Archive for March, 2011

University of Havana. Photograph from the Internet

If someone had told us in the distant 70’s that the day would come when attendance at a march or other event in support of the revolution would be guaranteed by assigning quotas, I’m sure we would have made a face, incredulous. However, what back then would have been unthinkable is today a palpable reality.

Just a few days ago, the official press announced the forthcoming implementation of a parade to mark the 50th anniversary of the proclamation of the socialist character of the Cuban revolution and the victory at Bay of Pigs to be held on April 16th with the massive participation of children and the young in the municipalities of Havana “on behalf of the Cuban people.” What the press did not report is they had begun a process of selection in primary schools, secondary technical schools and colleges days before, pledging a fixed number of potential participants to ensure a respectable attendance at the event. A similar process has been taking place at universities and workplaces, where grassroots committees of the UJC (Communist Youth League) have had to mandatorily meet a quota to pay tribute at the parade. This is not really very difficult, given that the capital has a population of two million people and the event will begin with a military parade, which will swell the march.

It seems clear that the authorities know the lack of spontaneity of “the people” when holding the ceremonies of the revolutionary anniversaries. In previous years, many study centers were not limited to collecting lists of the disposition of their young to march in different events, but they were coerced into taking part in the ritual using resources previously unimaginable. For example, the School of Stomatology used a procedure sui generis for a more massive achievement at the March of the Torches — a fashion reminiscent of the Brownshirts youth of Nazi Germany — which in Cuba ends before the Marti’s Flame. The repressor-wannabes of that university faculty have established, throughout the course of that march, three control points to which each student must report, preventing the classic dispersing into side streets after the young people leave the march starting point: the aforementioned faculty is located at Carlos III and G Streets. I heard that other schools are using the same method as the only resource for the parade to be sufficiently attended.

The procedure for the allocation of quotas has become widespread and in a way that even the repudiation rallies have had to appeal to it. At the March 18th march, the Ladies in White were the target of further harassment by pro-government mobs that prevented a march of remembrance for the crackdown of the Black Spring. The repressive forces were ordered to deploy an operation to block the exit from Laura Pollan’s and Hector Maseda’s house, and from Neptune, a main street. Meanwhile, they arrested several people who were preparing to participate voluntarily and spontaneously in the march.

They also mobilized their hordes of people to keep the participants at bay, hordes that were maintained throughout the day on Friday the 18th and Saturday the 19th shouting pro-government slogans and yelling insults. To achieve this, they rely on the quota system. This is why every base committee of the UJC at all campuses in the capital and the suburbs had to allocate at least one militant for such an bothersome mission. Since Friday, for example, 18 young CUJAE (Technical University) militants had to guarantee the ones who would concentrate the next morning at Parque Trillo, Centro Habana, to go to “repudiate” outside the home of Laura and Hector. The operation, of course, was a “success.”

According to reliable sources, this has led to the establishment of a sort of lottery, through which militants that are called raffle off “the package.” There are discussions among those who already participated “the last time” and who wield in their defense the phrase “I already did it.” A total aberration of what once was a true and enthusiastic support for the revolution and its leaders.

Having learned about such unorthodox procedures to force young people into shameful practices, I feel even more contempt for the system that turns people into beasts and more compassion for the unaware youths that lend themselves to such a degrading service. Poor rookies, who condemn themselves to have to hide, tomorrow, such a mean and cowardly attitude!

March 21, 2011

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War Signals

Last Tuesday, March 15th, I went to the Hotel Parque Central, in the heart of Havana. It was my intention, as in previous occasions, and until just a few days ago, to use the Internet, after getting a prepaid card at the rate of a mere 8CUC an hour for a moderately fast connection.

About this point, I’m sure that the more distrustful readers might think “Hey, this blogger is so snobbish! Why doesn’t she go to some other nearby hotels, like the Inglaterra or the Plaza, offering a somewhat cheaper, though extremely slow service?” The reasons are several, but the simplest are self-explanatory: The El Inglaterra hasn’t offered Internet service for months, and the clerk can’t give an explanation; The Plaza does not allow uploading from flash memory, which forces the user to compose while online, which makes it expensive. In both hotels there is an absolute lack of privacy, since the internet service is located only a few centimeters from each other, in spaces extremely small. Finally, neither one of these hotels allows the option to connect via Wi-Fi, which requires the use of their own equipment and keyboards, in a sad technical state, not counting other possible maladies that I prefer not to mention.

Anyway, back to the subject, I went to the protocol desk at the flashy Parque Central, where they usually sold cards, and asked for my ticket for a mere hour of information, to which the young man who “was seeing to providing service”, with his Little Red Riding Hood kind of candor, asked me tenderly if I was a guest (you really have to have a mind as thick as a coconut tree to ask an obvious Cuban national whether she is a guest at a five-star hotel in the capital, no matter how faintly those stars may shine) I smiled, condescendingly, (a lot more than a young man speaking like a trained parrot is needed for my patience to run out) and I asked him when the hotel had stopped making the service available to the public, since I had used it a couple of weeks prior, to which the little shoot responded, unperturbed and all at once, with his little mouthful chuck full of little lies, which had probably been rehearsed a thousand times: “We have very few cards and we have to guarantee the service to our guests, this is the high season and the hotel is full. Guests have been complaining about the lack of cards.” I couldn’t contain my laughter, “Oh, sure, fine! And I still hung around the almost deserted mezzanine in order to appreciate for myself the presumptive “high demand” that was eating up all those cards: obviously the guests don’t appreciate the true value of the quality of the connections at the hotel. On the railing across from me, a security employee (of the hotel?) discretely watched me. Perhaps attributing to me the inclination for begging, he feared that I would fall into the temptation of asking some hotel guest to buy the damned card for me. As if some official restriction could lead me to such a humiliation! Finally, I went somewhere else, was able to connect, send, and download the information I was seeking.

This seemingly insignificant story is testimony to the evident official intention of boycotting the already restricted Internet access to Cubans, and the complicity in it of some recognized hotel companies. I could not swear that the ban on the sale of a card is specifically directed at me: this would be easy to check by just asking another Cuban, unknown to them, to purchase it for me. The trick — no argument here — about the shortage of cards could not be more stupid, because the issue could easily be solved by simply issuing more of them in order to provide better service. Nor should it be a coincidence that the incident took place when the government media is orchestrating a campaign of misinformation and misrepresentation against “certain elements who want to subvert the order through the free flow of information”, a formulation which carries within itself a confession of guilt. It is also part of a strategy as old as it is obsolete, forcing bloggers, independent journalists and other sectors of society to benefit from Internet services, offered free and in solidarity, by some foreign friends: a chance to demonize individuals, governments and countries and feed the old rhetoric of a small country beset by external enemies.

More of the same, but, at a time when dictatorships seem to have every reason to fear the power of technologies of information, and communications at the service of much trampled civil rights.

18 March 2011

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To Do Nothing

Pursuant to the uprisings that have taken place in countries of North Africa and the Persian Gulf, many views seem to converge in Cuba. The recurring question, “why don’t Cubans rebel?” leaps out in every conversation with journalists or foreign friends, while among many Cubans living outside the Island a cyber-rebellion seems to have become the most promising hope. Few manage to explain how the formula applied in that region would not work for Cuba, simplifying the whole phenomenon in an equation as basic as it is fictitious: dictatorial government + social networks + popular discontent = mass uprising; all of which would imply, by itself, freedom and the miraculous advent of democracy.

It would be enough to look, for the second time, at the proposal in order to identify some shortcomings. Let’s say that the squalor of our social networks throws the equation out of balance. In that case, to achieve results we would have to multiply the components by the civic will of the Cuban people. Obviously, the math does not relate to human societies.

The opportunity for freedom released in the Maghreb, on the other hand, has become, for many Cuban exiles, the source that powers the new apple of discord when the most radical positions are put in the spotlight, spurring anger and insults that prevent rationalization of the facts. Once again, the proverbial inability of the Creoles to disagree without offending one another is evident: one of the main causes of our eternal failures. Those who consider improbable the success of an immediate uprising in Cuba, organized via Facebook or Twitter, are classified as “pessimistic”, and even as “Castro agents”. Those labeled as “optimists” are the ones who believe strongly in the end of the dictatorship, delivered through the powerful magic of bytes.

What is undeniable, however, is that a significant sector of Cubans of all parties agrees on the imperative need for change in our country. The debate should be directed at this elemental consensus.

Why not in Cuba?

It is a fact that — beyond technology, the effectiveness or failure of its scope, and our desire to get rid of a dictatorship that spans over half a century — people drive the changes, so that we cannot bet on a plot while ignoring the actors. History does not respond to coincidences, nor do transitions take place outside the realities of the scenarios they roam. The events that cause radical sociopolitical transformations tend to not have the spontaneity that is sometimes attributed to them either. Revolutions are preceded by multiple factors in which social actors of change are cardinal pieces. The history, culture, traditions, the idiosyncrasies of the people are elements that play major roles in the processes of transformation, so that events cannot be moved tritely from one region to another hoping that they will have the same effect.

About the controversial announcement launched at the meager Cuban social networks for a “peaceful” uprising in the Island, played out mostly by young people who would congregate at a particular point in the capital on February 21st, much has been speculated. When this article sees the light of day, that date will have passed, and the uprising –- should it have taken place — will also be a thing of the past. The cyber-debates that have preceded the events, however, will be valid for a longer period because they have been useful in having us face the possibility, not immediate, but very logical, of a process of change in Cuba, to measure the real potential of those transformations, and to ask ourselves how and to what extent we would be able to turn them into reality.

My position on the edict in question has been skeptical, which some have labeled as “pessimistic” or having lack of drive. It is neither one nor the other. I just happen to prefer battles where there are better chances for success. If, in response to the much discussed call to the uprising, the miracle of a concentration of at least 200 individuals in Cuba (of course, not including in that number the political police and the inevitable “indignant people”) should take place, I would be the first to acknowledge my error. However, I don’t believe in immediate nor improvised acts to solve the secular evils of Cuba. The damage the nation has suffered has been so colossal that an emergency freedom would be insufficient to strengthen the civil rights. The most risky and uncertain thing on the Island today would be a revolt –- a peaceful one, ideally — which would be followed by…what? an intervention? an interim governing junta? made up of whom? negotiations with the army? Once again, we are facing an imagined situation whose course nobody seems to know. The proposals for an uprising have not come hand-in-hand with that other additional, but necessary, plan for social order to follow the uprising, once the overthrow of the regime is achieved. It does not seem serious to me.

But my lack of faith — dictated by common sense and knowledge of my daily life here — has not prevented me from continuing to meditate on the subject, so, trying to find a balance between the extreme positions, it occurs to me to ask the question in reverse. The point would not be, then, to clarify why there has not been an uprising in Cuba. For me, it is a fact that, if all the conditions for the rebellion existed, it would not be necessary to even go to the social networks: it would be sufficient for each young person or each discontented Cuban to personally convene their most trusted friends and family to share their dissatisfaction with the status quo and orchestrate, together, a demonstration banging their saucepans as a sign of protest. Why not do it? After all, human societies have staged uprisings throughout time, with or without technology. In this case, a better question could perhaps be if it would be necessary to gather the few Cubans with access to some social network for a demonstration in a country where –- it’s no big secret — the regime controls both the army and the enforcement entities, and maintains a monopoly over the media so, consequently, the event could unleash a wave of violence that would not benefit anyone.

Adapting ourselves to the Island’s reality, as many Cubans have suggested already, it would be more effective to appeal to the effectiveness of the resistance through the non-demonstration. A regular reader of the blog I manage (SinEVAsión) called to this through a phrase sui generis: in Cuba “what has to be done is to do nothing”; that is, to not do CDR guard duty, to not attend meetings, to not attend rendering of accounts, the elections, the official marches, etc. etc. What would be the cost of this passive rebellion? None, if we follow the law; minimum, compared with the signal we would be broadcasting to other Cubans, to the government, and to the world.

To this “doing-nothing” we could add an almost infinite list of uprisings of the most varied nature and nuances. Let’s take, for example, that the young people who are willing to “demonstrate” in this manner would choose not to attend official concerts set up on the university steps or on the “protestdrome” or would not to attend, during their vacation, the so-called University Labor Brigades; or, if they simply dress in black clothing on February 23rd in memory of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, a dignified Cuban who, by dying in prison as the result of a hunger strike in defense of his rights –- and ours — triggered the dignity of many, and unleashed a whole series of events that forced the government to initiate the process of freeing the political prisoners. It would be an effective way to put our usual inaction at the service of freedom and rights; making use of what, up to now, has been a hindrance. What would someone in those circumstances be charged with?

The so-called “double standard” of Cubans attending a CDR meeting or marching while secretly preparing a floating contraption with which they will cast themselves onto the uncertain and dangerous waters of the Florida Straits, or those who just pretend to approve of the system and comply with the rules of the game imposed by the regime to maintain their meager wages or some ridiculous perk, is one of the most efficient weapons the government uses to maintain subjected the people’s will. Wouldn’t it be better to be consistent with our feelings of dissatisfaction and attack the evil at its own roots?

The Internet, the social networks, the new technology as a whole are undoubtedly a powerful tool. This is an assertion so real you could say that in recent years none of the battles for human rights on the Island would have been possible without the use of these technologies. They have allowed us to project ourselves into the world, break the impunity of the government and its repressive forces, and place in the public eye many of the hitherto hidden stains of the dictatorship. However, technology alone can’t bring democracy and rights. Before it can, it’s necessary to instill in people the will power to change.

Perhaps a good call would be one that will have us break the historical curse, once and for all, to have the tendency of becoming “the last” instead of wanting to always seem like “the first” in everything. Yesterday, we were the last ones to shake off the colonial yoke and — after many ups and downs and good, but truncated intentions — we seem destined to be the last to get rid of a dictatorship that lingers until the absurd. We may also try a call to definitively banish from us the messianic spirit that overruns us, the apathy, the resentments that gnaw at us, the passions that divide us, the distrust that they have sown in us, the inability to discern a future without chiefs, the cowardice. When these calls get here, from anywhere and by any means, count me in.

(Article originally published in Issue 6 of Voices digital magazine, February 25th, 2011)

March 14, 2011

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Carlos heroically confronts a gladiolus. Photograph from the Internet

Once upon a time, there was a very brave guy. His name was Carlos Serpa, and he was so reckless that he even risked his life by infiltrating the terrible Caribbean amazons known as The Ladies in White, who had the very dangerous habit of taking long walks through Havana’s streets wielding their deadly gladioli and threatening everybody’s existence and the civic peace because of the simple and whimsical misfortune that their husbands or sons had been locked up by a kindly old ruler who only wanted the best for the slaves at his service… sorry, I meant for his people.

But Carlos (aka “Emilio” in “real life”), courageous beyond reproach, never daunted. He was not going to shrink in the presence of the Ladies’ fury, who insisted again and again on demanding freedom for their frightful relatives, magnanimously held in tactful withdrawal to prevent polluting society with their crazy ideas of that scourge of humanity called democracy. No sir. Such evil would not go unpunished while he could prevent it.

So it was that this popular hero pretended for years to be the spokesperson for the awesome Ladies who caused so much damage. He would report how the Ladies never had the courage to retreat before the just indignation of the people and how they would cowardly insist on marching every Sunday. They are so scary! Carlos also wanted to show that, in addition, they would make public pilgrimages because they received funding from a nearby, powerful, satanic empire that never ceases to envy the prosperity and happiness of Cubans.

The Ladies are so ungrateful. They have all the opportunities of this regime, with the privilege of a generous ration card that guarantees your power, with the most spanking-new health care system that any country has ever had, and with all the advantages that being a relative of a political prisoner in Cuba entails! They, who most likely refuse to offer their services to agriculture or house construction, while the leaders of this country are in charge of the complex issues of its administration and make sacrifices in their lives by traveling the world over and exerting themselves staying in luxury hotels to denounce, fully aware of the consequences, the vices of capitalism.

Those ladies, I repeat, should be ashamed to be getting help and support from abroad, from that same capitalism that our leaders insist on unmasking by pretending to be bourgeois, and having to waste in those grand purposes enormous resources that could well be utilized in other of the country’s needs. Damn the imperialist embargo!

Fortunately, Carlitos’s sensitivity has no limits, so, with the heroism that the action called for, he didn’t hesitate in propagating fallacies through enemy radio, in order to demonstrate that such a malevolent radio station and its malevolent financiers are liars. I don’t think I need to comment here on the lack of solidarity of that radio station’s journalists, who sometimes took as much as two minutes in responding to the desperate claim of Carlos Serpa (they are such criminals!) while he waited to put in a claim for the imaginary damage he received from the national Revolutionary Police and for the fake threats that the political police made. It is well-known to independent journalists, political and common prisoners in this country, and even to the terrific Yoani Sánchez that those nice boys are incapable of causing harm to anyone, not even with the petals… of a gladiolus.

Perhaps due to the lack of space, or because for that proverbial modesty that characterizes our valiant fighters at the Interior Ministry, Carlos –- who didn’t waver when he declared that the enemy empire finances the insurrection inside this Island — never told us how much money he had been paid in his capacity as spokesperson for the financed Ladies. He also did not state how we would be able to confirm the information he provides. Because it is clear that we are not going to fall into the same vices as the enemy radio, which encourages fabrications without verifying the truth of the information, and blames the errors on the reporter (as if a mere reporter were under the obligation of being responsible for what he reports). What’s next! This was probably one of Carlitos’s mental lapses. Poor baby. Either that or the haste with which the material to keep our people informed was prepared. Because, without a doubt, this material is directed at our people, and only at our people.

I don’t want to overwhelm my readers with any more details of this fantastic story. Such was Carlos’s glorious media success. Not only have the newspapers here published an interview with the long-suffering defender, now emotionally penitent after facing so many deadly dangers, but he has also appeared and reappeared on TV repeatedly, in a documentary about his covert activities in which he made great display of pretending and cold-bloodedness. That’s why many of us are left with the wish to know more.

We wanted to know, above all, what reasons our brave leaders had to “dismiss” now such a valuable employee who had climbed so high and hard on the podium of subversion, and who seemed to enjoy the full confidence of the enemy. He even had a valuable US visa, which he could have used to reach the very belly of the beast and become the sixth. He would have been infinitely more useful unmasking such powerful opponents.

I don’t know. I tend to think that our paternal government feared exposing him so much and losing him. But, at any rate, it’s a shame that they have unmasked him now, when so, so many uprisings of ungrateful agitators are being produced in the world, who also receive financing in exchange for being massacred: we must keep the bad guys in the crosshairs. I think we were better protected when our veteran agent “Emilio” lost sleep for our benefit inside the very same den of this kind of postmodern jellyfish, the Ladies in White.

1 March 2011

Let’s hope to God that, this time, it’s not like in 2003, when a small group of agents of the Ministry of the Interior, captured inside the ranks of the counterrevolution itself, was presented to the public. At that time, the political guard worked so convincingly that it even succeeded in converting a pervert into a combatant; however, with the show of heroes throughout Cuba, they could not prevent that, incomprehensibly, after incarcerating the most dangerous internal enemies, groups of dissidents proliferated within the country. This multiplying of enemies has no explanation, for almost each of the infiltrated agents that have been unmasked, ten hostile reporters have surfaced. And, apparently, the pool of mercenaries is guaranteed; Carlos Serpa himself tells us so when he assures us that “there will always be an Emilio.”

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I have taken some time to reply to the many comments to the post “Fantasies and realities of a virtual rebellion”, but I had good reason to do so. The reactions from readers, in the face of what might have seemed like a cold shower, were diverse, but expected. They did not disappoint or surprise me. The truth is that such participation shows that the topic was interesting to many … The lords of certain “leanings” that are scattered around here would love to see Cubans show such interest in debating them! Thank you sincerely for nurturing this little forum with your ideas.

There’s been everything, “as in a drug store”, like my grandmother used to say. Some comments show some misunderstandings, I’m guessing due to reading too fast. There are also those who respectfully offer opinions that don’t agree with mine, which offers the opportunity to incorporate different perspectives about matters that affect all of us, while some that do agree with irrelevance or with few possibilities to achieve a demonstration or with little prospect of achieving an Egyptian-style uprising on the Island not only provide arguments, but they also suggest other avenues for action. I won’t even bother to respond the offenses, of course.

In general, analyzing the compliments readers have honored me with, I could not help feeling like that perverse childhood friend, who, with malicious intent, not only told us that the Magi were not real, but –- in addition — took us by the hand with evil pleasure to prove it by showing us the hiding place where our parents, almost with the same enthusiasm as ours (or maybe even more enthusiastically) kept our new toys hidden until the camels’ expected arrival. We felt both a passing anger towards the illusion-breaker that, with his clean stabbing, smashed a beautiful childhood dream, we would end up being grateful for having shown us the deceit. Better yet, after the bitter pill of disappointment, we had the advantage to negotiate directly with our parents for toys each year, according to the possibilities, without going through the hassle of writing the necessary letter –- also full of deceit — to Melchior, Gaspar and Balthazar in order to demonstrate that we were worthy of their grace.

I use this parable also quite deliberately, because most of the time, when facing difficult situations we behave with the immaturity typical of a kid who doesn’t want to see reality. Behold! this time, I was the evil friend who opened the closet door and showed the hidden toys while, knowing our reality, I insisted that no protest would ever come to fruition in Cuba. Some reactions were so ardent in their fury that I was even accused of spoiling the successful achievement of the uprising with my “pessimistic” attitude, without considering that it is not about what I want or don’t want, but about the Cuban reality, such as it is. Those who think that way are overestimating my extremely limited (almost nil) influence over the opinion of a people who in their majority does not have Internet access and — as a result — does not know my blog. I truly believe that I am more useful in helping to sow the little civil seed than encouraging revolutions of doubtful outcome. In any case, civil awareness promotes men, while revolutions unleash beasts. You can bet that, hypothetically, if I had the power to influence the thoughts and actions of my countrymen, I never would have called for any exercise that could lead to violence, in the same way that I never suggested to Cubans living abroad to stop helping to maintain the regime with their family remittances or with their trips to the Island. I understand the powerful reasons of those whose parents, children or siblings are still living here, though I also know of some opportunists on this side of the strait who live without the slightest effort, waiting for the manna that comes from the sacrifice of his relatives abroad. I have spoken: there is a bit of everything.

I digress at this point to place an unavoidable marker. To my personal satisfaction, and to respond to a dart someone threw at me which I did not deserve, I maintain that I am one of those Cubans who does not receive any remittances, either from individuals or from institutions, for which I congratulate myself more every day. My income stems from my own work, though — given the circumstances in Cuba — I don’t just work for the money, but also for the satisfaction of helping to bring on change, doing what I consider useful. I accept handouts from absolutely no one; therefore, the possibility of rubbing that in my face does not exist. This does not mean, however, that I haven’t accepted cell phone account refills from some of my friends and supporters, internet cards I’ve been given and other items like flash drives, discs, etc., that have supported my work as blogger. I’ll be eternally grateful for this.

Another reason why I delayed in writing this reply, possibly unnecessary, judging by the experiences life has taught us, was to miss the date of the alleged revolt to which so loudly and for so long before we were being summoned, giving both the rebels the opportunity to prepare and the regime to prevent it. Just as we knew beforehand, on February 21st there was no protest at all. And it was clear that there couldn’t be one, not only by the limitations that I indicated in that controversial post and that numerous commentators have expressed, but because the better part of those who might have joined the protests were detained at police units, or under house arrest by the repressive forces; not to mention the deployment of the instruments of the regime throughout the area of the Avenida de las Misiones (across the street from the former Presidential Palace) — selected location for the start of the action — with the task of preventing any demonstration attempts.

Incidentally, similar measures were taken throughout the Island for days prior to February 23rd to prevent public commemoration of the first anniversary of the death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo. There have been arrests in almost all provinces. In places like Banes, for example, the town was literally taken over by the political police and troops were placed at strategic points. Reina Luisa Tamayo’s house was surrounded from all accessible points by soldiers with rifles. Government fear has been so impressive on the face of the symbolic stature of Zapata that even they, paradoxically, have helped to increase it with such excessive deployment.

But, back to the original topic, I would have preferred that the passion had not blinded the good sense of some readers. You can be in disagreement of certain criteria or positions (I enthusiastically welcome the lack of unanimity), but I insist that we must not confuse our desires with reality. I live here, how I wish for change! I don’t know if somewhere in the world what people want will occur exactly; I allow myself to doubt it. I do not pretend to pontificate on political thought, since I have no capacity for it, but to exchange criteria by offering my views. I cannot, however, share absurd generalizations as someone who holds that “all dictatorships are the same” –- the truly shocking example of Pinochet — Chile’s economic benefactor who saved the country from communist ruin, but over whom weigh thousands of deaths and disappearances; nor can I consider as a “minuscule sum” the deaths of “10, 20, 30, or maybe 100 Cubans”, especially when those who seem to consider them a kind of collateral damage is safe from risk. I really prefer to not label such an attitude: the epithet would not sound pleasant.

Finally, I have not chosen to “wait.” In my own way, I do what is possible for me to do to contribute to changes in Cuba. I’m not sitting around, waiting. I’m doing, as my fellow travelers are, and also those beyond the reefs, who support and encourage us. Personally, my wish for Cuba is a process of gradual and orderly changes, whose synergy will arise from the maturity and coherence that all social components would achieve. It would not be a 15-day process, but neither is it expected to be too long. After 52 years of totalitarianism, any hint of an aperture would accelerate the changes. More than a century of improvisations and patches have proven to be fully ineffective, and if we want to ultimately attain a strong and lasting democracy, we also need to have citizens, just like Estrada Palma stated in the early faltering and truncate Republic. I have no answers but I do have hope, which negates any presumption of pessimism about me. I also have the will and perseverance to continue, as do my measured energies and meager talents, doing my tiny job just like a polyp piercing the wall. Believe me, this is an exercise of pure faith nurtured on the most resounding optimism.

February 25, 2011

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