and the chance to walk down another path
By Osmel Ramirez Alvarez
HAVANA TIMES – Diaz-Canel’s most recent speech at the National Assembly made me reflect upon what’s going on in Cuba, but from a different angle. I am a father and it’s normal that fathers and mothers are concerned about the future and what it holds for our children, beyond the natural uneasiness we parents have.
That’s essentially why we work so hard for them, to get them ready for a better future than our own, (never worse), when they will be able to walk on their own two feet, be financially independent and develop their own skills. I see it as a combination of survival instinct that we have in our DNA and everything we have learned in the rich social life we grow up in.
What worries Cubans in general?
What is the future that lies in wait for us with Diaz-Canel’s “continuity”? Will our children be able to live off their wages, without having to “struggle” on the side like we have? Will they have to continue to emigrate in order to leave poverty behind them and become free? Will they have to carry on pretending like so many generations, posing as Communists, going to parades and being hypocrites, so they can live their lives without suffering the political police’s repression?
To tell you the truth, if it all comes down to continuity, then things will carry on as they are or be even worse. And this is how the president spoke to us about a bright future, without offering us anything mind you, at the recent Special Session of the National Assembly of People’s Power summoned to reelect him with a new title. A future that is nothing more than words and voluntarism in his eyes, nothing concrete, tangible, promising in the slightest.
Did anybody believe him when he spoke about a bright future?
Of course not, not even he did or the legislators present who are his own cadres. Let’s ask anyone out on the street: the police, a teacher, a bodega ration store manager, an industrial worker, a farmer or a doctor. They will all say the same thing, that they don’t see any possibility of things getting better in the future.
Nobody believes in this future that Canel has promised, much less in the 2030 Development Plan he inherited from Raul Castro, who also failed in his decade. How can we believe in these plans or promises if we aren’t dumb or blind? It’s a story that’s been repeated to death and we know that in the end, if it isn’t the US blockade, then it’s the unfair global order, or high oil prices, or a meteorite to blame… there will always be something to justify their constant failure.
So, what are they offering?
Honestly? NOTHING. Apart from poverty and stunted rights. There are already generations of Cubans who have been lost, who nobody speaks about or studies them. Because we haven’t even had a dignified life, nor have we created the pillars needed for our offspring to have one. A complete waste.
We are walking down the promised road of “continuity” and we will continue to be a people with many shortages and poor in material and ideological terms. And the worst thing is we have our hands tied behind our backs, unable to decide our own future, without the right to vote for real leaders, without any real sovereignty, or even the right to hold a peaceful public protest. We aren’t even socialists because we have the most veracious State capitalism devouring the nation. Socialism is just a fairytale; we have never had greater inequality than we do right now and the working class doesn’t even have the right to form unions or strike.
Is this what we want for ourselves and our children?
This is the question that every Cuban should be asking themselves. I’m sure we don’t, but we are afraid to speak the truth. Telling the truth really is very dangerous in Cuba, but let’s be honest with each other, it isn’t deadly either, nor is it as dangerous as crossing the Florida Strait on a raft or falling into the hands of human traffickers in the Central American jungle. However, many prefer to encourage their children to risk their lives and leave Cuba than to fight for a better future right here.
Why the paradox?
It seems somewhat illogical or twisted, but it has its logic. Leaving Cuba is difficult and dangerous, but they know they can do it because they know it can be done and they can be successful. However, when it comes to fighting for a better future in Cuba, people believe it’s impossible and don’t know a viable path towards it.
What can we do?
Really, this is the question and we need to be working towards this. Because it’s clear that neither Diaz-Canel, nor any other cadre molded by the PCC at the Nico Lopez Communist Party School can offer us and Cuba a better future, because they only have the same dogmas that have us paralyzed and moving backwards over six long decades.
However, if we Cubans aren’t able to overcome this passive behavior they’ve instilled in us, on the one hand, and on the other, we don’t have a political proposal or alternative that we can touch and assess, then we will carry on as we are, without a future.
It’s not enough to say down with this and down with that ruler; it isn’t enough to denounce this or that; and believing that someone else can do the hard work of bringing democracy to Cuba is even worse. We have to come together as responsible and coherent citizens in order to come up with an “Action Plan for Democracy” that the people approve of, that can be followed by the majority of Cubans in Cuba and abroad, so they can overcome their fear. This is what has been missing up until the present day.