By Armando Chaguaceda
Being informed and politicized should be common in a country like Cuba, which is celebrating 50 years of its struggle to maintain its independence. However, among many friends, neighbors and family members, all worried about filling their plates daily, trying to “disconnect” from stress and to at least appear like their doing alright, they each end up feeling strange and alone.
When activism is discouraged by frustrations and sanctions, where the press portrays a country that is unreal, and where personal solutions are found through illegalities or infractions, to embrace a spontaneous economic liberalism appears as common sense for a good part of my compatriots.
One therefore wonders what the hell this is, and how they can fit into the world that surrounds them.
I was raised as a leftist (as a “revolutionary” I would call the tradition) by a family with convictions of anti-imperialism and social justice, that joined in the revolution of 1959 by its own volition, and not to be part of the false and simplistic equation of “poverty = radicalism = emancipation.”
In my years of activism (thirteen years in the Young Communist League and eight in cultural, community and informal organizations) I have tried to articulate feelings and ideology, personal horizons and a social mission.
After twelve years in the beautiful field of teaching, I have always believed in the classroom as an public space of responsible freedom, a forum for forging conscience and collective learning through a dialogue that erases hierarchies.
Participating in youth and student marches, opening my classes to testimonies from comrades from throughout Latin America, battling against bureaucrats and trying to be integral in what I feel, think, speak, write and do, have been my antidotes to reduce fear, fatigue and disappointment.
Nonetheless, I have grown to feel that, between immobility itself and strange attractions, “time passes…” like singer/songwriter Pablo Milanes says-and our options seem to be passing as well.