By Pedro Pablo Morejon

HAVANA TIMES – My friend Manolito isn’t your ordinary young man. His humanity is way above the average. We shared our lives for a while, which is why I know his life story down to a T.

He used to live in Havana, and his dad was a chronic alcoholic.  He spent much of his childhood with an aunt here in Pinar del Rio for this reason. It turns out that when his father would get drunk (which was most of the time), he would beat Manolito’s mother. He would also accuse her of sleeping with all the men he could think of, baseless accusations.

The child was so psychologically scarred than an expert suggested that he go to live with the aunt. It’s fair to say that Manolito’s father was a very kind and generous person, in his moments of sobriety, especially with his son.

He was shabby looking on the whole. Always dirty, gaunt, his body abused by this addiction. He looked like human waste, and he became chronically ill. He ended up paralytic and Manolito, who was now a man, took care of him right up until his dying breath.

He wasn’t the kind of father a son could be proud of; however, he loved him with every fiber of his being.

In spite of everything, he was still his father.

This story makes me contemplate a little, especially when I remember the article that was published on this website a couple of weeks ago, about being proud to be Cuban.

I’ve mulled over this matter for much of my life and, trying to be reasonable, I haven’t found a convincing enough reason for me to feel proud that I was born in this country.

We don’t only have beautiful women here in Cuba, there are also beautiful women in Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil and word has it that Eastern European women are stunning.

Every Caribbean island has idyllic beaches and landscapes.

Any natural virtue we have here is shared with other countries.

Maybe a Norwegian, French, or US citizen can feel proud. These are countries that have made great contributions to civilization… but we haven’t.

How can I be proud to be Cuban when I belong to a people who let their rights get snatched away over 60 years ago. A people who always lower their heads and answer any call made by their oppressors?

How can I be proud to be part of a country stuck in time? One of the most backward and poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere?

A country with one of the highest emigration rates in the world?

I can’t be proud of belonging to a country that is head-deep in double standards, opportunists, informers and cowards.

A country without freedom, unity and prosperity.

A country without a future.

But I was born here… I am Cuban. While I don’t have any reason to be proud of it, I still love it. Like my friend loved his father.

Read more from the diary of Pedro Pablo Morejon.

Pedro Morejón

I am a man who fights for his goals, who assumes the consequences of his actions, who does not stop at obstacles. I could say that adversity has always been an inseparable companion, I have never had anything easy, but in some sense, it has benefited my character. I value what is in disuse, such as honesty, justice, honor. For a long time, I was tied to ideas and false paradigms that suffocated me, but little by little I managed to free myself and grow by myself. Today I am the one who dictates my morale, and I defend my freedom against wind and tide. I also build that freedom by writing, because being a writer defines me.

7 thoughts on “Not So Proud to Be a Cuban

  • Dan, wherever you’re are from, give an artist a break and let him share his feelings. Of course Pedro has some aspects of whatever you want to call it—pride, even if overall he is saying it hurts him to look at his country’s 60+ year performance record. If you can’t tell that about him, you haven’t read enough of his writing. You’re missing the point. Just as he said—that his friend still loved his abusive father regardless. Oh and yes Cuba has had plenty of history with death squads. Are you saying that if a country gives up on overt death squads, they’ve matured and are now unreproachable, in relation to countries that still may be worse? That’s like those in the US who say if you don’t support everything the US does, maybe you should leave. No…you just speak your mind in a free country and you get to stay while doing so. That’s one of the many things that’s hard for people to do in Cuba, still, today—speak their minds. So let Pedro try to do that without shaming him. Peace from another Dan!

  • Did Cuba ever have death squads, like Colombia and Honduras STILL do ? Does Cuba have drug companies like Perdue that spawned an opioid crisis for profit, with thousands of deaths ? Does Cuban do a measurably better job than the rich United States in handling the Covid crisis ? Does Cuba have one of the highest incarceration rates in the world, and contract out its prisoners for labor ? Does Cuban impose sanctions on other countries with which it doesn’t agree ? If you are not proud, maybe you should consider being ashamed.

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