Erasmo Calzadilla

Rene Gonzalez.

That’s a joke of course; the Cuban Five were never my favorites. I felt bad to see them trapped in the teeth of that macabre machinery, as well as ad nauseam over the government’s constant public relations campaign around them.

Though already not very high in my personal rankings, Rene (the one who was recently released) fell precipitously in the wake of his recent statements.

Since his release from prison six weeks ago, I was curious to see how this man whose face I have carved into my subconscious would confront his new role as a public figure. I wanted to see if in his words and gestures Rene was the type of person with his own mind or merely a puppet.

I imagined that he was in an awkward situation. I had the preconception that as a agent of Cuban State Security — because of always having to follow opaque orders that they can’t discuss or understand— he couldn’t develop independent thinking or a unique identity – essential qualities in a people’s hero.

In any case, Rene finally opened his mouth and sent a letter to Fidel and Raul Castro (see the October 18 edition of the Granma newspaper).

Towards the end of that letter he states:

“I will continue in the same combat that you recruited me for, and I will go to the end until justice is done, following orders and doing what has to be done.

So I say to you Fidel and Raul: Commanders — the two of you — give the orders!”

So far he has not proven to be a person breaking with the predictable role of a good soldier devoted to his superiors. And his superiors, I’m sure, are thrilled with this show of blind faith to them.

Rene may have been very courageous in infiltrating violent radical elements in Miami, and that is something to be valued. But to be a popular hero that is not enough, he would also have to be his own man.

Reflecting on the matter I can only remember Camilo Cienfuegos, a guy who despite his public reverence to Big Brother, people loved him as a hero. But in Camilo one could feel an independence of character and pride, which according to the “evil” tongues cost him his life.

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.

12 thoughts on “You’re No Longer My Hero, Rene

  • Rob presents an excellent example of the thinking and argumentation of the more shallow right-winger. Those who are reading these comments with inquiring minds, don’t just dismiss Rob. Note instead how he projects what are the essential traits and behaviors of the more anti-intellectual Right, on to his imaginary and selective description of the Left. The first distortion necessary to ultra conservative thought and beliefs is that when they hold doctrinaire or religious beliefs, they do so in a mostly free and respectful manner. He accuses the Left generally of anti-heretical thought, not distinguishing the many forms and quality of Left and Right political thought. He probably knows, but chooses to ignore that historically it has been religious and nationalistic philosophies and practices that gave the word heretical its essential meaning. True the Left has often fallen for the same human weaknesses of absolutism, sectarianism and dogmatism, but if you compare the two, Left and Right on a social, psychological and philosophic basis – without a bias for any particular thought system other than the most objective social science methodologies – it is clear that there are significant differences in degree in terms of both openness to new facts and improvement when comparing the Left and Right, especially these days. Rob is unlikely to try to understand what I am saying or consider the several other efforts to comment on his post. So I am mostly replying for the readers who are reading here in an open and critical mind. My point? Don’t feel bad if the Ron’s don’t get it, speak more productively to the bigger audience of others who are not seeking a rationalization for greed and fear, but want to understand more about what is going on in such complex social-political-cultural experiments as in Cuba today.

  • Rene is indeed a willing soldier in a collective struggle to defend his country against terrorists backed by a criminal and revanchist empire. That’s why his conscious subordination to the discipline of the force in which he fights represents no lack of freedom.

    Erasmo, however, with his bourgeois individualistic outlook, despises any such discipline or authority outside himself and smugly identifies his own fatuous individualism with “freedom” and his own style of self-importance with self-respect.

    Ironically, he is himself, independent of his will, a small propaganda cog in that same imperial cold war machine which is ceaselessly conspiring against his country’s security and independence. He can only imagine he is (in contrast to Rene) “his own man” by ignoring the objective historical and political conjuncture which defines him and frames his activity. He can perceive his own political activity as “free” only because he looms so large in his own eyes that the wider context is rendered invisible.

    In short, his freedom is as illusory as his pretended moral superiority. Expressions of contempt from such a one for Rene only do the man credit.

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