It’s revealing to see people’s opinions with respect to Cuba, which has numbers of foreigners (fairly large numbers, by the way) who sympathize with it for its revolutionary process or because they hold leftist political positions.
I attentively read the comments sent in about my writings from English-speaking readers. In these I’ve been finding a sort of intent to demonstrate to us how good and proper our social system is and how diabolical and unjust are some of the fundamental features of the capitalist model, especially the one in the United States.
I’ve found myself smiling with amused indulgence when going through those letters, evidently written with sincere purposes. Therefore I’m making an effort to summarize them in a few paragraphs, which could be an essay on the history of relations between the island and the colossal US Empire.
No people other than us, even from when we are children, know in better detail each and every maneuver, strategy and action taken by the US to harass the Cuban people. Its aim is to force hunger and shortages on us to weaken our support for the socialist system and consequently to overthrow the Castro government. Our system of national education, from elementary school to institutions of higher learning, prioritizes this theme.
Moreover, we are constantly shown the enemy’s cruel essence to the point of being saturated by it. On radio, television and in the written press, without counting the meetings and gatherings of unions and the CDR (neighborhood defense committees), there’s no lack of discussion about the heartless character of Yankee imperialism.
That’s why the efforts of these friends — those who gather information to teach us about our own experience — I find silly. Any Cuban, even those who are the most hostile toward the government, recognizes our accomplishments in terms of education and health care. This is unquestionable.
For any individual with a sense of the justice, objecting to the expansionary ploys of the US is something logical. But to recognize without justification the evil of the other, “the enemy”, and to praise the good of the “benefactors” of the Cuban people does not necessarily mean being blind as to which direction the scale tips in terms of the truth.
For years Cubans have been the victims of an ongoing ideological war launched from both sides as the attempts to win followers into their respective camps. The fact is that most of the damage has been suffered by bystanders in the middle of these campaigns. Those from the other side have not hesitated in surrounding us with death and agony, while those from here have not hesitated in giving people certain handouts in exchange for taking away many of our civil liberties.
On previous occasions I’ve indicated my feelings about achieving a society that takes the best from each of the two systems. This would be closer to an ideal of equality and justice. Yes, I’m aware that this is a utopia.
I don’t believe that we write out of some cathartic necessity. I think that it’s a form of sincerely demonstrating the other faces of Cuba, neither those displayed in the official press nor those in the anti-Castro media. Both exaggerate the defects of the other and do little more than market their more favorable attributes.
This is why no one has to convince us or lecture us about what we know more than enough. We are struggling towards seeing out civic rights respected. Thank you for the good will, but we don’t need more history lessons.