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En Cuba

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The Gap

  • abr 23, 201210:59h
  • 2 comentarios

After five years of “aggregating” Cuban news from many sources and making visible to others what does not usually appear in the mainstream media, I think I’m in a position to notice a symptom — in my view a disturbing one — that I find in a good part of the discourse of our cyberdissidence: namely, the belief that to the extent that they fill the vacuum produced by the lack of information, the People will turn to the Good side, let’s say, as the veil that has prevented individuals from recognizing the definitive political Truth falls from their eyes. There is no suggestion, not even a suspicion, that this People already knows — or at least intuits — the Truth, and has chosen, instead, to stand on the side of its immediate interests rather than to openly align itself with civic activism and the defense of democracy.

The consensus of the Cuban opposition is undeniable: we can see it in the evolution of the discourse of Yoani Sánchez, Eliécer Ávila or the organizers of Estado de SATS, who have been critical of specific aspects of Cuban society (the press, transportation, housing, the state of the economy…), and in a political “consciousness” (to use a term from Marxist jargon) that calls into question the entire discourse of the legitimizers of the Castro regime. It is encouraging also to see how new faces have joined a growing youthful rebellion which is no longer a rare or isolated phenomenon.

But the essence of the problem remains, I believe, in a division that almost no one wants to talk about. This is the deep gap between Cubans with different interests as they face the prospect of a radical change, and of the inevitable price that this implies.

Cuban society today, like it or not, is more pluralistic than five years ago, especially in its pretexts to keep looking askance at the opposition, to not claim the rights of political representation or to keep oneself within a circle of silence and indifference, faced with the dissident ferment. Before, people did not protest out of fear, or because of the nationalistic carryover of “not giving arms to the enemy.” Now, in addition, many Cubans remain silent or don’t get involved because they prefer to defend their incipient economic interests (still at the margin of the State), their properties recently acquired legally, their professions, their subsidized and prestigious lives in the arts, their permissions to travel and all the perks power permits, for example, to artists or classes who consider the status quo less risky than the hypothetical scenario of a “New Cuba,” freer than today.

The difference between those who assume the risks of joining the opposition and those who remain on the sidelines is increasingly, I suspect, of an ethical nature. Deciding to join an act of repudiation is an ethical decision, as well as an immoral one. How does one come to be a “dissident” in Cuba today? And how is it that someone can support beating another person in public for thinking differently? Is it information or an idea about what is right or wrong? Who can force a person to dance, as if at a witches’ sabbath, outside a house under siege? These are the questions we have been asking, over and over again for far too long, without wanting to hear the most obvious and painful answer.

One of the few commentators who have focused on this question is the blogger Lilianne Ruiz, whose religious perspective makes her notably sensitive to the shamelessness of the new Revolutionary philistinism. These new Cuban Philistines, obsessed with the ordinary material goods that the Cuban State now allows them to pursue, feel the contradictory desire to do what everyone else does, and at the same time a febrile ambition to belong to a distinguished circle, in some form or another. It is doubtful they will choose to align themselves with the “radioactives.” Information doesn’t interest them; they are disenchanted with the Castro regime’s ideological propaganda and, at the same time, fascinated by commercial advertising. And the opposition lacks any marketing to offer them.

The fundamental problem facing Cuban activists and dissidents today is not just State Security. It is also this gap — social, ethical and even generational — that the Castro regime has managed to widen to their advantage.

Ernesto Hernandez Busto
Barcelona

Photo: Young people “delivered” by the Young Communist Union dancing outside Laura Pollan’s house during one of the repudiation rallies against the Ladies in White.

2 respuestas
Comentarios

  • Elizabeth dice:

    Ernesto (If I may) creo que mucho de lo que describes en tu ensayo es algo universal, parte de la naturaleza humana y del instincto de sobrevivencia y de preservacion. Ha pasado historicamente en muchos lugares del mundo (Alemania con los judios, Argentina con los desaparecidos, Africa en varias matanzas etnicas, etc). La otra parte mas “folklorica” de Cuba es tambien interesante y creo que sera dificil de cambiar. Los mismos extremos que vi en La Habana creciendo en los 80 los vi con horror en Miami de visita. La gente en su gran mayoria simplemente no piensa, son como ganado de vacas, alguien los guia y le siguen a ese alguien sin pensamiento propio. Es un fenomeno interesante.

    Aca en EU es igual, pero hay mas acceso al exterior y mas heterogeneidad, asi que necesariamente ves el mundo sin tener que viajar. Al menos por esa parte puedes tener una perspectiva mas amplia.

    En Cuba es todo muy homogeneo y eso es todo lo que uno conoce estando alli. Mas bien se tiene uno que imaginar lo que hay detras de ese mar, pero una vez que uno deja la isla la perspectiva le cambia 180 grados y muchas cosas de las que uno estaba convencido puede que cambien. La gente en Cuba se acostumbro a que el gobierno subsidiara todo, luego a que lo hiciera la familia de aca, o la prostitucion, o el robo, o lo que fuese mas comodo. Todo el mundo sabe lo que esta pasando pero como los Alemanes de la era de Hitler o los Argentinos de la era de los militares, optan deliberadamente por mirar al otro lado y reprimir la verguenza que les daria el intento de reconocer la realidad. Es mas comodo asi.

    Sin embargo eso no es diferente de lo que hicimos nosotros con irnos y dejar todo por detras asi no mas para no tener que enfrentar la idiotez del regimen ese. Fue mas comodo largarse. Hubiera sido mas valiente (pero menos conveniente) el haberse quedado y enfrentarlo todo, pero al menos en mi caso decidi que no valia la pena; como el Cubano de hoy debe haber decidido que no vale la pena luchar contra el status quo y esperar a ver que pasa mientras alguien le manda dinero o la hija se prostituye, etc.

    Lo triste es que somos muy pocos in the large scheme of things y quizas desaparezcamos for good. Seria triste porque pienso que la esencia del Cubano es linda a pesar de todo eso. Somos una molecula en el mar humano. Unos 12 millones give or take 2 de la diaspora, etc. y de esos -say 15millones- hay una masa critica de gente demasiado homogenea, demasiado provenzal, creyendo firmemente que su realidad es la unica realidad que existe, sin dar un chance a la duda o a preguntarse como sera en otros lugares, y sin deseos de crear, de transformar o de cambiar el status quo. El resto, la gran minoria educada y pensante no puede realmente hacer mucho ni desde adentro ni desde afuera. Si se abre la internet, etc. no creo que cambie nada porque el problema es otro mas arraigado al “folklor” criollo.

    Pienso que tu observacion es muy buena. Estoy de acuerdo contigo y solo espero que a pesar de todo lo negativo podamos preservar un poco la esencia linda de lo que somos en este universo de gentes -porque si creo que como pueblo -dentro o fuera de Cuba- aun tenemos algo muy especial que valdria la pena preservar.

    Una vez mas gracias mil por todo ese trabajo tan maravilloso que haces. Siempre abres una ventana a lo interesante. Saludos. Elizabeth