To Our Parents

Havana photo by Juan Suarez

By Armando Chaguaceda

HAVANA TIMES – For the books you read to us, lying on the pillow. For accompanying our first steps and words. For everything lived, these lines go out to you.

We are adults and assume our own destinies. But you support what twisted ours. What took us away from you. What you – according to some sad words, whispered at the edge of the sea – helped to build and then expelled us from that country. If you decide to forgive them for so much distance and absence, it is your right. We cannot forgive them, nor do we want to.

Consequence is not blindness. Nobody asks you to deny, in a public square, what you once believed or lived. That which for a long time now has had another face, false and vile. Please don’t continue to perpetuate lies and violence. Don’t wave slogans and clubs to crush ideas and people. Including those of your children, those of your children’s friends, those of other parents’ children.

Don’t invoke the inevitable. There are many from your generation who today open their eyes. Although there are still not so many who open their mouths. Do at least that: have the courage to remain silent.

Don’t talk about sovereignty. The country is supported by its emigrants. Families eat thanks to relatives who left. Food that comes, remember, from the hated neighbor. And you know it.

Do not invoke equality. Rich kids (and those kids’ parents) don’t live like you. And you know it.

Don’t mention dignity. There is none if there is fear of writing certain things to us, if you lie inside the home, if every day you live on the edge of what they call illegality. And you know it.

The only real sovereignty, equality, and dignity are those that are lived in freedom. When a regime doesn’t force you to choose between it and your family. When your beliefs are not imposed by crushing those of others. When History is not a pretext to freeze the present and kill the future.

Love is not indulgence. It is understanding. We understand your circumstances. We disapprove of your choices. Because they sustain an apparatus of fear and misery. Fear and misery that you yourselves submit to.

We are not of the same thinking. You defend a tyranny while we push for freedom.

A tyranny that denies our existence. That mortgages our prosperity and freedom. That humiliates, imprisons, tortures, exiles. That robs us of the possibility of growing old together.

But one thing is clear: they will not be able to separate us. You will not lack the medicine to alleviate your ailments. The food to finish another day. The word, small and necessary, to mitigate our sadness.

In that tomorrow, even those who denied us the present will have their place. There will be justice, but not revenge. Then you will see how useless it was all. How absurd your stubbornness was, clinging to a rotten shell.

And until that morning comes, despite everything we have experienced and what we still must live with, we will continue to love you.

Read more from Armando Chaguaceda here on Havana Times.

Armando Chaguaceda

Armando Chaguaceda: My curriculum vitae presents me as a historian and political scientist. I'm from an unclassifiable generation who collected the achievements, frustrations and promises of the Cuban Revolution and now resists on the island or contributes through numerous websites, trying to remain human without dying in the attempt.

6 thoughts on “To Our Parents

  • Mr MacD,
    I know Cubans who would agree with Elio’s one sidedness.
    I know plenty of Cubans who would agree with Armando, the author of this splendid article. I also know Cubans who would be coming down somewhere in the middle. Cubans who favour neither of these two orthodoxies.
    I don’t buy into the good vs evil, with us or against us fayre of either the Cuban Government or much of the opposition.
    There have been several articles published in HT which point out that there is a certain similarity to each of the opposing, one sided and stubborn orthodoxies. ‘Dead People Talking, Living People Babbling’ is the latest example.
    My own viewpoint (which has pretty much zero bearing on what ensues in Cuba) would largely be reflected by these kinda articles.
    By the way Mr MacD, I really don’t know how you can interpret any of my comments in such a way that you think I am calling you, personally, a fascist. I have absolutely not written that and would never even consider writing that as I am pretty much 100% certain that you ain’t one.

  • What I actually mean Nick is what I wrote in explaining the one-sided arguments being on the one hand the truth as experienced by Cubans or on the other, the dictate of the PCC. The articles in HT written by Cubans are in stark contrast with those which Elio wrote, virtually all being one sided. However one does recognize the endeavors by Curt, Dan, dani and yourself to try to present views counter to those of most of the Cuban authors who generally reflect reality.

  • Mr MacD,
    When you take up my point about one sidedness, I think perhaps what you actually mean is that there are those who agree with your point of view and those who don’t.
    You appear to discount any other viewpoint.
    I miss Elio (RIP) and his articles.
    His one sided views were a refreshing counterbalance to the opposing one sided view which you support.
    However, there are plenty of articles and comments published in HT that are not one sided and which do not conform to either of the orthodoxies you refer to.

  • All articles regarding Cuba tend to be “one sided”. They either represent the truth as experienced by Cubans, or the dictate of the Communist Party of Cuba. With the death of Elio Legon, HT lost the voice of the Party’s Propaganda Department, he is missed by we readers, because such accuracy is no longer presented.

  • Entirely one sided for sure, but this is a very clever and very elegant piece.

  • An emotional and touching reflection, well done.

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