Let’s Put Away the Machineguns and Talk, Ubieta

Erasmo Calzadilla 

Enrique-Ubieta. Photo: vladia.blogcip.cu

Who’s Enrique Ubieta? 

I’m going describe this person who I named in the title so as to orient those who don’t know anything about him.  He’s a Cuban who’s about 50 years old, a resident of the island, an intellectual (at least he moves in those circles), the author of several books and the editor of a government publication called La Calle del Medio.

What’s the deal with him? 

Ubieta has sounded off lately with attacks (unleashed in his blog: La isla desconocida) against cyber-activists who occasionally launch critical missiles at the regime.  He is determined to “expose us,” attempting to make us out to be cyber-dissidents, anarcho-capitalists, cyber-mercenaries, friends or subordinates of the US Interests Office in Cuba, on the payroll of a foreign power, and/or collaborators with the “ideologists of subversion,” etc., etc.

He thinks, or he says he thinks, that the Cuban government is a counter force to western capitalist imperialism (the bad guys), and therefore all opposition to the island’s establishment (who he calls socialists) is in the final analysis support for imperialism.

The responses 

Ubieta has already received hammering from almost all corners of the ring (see the blog of the Observatorio Critico).  Some have traced his ideological background putting into question his claimed leftist position; others have discovered the privileges he receives as a functionary, while most insist on the flimsiness of his principal “thesis” (previously mentioned).

The reigning climate of the exchange has been one of tension.  No one up to now has tried to analyze how much truth there could be in the other person’s position (myself included), at least as far as I know.

My proposal 

In this post I wanted to break that dynamic and invite those involved in this exchange to participate in a civilized and cordial debate on the issues that concern us.

Ubieta should consider that this does not involve terrorists, fascists, or people who incite violence or desire anything bad for the people of Cuba.  All those who have been targets of his blasts aspire — the same as him, surely — to live in a more democratic, just and prosperous system where human dignity and diverse ways of looking at the world are respected.

It’s true that some are pro-capitalists, such as blogger Yoani Sanchez (from what I’ve understood).  But while the inhuman, exploitative and cruel facet of capitalism is well-known, Yoani speaks of a new type of capitalism.  It would be interesting to hear what she understands by that.  Has anyone made an effort to ask her?

Something similar happens with the “real” socialism that Ubieta defends.  This system has facilitated the rebirth of a people in ruins (at least in terms of indicators of health, education and social security).  However its totalitarian vocation, which apparently cannot be detached, constitutes a burden on economic development and individual happiness, and is an alienating agent.

Perhaps Ubieta recognizes these problems, but he prefers them as the lesser evils in the face of the social and environmental disasters that accompany capitalism, especially on the periphery.

On the other hand, the “other-worldists” (those who yearn for, work for and struggle for an alternative different from those mentioned), are at a disadvantage in that the beautiful worlds that we yearn for have still not been put into practice, at least not on a large scale or in recent social history.

Moreover, the attempt to turn them from possibilities to realities can have unexpected effects, destabilizing ones that facilitate the advance of the most powerful.

This is to say that all the variations have their pros and cons, and there is more than enough uncertainty for us to go around stubbornly rejecting each other’s ideas.  The juiciest fruits in a discussion don’t spring from annihilating the enemy with lethal shots between the eyes, but from serene, rational and cordial debate.  This is well-known by old-timers.

Right now I’m not even talking about reconciliation or consensus (not at the moment), and much less us becoming friends.  This is only an attempt to come up with something more interesting and useful from so much heat being generated.

Is what I’m requesting something too crazy?

Erasmo Calzadilla

Erasmo Calzadilla: I find it difficult to introduce myself in public. I've tried many times but it doesn’t flow. I’m more less how I appear in my posts, add some unpresentable qualities and stir; that should do for a first approach. If you want to dig a little deeper, ask me for an appointment and wait for a reply.

Erasmo Calzadilla has 408 posts and counting. See all posts by Erasmo Calzadilla

3 thoughts on “Let’s Put Away the Machineguns and Talk, Ubieta

  • John Goodrich, Yoani wants for Cubans the same rights you already enjoy, namely freedom of expression and political pluralism.

    My view of the Lamrani interview is very different than yours. I thought Yoani acquitted herself admirably in the face of some very hostile questioning. Lamrani obviously intended to blindside Yoani and cast her responses in the most negative possible light. In my opinion, he failed miserably.

  • After reading this article and not knowing about Yoani Sanchez’s support for sui generis (autochthonous) capitalism in Cuba, I went to her blog website and spent about an hour reading through as much as I could to see what she is about.

    There was one after the other of nothing but criticisms of Cuba and maybe one or two mentions of things that Cuba is doing correctly.

    It was not until I went to Salim Lamrani’s interview of Sanchez that I saw her true character.
    Lamrani is a both an astute observer and a supporter of the Cuban revolution and so his questioning reflected those positions and he went at her hammer and tongs and unlike Western “journalists” did not allow her to evade a question. This allowed him to delve into and get through her evasions of fact and get to her true character.

    In the spotlight of Lamrani’s intense and unrelenting questioning of her thinking on the Cuban Five and her understandably evasive answers on U.S monetary support for counter revolutionary activities in Cuba she showed herself to be nothing more than a willing accomplice to the 50 year old U.S. war on the revolution.

    Granted that she is quite truthful about some of the ills of the revolution but as said, when I read the Lamrani
    interview, i could plainly see where she stands and it is with the United States.

    Were Cuba the gulag she writes about, she’d be in prison and not enjoying her undue wealth and fame.

  • Great article. Would be nice if you asked Yoani and published her interview here! Not only nice, but enlightenment.

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