Janis Hernandez

HAVANA TIMES — Though I’ve been busy with the defense of my Masters’ thesis, I’ve had some time to read some of the comments on the posts written by my colleague, compatriot and friend Dariela Aquique.

I want to point out at the outset that I have no intention of becoming her defense attorney. I do, however, feel the need to set the record straight, in light of the many hateful remarks addressed to her, as I am certain she had no intention of hurting anyone’s feelings with her arguments.

Dariela’s posts have never come in defense of Cuba’s political system, and she has never written anything that shows her ideology agrees with Castro-styled communism. That said, it is also worthwhile to point out she has never adopted any extreme positions, something I respect.

I believe that, following her trip to the United States (her first trip abroad, incidentally), my colleague has merely been interested in sharing her impressions, not to discredit any one position. Calling things by their name, however, can lead to strong disagreements among people.

Because I know her personally, I don’t believe it was her intention to attack the Cuban-American community. She has merely shared her experiences, described the people she met, spoke with and spent time with. She has not discredited the United States, its people or its politics for that matter.

Why, then, are people inclined to call her a communist agent, a Fidelista parrot and so many other undeserved insults?

Dariela has always complained that, whenever one points out something negative in Cuba, whenever one criticizes a certain aspect of the country’s economy, politics or society, some intransigent and single-minded person always begins to offend one, having a comparison with the United States as their only argument. The “here vs. there” has been the official syllogism of the Cuban government and its adherents for more than fifty years.

She travelled to the promised land anxious to find something different. Perhaps her expectations were too high and she ended up discovering that, there, one also runs into single-minded and offensive people who rely on the same syllogism as those here do, but flipped around. It seems as though her unforgivable sin has been not to revere the sacrosanct Miami.

Some time ago, I read one of her articles, where she described the vicissitudes of a bus trip from Havana to Santiago de Cuba. If memory serves me right, the trip was delayed five hours because the bus broke down 10 kilometers from the capital, and no passenger was compensated. She published photos. At the time, she received comments saying things like: “those kinds of things only happen in Cuba.”

I imagine there were those at this end who thought the article had been commissioned by the CIA, in order to discredit the island’s public transportation system. Please!

So, why demonize her when she tells of the long delay of her Miami-Santiago de Cuba flight? Could it be she was commissioned by Cuban State Security to write that? Could our colleague be a double agent? Again, please!

An opinion piece need not be the liking of readers. Nor should it prompt such slander and prejudices. I write this because I consider it my duty. I now await the stones.


Janis Hernández

Janis Hernandez: I don’t seek to change the world, much less give recipes on how it should or shouldn’t be. I don’t have the gift of oratory or that of the letters. I’m not an analyst or a philosopher. I am just an observer of the things that happen around me and I feel obligated to speak about my country without a muzzle, just write and that’s what I do in my diary.

4 thoughts on “Opinion Pieces and Harsh Comments

  • Yes you are right, most of us are interested in writing based on observations and reflections upon the reality of daily life for Cubans in Cuba. There are those who base their comments upon books or academic dissertations and whose hearts are not concerned with the dreary lives imposed by the political system that is “Socialismo” but whose heads are filled with theory.
    Their hearts do not bleed for the oppressed.

  • It is lamentable that many comments from the peanut gallery are so angry and one dimensional. Still, neither Dariela’s observations, nor yours, seem to cater to these folks, and I hope that they don’t affect you in a negative way. Just keep on “calling them as you see–or feel–them.” Most of us are more interested in writing from the heart (head, too), and based on obsrvations and reflections, not rigid, pre-ordained views.

  • Excellent comment Janis

  • Here is the gospel. No country is all bad. Not even Cuba. No country is all good. Especially not the US. The difference between government inefficiency in the US and government inefficiency in Cuba comes down to this: inherent in the system in the US is the mechanism for change and improvement. This mechanism may not always work and may even be corrupt and biased at times, but it exists and is available for everyone to exercise, regardless of skin color, political affiliation, religion, sexual preference, etc. In Cuba, when things go bad, as they seem to do more and more often, there is NO Congressman to write, no ombudsman at the local TV news station. There is no inherent or overt means to challenge government to provoke change and improvement. No one and no place is perfect. For the last 55 years, however, the ability of regular Cubans to try and be perfect has been replaced by a dictatorial and tyrannical Castro regime whose goal is not perfection but rather constancy.

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