—This semester I’ve got another class with my civil defense teacher, but now he’s teaching a new subject matter that I believe even he doesn’t know what to call.
It would be better if they combined three subjects -Civil Defense, the Cuba-US Dispute, and Protection Against Weapons of Mass Extermination- into a single course with a more appropriate name.
My suggestion would be to call it “Easy Ways to Bore Students,” because boredom is in fact what my 70-year-old professor is inducing.
Unfortunately for him, he began by asking us questions that we knew the answers to concerning international news.
The response was quick: Chavez held a referendum that would allow him to remain in power much longer.
Based on that discussion, a bold strategy unfolded that would sidestep our esteemed professor’s dreary class plan.
A student asked whether Chavez wanted to do the same thing as Fidel, and many responded that this seemed to be the case.
Then the questions headed toward an even tougher issue: elections in Cuba. Comments were triggered again.
My nine classmates and I didn’t know how often a president is chosen in Cuba. To recall this we had to make a serious collective effort.
To several of them our electoral system -based on a representational structure, and not by direct vote- to many didn’t seem democratic. They asked the professor to give examples from around the world of a system similar to Cuba’s, where someone has remained in power for such a long time.
My professor’s limited patience was exhausted by a final comment: one student pointed out that a few years ago Cuban citizens were made to sign a document that ratified the socialist character of the Cuban Revolution, but that the endorsement did not specify that it would then be reflected in our constitution, making it impossible to form any other party in Cuba.
Our professor exploded, whipping out the conventional, timeworn arguments.
He asserted the matchlessness of our leaders, saying that the Cuban Revolution could not have survived without them. He insisted that there was no room for doubting, because this could be used by the enemy (the United States, of course!).
Finally, he proclaimed that there did not exist a more democratic system in the world, and that in our system all power was in the hands of the people.
These arguments no longer make me laugh; I instead take pity.
Many people around my professor’s age think the same way. The only thing they do is highlight what they did, without realizing that we understood the historic role of that generation a long time ago.
This is the classic clash between generations in Cuba. The young generation want to be able to think and speak, while the older generation is determined to prevent this – unable to give up their leadership role.