Sovereignty is the right of a people, with this residing in their supreme authority over the control and public power of a nation; this in turn is exercised through their constitutionally bounded institutions of representation.
Terminologies like these are rarely used by Cubans. The level of politicization of our lives has led to our backs being turned to all questions that relate to us in this respect. Basically, we live immersed in our day-to-day complaints due to our meager wages, our shortages of food and our lack of freedom of expression.
The issues discussed on the primetime yet unpopular television program La Mesa Redonda (the Roundtable), have created an anti-audience. We’ve become fairly indifferent to most major conflicts, be they those of Chilean youth demanding their right to a non-privatized education, strikes by service workers in Belgium, the so-called indignant demonstrators in Spain and Italy, NATO’s aggressive attacks on Libya or the discussions at the UN around the recognition of Palestine as a sovereign state.
However, that last situation has made me reflect a little. We believe that our problems are the biggest and most important. It’s to the point of ignoring everything that’s happening in the rest of the world. It’s to where we think something like: “We’re so screwed in our own situation, what reason do we have to lend an ear to other people’s conflicts…”
But this time I realized that there’s no reason for us to be so cold. Cubans have left and resettled in almost every part of the world in the attempt to better their lives. Perhaps right now in the lines of workers on strike in Brussels there are Cubans present. It’s very likely that in the marches in Santiago de Chile or in the Spanish plazas there are also the children of Cubans who live there, just as it’s possible that some compatriot has been shot dead in the streets of Tripoli.
My ancestral feelings move me when I read or hear about Palestine. On my father’s side I’m a descendent of a family that came from that distant land. My great-grandparents brought their tiny children here, and they in turn started their families on this island.
That bloodline that ties me to that nation — when I see them fervently demanding their rights to be recognized as an independent and sovereign state — has moved the fibers of my being. It is a “call of blood,” as older people here would say.
So, saddened with myself, I understood that nothing human should be alien to me, paraphrasing Terence, and I remembered Marti’s words of “homeland is humanity.” That’s why here, with these modest lines, I offer my vote to Palestine.