Allow us to train ourselves in self-government, Photo: Caridad
Allow us to train ourselves in self-government, Photo: Caridad

What a tremendous accomplishment it was that we Cubans – resolved to trace our own path – gathered enough courage to shake ourselves free of the tutelage of the United States.

How pleasing it was that this action never became summarized by arrogance, but rather was born along with a very human aspiration of reducing the differences between the poor and the powerful in the nation.

How wise it was to avail ourselves of the limited resources that we had for building schools instead of fancy hotels.  I feel much admiration for all that we were able to do, and much more if you compare our progress to that of the region’s.

In the first place, this was an effort by all Cubans, a sign that our culture had arrived – if not to adulthood, at least to adolescence.

But let us be just in the recognition of the roles: if it is necessary to give thanks, we must first take off our hats to those who fell or were crippled, and to their relatives, they were the ones who sacrificed the most.

Then also give thanks to the leaders of this effort, to Juan Almeida, Fidel Castro and the rest of the commanders.

If it were necessary to choose our presidents from among the city full of faces, truly I prefer those to the ones of Bush or the heads of transnational corporations.

But with the same respect I turn and suggest to our leaders – to those who have done so much for a better future, and who today shoulder the highest responsibilities – that they don’t complicate things more.  I suggest they slowly cede power to the very people who granted it them to them.

Because if people end up thinking you are indispensable, then things will wind up poorly when you are no longer with us; someone will surely know how to take advantage of the situation, making themselves pass for the rightful heir to power.

Don’t allow the revolution to become equated with your faces, or with your ideas, because tomorrow – on behalf of those faces and those ideas – they will submit us to the worst backstabbing.

Allow us to train ourselves in self-government, or else we will fall into infighting or worse – gun fire – when we are finally on our own.


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.

One thought on “Setting Boundaries

  • A good article, and a very human article. What a relief it is that you appreciate the role of Fidel and other revolutionary leaders for all that is positive about Cuban socialism. It bothers me however that you appeal to those leaders to “Allow us to train ourselves in self-government,” when it’s my understanding that you already have “self-government” in socialist Cuba–certainly a higher form of it than we have in the U.S. under monopoly capitalism.

    The problem of democracy under the state form of socialism dictated by Marx in the Manifesto is that it must result in massive bureaucracy to run the economy. This is b/c it abolishes the historically evolved institutions of private property and the trading market. The absence of these results in the imperfections that are bedeviling Cuban society. What is needed is a realization that private property and the market are compatible w/ socialism if most property is cooperatively co-owned by employees and the socialist state.

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