Throughout the month of July I have not updated this blog. Of course, with the limited internet access we have in Cuba, plus the fact that our site is blocked by the government so that we can’t access it in the public cyber cafes, I could very well say that I haven’t been able to update is or some similar excuse, but I would be lying… and this space was created specifically to not lie. It is, on the contrary, a refuge to escape from the day to day lie we live. I haven’t written simply because I have not had the state of mind, because I have lacked the push, the faith and the sharp judgment to do it. At times, one loses heart when facing the impossibility of being able to provoke wide-ranging debates which would help change things. Though I can assure you that on the one day last week when I could access the blog, I took advantage of it to read the comments of my readers and the email messages; this always helps and encourages me.
Today I sat in front of my computer because I feel worse when I keep silent, and because if we all submerge ourselves in the silence of the lambs, nothing will save us from the shame. It’s as simple as that. What is curious is that sometimes the poverty and social paralysis are more contagious (and much more dangerous) than bravery; many more choose to shut up than to stand up; it is easier to run from reality than it is to face it and transform it. Sometimes it happens that one gets tired of swimming against the current, but after a while of tame immersion, I prefer to get back and continue working my way upstream. Let the flock be silent.
What’s curious is the detail that made me mediate about all this: The speech of our current president, Raúl Castro, at the close of the first ordinary session of the VII Legislature of the National Assembly, last July 11. It was a cryptic sermon full of hidden messages, insinuations of promises and premonitions (the granting of land to farmers, hard times approaching, I don’t know if more hard times, or harder even than we have had to live these past 50 years), calls to “fulfillment of duty,” allusions to the absent dictator as if to the Buddha who sees all, hears all, and is consulted on all. In general, nothing convincing or definite, as is often the case in every official speeches. A coded text that can either be interpreted as an old scheme to buy time, or as the intent to oil the rusty old machinery and jumpstart the economy through agricultural production by granting land “in usufruct.” However, if in fact it is the latter, it would mean – despite many limitations and weaknesses – a small step, but an important one in a society so immobilized; discrete but very audacious in a country where for decades everything has been under the strictest control of the State. Neither should we be naïve: Absolute power is highly addictive; one does not renounce it voluntarily and meekly.
And what started me thinking is just that. If, during the two years since the forced exit of the older brother, apparent changes and obvious setbacks have occurred; if after Raúl Castro’s speech of July 26, 2007 we are still waiting for the much trumpeted (and missing) “glass of milk” and for the much needed openings; if since February of this year and his official investiture as the President of Cuba and with all this power he so far has not implemented even minimal reforms and we continue as if frozen in time… how could I be disheartened by the supposed uselessness of my humble opinion and those of other romantics like myself? It is crucial to continue to push the door; so let us return to the ring; if the intent is to silence or tire us out, let’s not make it so easy for them.