“Another one’s gone nuts” was how an e-mail began that was sent to a friend of mine a few days ago. With such an inflammatory heading, those of us who received the forwarded letter read in it anticipation, anxious to find out who this crazy person was.
The letter -now circulating over the Internet- was written by Cuban actor Luis Alberto Garcia, who we’ve had the pleasure to see in a number of Cuban movies such as “La Vida Es Silbar.”
The first thing that came to mind was that Garcia is the second Cuban actor who has had the guts to criticize some of the thorny realities of Cuban life and to circulate their views. The first such letter was by Armando Tomey, an actor who has performed in many movies and soap operas on national television; he wrote complaining about poor working conditions.
After Garcia’s brief introduction, we got to the root of his criticism of who had “gone nuts.”
His letter was in response to an article published in Granma newspaper on October 9 titled “He’s Paternalistic, You’re Paternalistic, I’m Paternalistic…” by that paper’s editor, Lazaro Barredo Medina.
That journalist had the gall to blame the Cuban people themselves for suffering from the following illnesses:
– The “pichon” (nestling) syndrome: since we wait for everything to be dropped in our mouths by the State.
– The volleyball syndrome: because we bounce our problems off onto others.
– The ostrich syndrome: because we supposedly ignore our own failings.
Garcia countered that it is precisely the State that has created all of the paternalistic attitudes that people suffer. He accused the government of trying to instill in people a groundless feeling of guilt, and he raised an important question: Where does the little or much that the State distributes come from except from the almost selfless efforts of the workers?
After reading his letter, that question has returned to my mind repeatedly, because there’s indeed a well-rooted belief among many Cubans that the resources the State distributes come from some source other than their own labor. Though this thinking is illogical, this is what many people believe.
But there is something that’s completely true: a State apparatus by itself is unable to feed people simply because the food or the resources to buy it is produced by the workers.
These reflections were contributed by Garcia’s article, and we hope that in future pages of Granma (the official newspaper of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party) there will not appear another article that dumps the blame on the workers – an idea completely renounced by any socialist around the world.
My friend who forwarded the letter chose to title it “Me quedo tieso!” a phrase in popular Cuban slang that can be translated as “I can’t believe what I’m reading.”
Note: In an article published by IPS, actor Luis Alberto Garcia denied having written the e-mail that has been circulating inside and outside Cuba. Actor Denies Having Written Letter