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.