By Pedro Pablo Morejon
HAVANA TIMES – I watched one of those viral Cuba videos recently. An old man was complaining about his rough situation. According to the man, he fought in Angola, was the president of a Committee of the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) for many years, a regional representative for the National Assembly of People’s Power. He also mentions other positions and merits to prove his extensive CV serving the “Revolution”, which in his own words, has only given him a few medals and a qualification or recognition here and there for his extraordinary service. He does complain, but he doesn’t question the Government or call himself a member of the opposition.
On my way to work today, I saw a man wearing ragged clothes and a sad face. I’m not good at remembering names and faces but this one was familiar. I was on Cavada Street a while ago, a very busy street in Pinar del Rio, surrounded by trees that give it a certain beauty and shade for passers-by. That day, they were pruning them for I don’t know what reason.
This man was complaining. It was true, it did look like another street, lacking color. I silently agreed with him. We were at a bus stop there, there were approximately 20 people waiting.
I didn’t like his final words though, it was quite naive and I don’t know if he was referring to the people who decided to prune the trees, or the workers with a chainsaw in hand who were finishing off the last trees:
“If Camacho finds out, he’ll send you all to be executed by firing squad.”
For those of you who don’t know, he was talking about Julio Camacho Aguilera, a commander of the Revolution, one of those historic “mayimbes” that ruled Cuba after 1959, under Fidel and Raul Castro’s leadership. He was the Communist Party secretary in Pinar del Rio and has been living in Cape San Antonio, in the far-west, for a long time. He has his domain there and is the director of the Guanahacabibes Comprehensive Development Company. When Camacho makes his mind up about something, nobody can go against him in this province.
The man who said these words was an elderly man, he must be around 70 years old. I’ve been running into him from that day on and I remember his attitude.
Another person, an old woman from my town, recently said that our hardship was because of the cruel Yankee blockade, that they won’t leave us alone and that’s why we can’t make any progress.
Trying to reason with her wouldn’t do any good… telling her that we import a good amount of food and medicine from the US, that there aren’t any ambulances for the sick, but there are plenty of police patrol cars to repress citizens, that there isn’t any money to invest in the National Electric Grid, but there is money to build luxury hotels and that none of this is the embargo’s fault.
Nope, she would cling onto her own lie, and I’d have to tell her off for her lack of decency and loyalty to her father who was an honorable man who had his small store seized in the 1960s, and that’s the reason he never wanted to know anything about Communism.
These three cases are living examples of the double role this generation play as victim and abuser. The ones who embraced revolutionary ideals from the very beginning. They don’t understand anything about democracy, human rights, or freedom, only authoritarianism and blind obedience for their leader.
These are the people who in the best of cases, took part in or defended hate rallies against dissidents or those who decided to leave the country for freedom.
The people who betrayed their parents for political reasons and became enemies with family members because they followed a tyrant’s ideas.
I’m saying in the best of cases, because other people did a lot worse such as snitching, repressing, torturing, killing… in short, hurting their fellow Cubans so much to defend the kind of Cuba we have and endure today.
The same people who, in their own set of laws, suffer the contradictions of propaganda that they’ve believed in against a reality they can’t deny.
Yep, I know there are SOBs of all ages – the black berets, cybertrolls, pseudojournalists, etc -, but most of the responsibility for our national tragedy lies with this generation.
They know the truth, but they don’t want to admit it. It’s a lot less traumatic for them to puff up their chests, repent for their sins and die in peace.