Since my earliest elementary school experiences, I remember my teachers teaching us love for our homeland, national culture and all those things that were said to be 100 percent Cuban.
What schoolchild didn’t feel that same pride for being from this island?
In the mornings as we lined up before entering the school, I was one of the ones who would recite out loud more than a few of the poems by our national hero, Jose Marti.
Now that I can look back at the past — with a cool head and away from all the slogans — I realize, among other things, that nationalism is one of the tools that have been used so that Cubans do not relate too closely with peoples of other cultures.
These days, thanks to the internet, even a child can follow the day-to-day life in a neighborhood in Tokyo.
People can share many of their experiences: the beauty of a place they visit, their customs, the problems on their job, or what solutions they come up with to their everyday problems – to name just a few.
With all these exchanges, many people are able to identify more closely with the foreign lifestyles with which they’ve come into contact.
It’s logical then for them to think about how to change their situations based on the experiences in a world that exists outside.
Since here we have virtually no access to internet (much less are we able to travel), we Cubans are isolated, largely unaware of what life’s like beyond our shores.
This is how nationalism and misinformation become very useful tools for dictating privileges and denying rights.
Those who proclaim themselves diehard anti-imperialists and patriots are the first ones willing to sell golf course properties to affluent foreigners for life.
Meanwhile they refuse to let campesinos accept tractors donated to them in solidarity by friends overseas and they give these farmers land for a mere 10 years.
Likewise, they support the new rules for car sales, whereby only foreigners and a select few Cubans have the option of purchasing a new car.
The fact that something went wrong with the investment in a fiber optic cable for optimal internet access shouldn’t surprise us. It was very opportune.
Therefore, for a little more time, the ultra-nationalists can keep doing and undoing as they please.