’ve been a teacher for a long time. I’ve taught at the university level and high school for 25 years. I think that 90 per cent of kids wearing Che Guevara shirts have no idea what they’re wearing, because they don’t know what Cuba was. It’s very sad, and it’s very frustrating. My country has gone through concentration camps where people were interned simply for their faith or their lifestyle, throughout the ’60s and ’70s.

Castro did acts of repudiation against people for wanting to leave the country, with massacres one after another against people trying to escape from that hellhole, a police state that was created with thousands of people incarcerated for their beliefs. What Cuba has gone through is a tragedy. It’s a collapse of a culture and civilization, an induced collapse with no other comparison in Latin American history. And yet, it’s ignored, and it’s brushed away on purpose.

Mr. Jekielek:

As you’re describing this, I can’t help but think of Venezuela.

Mr. Gutierrez-Boronat:

Venezuela is part of that same blueprint. One of the most advanced and consolidated democracies in Latin America was finally subverted through electoral means by a radical, Left-wing, totalitarian movement, aided and abetted and instructed from Cuba to destroy Venezuela as a democracy. We have seven million Venezuelan refugees leaving a country that was prosperous, that was helping democracy in the region, and is now a basket case. That is part of what these people are pursuing.

Now, we have to be very careful about what’s going on in Chile, and what’s going on in Colombia. These revolutions don’t happen in poor countries, they happen in prosperous countries. They happen in countries that have a possibility of leadership, and that’s what attracts this totalitarian virus. And Cuba was certainly there in the 1950s.

Mr. Jekielek:

I want to learn more about you. You are so passionate about Cuba, and freedom in Cuba, and freedom in general. Where do you come from?

Mr. Gutierrez-Boronat:

My family has been in Cuba for many, many generations. Part of my bloodline was already there before the Spanish got there. My family comes from eastern Cuba, from a province that is very important in Cuban history. I’m part of that extended and unified family that was full of tradition and good values and principles. The other part of my family is from the other part of the island, from the Western part, and they were also very loving people. I grew up within that extended unified family, and I saw how communism had torn my family apart, and how it had separated them.

There were beloved family members we never saw again, because you could not return to Cuba once you left. My parents were professional and successful. They initially saw the revolution as a way to improve Cuba, but they quickly saw that a communist police state was being set up, and they decided they didn’t want me to grow up as a slave.

They wanted me to grow up as a free man. That makes me very emotional when I think about that. They and my grandparents made some very hard decisions. My grandparents made the decision not to see me again when they said, “No, take him out of here, have him grow up free.”

So, I know what freedom means. Freedom is not a theory, freedom is a reality. It’s a way of life. It’s a mystery that’s revealed to the human condition as it ascends spiritually, so it cannot be discarded. Although I’m very proud to be American and I deeply love the U.S., and I’ve grown up in a country of possibilities, part of my soul is Cuban, deeply Cuban.

I cannot let go of that while the Cuban people are still enduring what they’re enduring. It’s a regime that is willing to destroy the Cuban nation and destroy the Cuban people in order to preserve a platform for the expansion of an evil ideology, which has caused so much harm across the world.

Mr. Jekielek:

How old were you when they sent you to the U.S.?

Mr. Gutierrez-Boronat:

I left my parents when I was five years old, and I got to the US when I was seven. We had to go from one country to another until finally making it to the U.S. And then, I was raised mostly in Miami. My degrees are in journalism and political science. I have a PhD in philosophy and international relations. I’ve pursued activism for a free Cuba since I was very young, in my teenage years. My calling was there from the beginning, a spiritual calling to serve the Cuban nation as best as I could.

I had a great childhood. But I grew more and more aware and I saw what my family had gone through, the pain they had endured, and the family members who had been executed by this regime. We have one cousin who was 21 years old, and he was executed. He was tried and executed within 24 hours.

I have another beloved cousin who spent 18 years in prison for his opposition to the regime as part of the Catholic Labor Youth. I can give you more and more examples. I have a great-uncle, who when he arrived at the farm he had built up and he had turned into a successful enterprise, it had been confiscated by the communists. He had a heart attack and collapsed right there and died.

I began to see these stories and I began to read Cuban history and see what had occurred, and what had happened. There was an intentional decision by Fidel Castro and his followers to destroy Cuban tradition, to destroy Cuban culture and civilization and build something new, build a horrible thing, a police state.

And more than a police state, they kept on saying they want to destroy the Cuban individual. Guevara said, “The Cuban individual, as he has existed up till now will cease to exist. We’re going to turn this into a collectivist culture, a culture of the masses where there’s no individuality.” They’ve done everything possible to do that, and it’s just grotesque what’s occurred.

Mr. Jekielek:

Initially, at least, it seems like in these revolutions they always say, “The dictatorship part is just temporary. We use that to foster change.”

Mr. Gutierrez-Boronat:

It’s a big lie. That’s another lie. An authoritarian regime is deeply different from a totalitarian. In an authoritarian regime, a branch of government takes over the functions of government for a limited period of time. Of course, there’s repression. I’m not justifying it, it’s wrong. But generally, authoritarian regimes don’t meddle with society, and society keeps on functioning.

A totalitarian regime is something very different. That’s where a leader or family takes over a party, the party controls the government, controls the military, and they seek to destroy society and any free agency within society. They seek to absorb society.

And they’re willing to do whatever it takes; murder, slaughter, massacres, and incarceration on a mass scale in order to destroy the free will society and create a lobotomized population that does whatever the state wants. It’s metaphysical—it’s an attempt to destroy free will within individuals. I’ve seen nothing more diabolical than that.

Mr. Jekielek:

That’s very interesting. The population is somehow involved in the actions of the repressed, and history almost supports it. And there’s a decided effort to create or foster that portion of the population by the system to help perpetuate it.

Mr. Gutierrez-Boronat:

Once the masses emerge as a political unit, then the individual is in grave danger. By mid-1959, in the last free surveys that were carried out by the remaining independent press in Cuba, just a few months after Castro taking power, already a good portion of the Cuban people, up to 40 per cent, were saying, “Hey, when are the elections going to happen?” Castro had promised elections in 18 months, and that never occurred.

But at the same time, by mid-1959, Castro was saying, “We will always be the majority.” What he meant by that was that they knew there were scientific ways, there was a method to create a permanent mob of people who would do whatever the regime wanted, who would surrender their moral decision-making to the state, and were willing to do whatever was required of them, because they liked the comfort of totalitarianism.

Freedom is very difficult. Liberty demands a great deal of decision-making, responsibility, and being aware of consequences. It means taking hold of your life and ascending spiritually. It’s very, very difficult to live in freedom, and totalitarianism promises a release from all that.

“You don’t have to think anymore, Fidel Castro will do all the thinking for you.” This was something you could read in the Cuban press starting in the early ’60s, “Fidel will think for us.” No, that went against everything Cubans had ever fought for, the ability to decide on your own, like Jose Marti, our great national philosopher and hero. Everything he did was about, “Cubans must decide on their own.”

“There’s a moral structure to the universe, and if you join that moral structure to your free will, then you will be free, with a type of freedom which is unmatched in any material terms.” That’s the promise of the Cuban nation. This guy went against all that. Fidel Castro and Guevara wanted to destroy that, but they ran into something they didn’t expect—an unrelenting resistance from Cubans, 63 years of resistance. We haven’t given up because this is transcendent.

Mr. Jekielek:

It’s astounding for me to hear that in the propaganda press in Cuba that they were saying, “Fidel will think for us.” I got shivers as you said this because another characteristic of these communist or neo-Marxist ideologies is they’re very out in the open about what their intentions are in a lot of ways. But some of us don’t want to look at that.

Mr. Gutierrez-Boronat:

Exactly. Exactly.

Mr. Jekielek:

What do you think?

Mr. Gutierrez-Boronat:

No, it’s there. Once you really read what they were saying, they were clearly saying what they wanted to say. People perhaps want to listen to something else or they want to construe the words in a different fashion, but totalitarians say what they’re going to say, because it’s a huge enterprise they’re carrying out and they need to give clear instructions to their followers. There’s something totalitarianism offers, which a lot of people deeply enjoy. I won’t say a lot of people, but some people. It takes away all control you have over your own life, but it gives you incredible power over the life of your neighbor.

You can’t rule your own life. You’ve lost free will within your society, but you can destroy somebody else’s life or you can improve somebody else’s life. That ability to lord over somebody else or to have power over somebody else, for some people is a great substitute for freedom. That can be reinforced through diverse psychological means through mass media. Castro used television, which Cuba had a lot of. Cuba was one of the countries in Latin America that had the greatest access to TV in the late ’50s, and he used television very ably.

Once you used mass media, there was no private education, and all education was controlled by the regime. Once you control everything being printed, once you control leaving and entering the country, then people become enclosed within a very, very narrow tunnel where very little information gets in.

And unless you have very strong convictions and you’re very firm in your beliefs and your faith and you understand history, you can get trapped in that mindset. Many have broken with it. There is a way of breaking through it, but it’s not difficult. It’s a limiting of the spiritual ascension of you as an individual and of your society.