I Want to Write about Good Things

By Erasmo Calzadilla

Cuban university students.  Photo: Caridad
Cuban university students. Photo: Caridad

Going over the collection of my diary entries, it’s not difficult to notice that the criticisms weigh more than the praises on various national issues, especially in the political and socio-cultural environment.

As this could lead one to think that I see everything negatively, I want to take advantage of this page in my blog to clarify my political position a little.

It is no less true that I am bitter with living under an oppressive and paternalistic régime that wants to control everything and that removes from people the possibility to develop themselves as the protagonists of their own lives; that’s how I see things.

But I’m aware that in other many places – even as close as 90 miles from here – freedoms are usually illusory there too, and other things emerge to aggravate the situation.

That’s why when I attack what I consider negative in my environment I don’t do so with the vision of capitalism being the ideal.  Instead, I am thinking of a society in which there is real participation of women and men in the selection and putting into practice the way of life they desire, even when I know how far we are away from it.

Though at first sight it might seem that I find everything bad here, a more attentive observation would discover that I have never dealt with extreme poverty, undernourished children, organized crime, gangsterism, or ignoring those most in need.

And if I don’t speak about these issues, it’s not because those evils don’t exist here, but because I consider their proportion to be much smaller with respect to other regions of the planet.  I truly consider this an achievement, something that merits a tip of the hat and which stirs a song in one’s chest.

But this is an achievement for whom?

I don’t even like to use the word “Revolution,” since it’s so abstract.  I prefer to see this as an achievement of the people of Cuba, who became tired of living in misery and humiliation, and who were developing faith in themselves, and who undertook change little by little, with sweat and blood.

I would truly feel very, very sad if this same people – thanks to the infamous propaganda here – allowed someone to take the credit for what has been achieved, in this way snatching from them the confidence in themselves obtained with so much difficulty.

2 thoughts on “I Want to Write about Good Things

  • Erasmo, I think it’s a mistake to contrast Cuban “socialism” only with the “capitalist” country 90 miles to the north. Most other developed countries (including my own – Canada) include a lot of socialism when it comes to social policy (health, education, social security), and a fair bit of socialism in their economies as well. Developing countries like Chile, Brazil and Costa Rica have also made great strides in reducing inequality, promoting social solidarity, strengthening democratic governance and civil liberties, while maintaining steady economic growth.

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