HAVANA TIMES – Every time I see a group of people concerned about Cuba’s future, I feel a breath of hope. Every time that debate reaches the point of “are you a leftist…or just the opposite?” the conversation becomes tainted, and my hopes for Cuba trickle down the drain of exalted egos.
Reading “The exodus from Cuba as a response to the ‘reform process’”, a post by my colleague Pedro Campos, I note his reference to a past, a sacrifice and an ideology, all of which from his point of view establishes his hierarchical right to have his demand heard.
First, as if the Cuban government has ever listened to any citizen demand. Second, as if the demand were doubly legitimate since it was not launched “from within the ranks of those who have historically opposed socialist ideas,” but by a generation that today is “60 or 70 years old” and shares the same miseries as everyday Cubans, although they “did not hesitate to step forward during the Bay of Pigs invasion, the struggle against counterrevolutionaries in the Escambray Mountains, the literacy campaign and popular militias…”
This distinction makes me sad, because it deepens the fragmentation that we Cubans have suffered for decades. This fragmentation has kept us not only from articulating a solid proposal for change, but also from even defining what we want to change although basically we all see the same things: the economic uncertainty of millions of citizens; a country in shambles; a society that offers ever worsening displays of incivility; an aging and apathetic population; a youth that is growing up rootless, that feels no responsibility for their country and that places its bets on exile.
I can’t believe that after half a century of ideological pressure, of divisions and confrontations that have only harmed us (“from the bottom of the pyramid, among the dispossessed”), that at this late hour ideological definitions continue to keep us from reaching agreement about how to react in the face of that which batters us (even squashes us), events that don’t belong in a swamp of subjectivity.
Years ago I read a wise saying: “To have faith in your own path, you don’t need to demonstrate that someone else’s path is wrong.”
In the end, we’re all victims: those who unconditionally gave “thousands of hours of voluntary work in the sugarcane, coffee and tobacco plantations,”; those of us who were born with the revolution and believed in the communist paradise where there would be no social differences and where money would not exist and each of us would take from the store only what we needed; those who emigrated legally or illegally leaving behind everything that they loved.
I believe that when a demand is made in the name of those affected by a revolution that has demonstrated its failure in every sense, we all have the right, because we are speaking of a reality that is directly in our face, of a time that cannot be recuperated, of wasted lives. Likewise, because we are speaking of the country where all of us were born.
What hinders us – all of us with a stake in Cuba – from coming to an agreement regarding what we can do to try to change even some part of everything that “has to be changed.”? Not even the misinformation, fear, or the hackneyed strategy of political stigmatization could keep those who are not indifferent about Cuba from managing to develop networks where civil grievances are combined with support for those most in need.
More than ideological differences or priorities allocated according to sacrifice, we could simplify the matter to a minimum and state that we are facing problems and need solutions. No one who really aspires to the betterment of their society will put any “ism”s ahead of consensus and collective action, unless they have intentions of dominating. If the priority is the common good, the will to reach understanding and unity has to be the first premise.
Great catastrophes demonstrate how in tragic situations, differences in thinking are outweighed by the urgency of actions.