Looking Back

Yenisel Rodriguez Perez

Playa Baconao. Foto: Angel Yu

As a child, I believed in the myths of the 1959 Cuban Revolution.

In my first-grade reading book were stories in which Cuban children lived in harmony with their families, where politics was the voice of the people and those in power practiced the gospel of providing service to the citizenry.

That lasted up through high school, when suddenly the mythological stories of the revolution began to ring false. It happened even though I had no idea the revolutionary substance of that state centralized ideology our teachers drilled into our little minds was on its way down. This was the ‘90s.

I came from a conventional working-class home. A family of apologists of the government by social inertia, atheists and statist by popular decree and anti-establishment by force of everyday hardships. Families like mine didn’t subject their offspring to the daily catechism of the correct servitude to the whims of the state.

Consequently, my love and hate relationship with the mythological ideology of the “Cuban Revolution” was my own inherent defect. Perhaps this is why it was easy for me to break with it when I became fed up with the cult of the epic experienced by the “leaders of the 1959 revolution.” No one criticized me at home.

With the passing of time, I learned to rid myself of all traces of the mythological pro-state indoctrination. It’s an interesting process, especially when you discover that nothing ties you to those, who somehow you confront.

The good news is that we don’t have to kick out the family dog. But it’s another story as to what we do with the savage wolves that come to devour our dreams of other worlds that are possible and better.

Language ends up differentiating us.

The folklore of peoples in resistance is not coded, with the passage of time, with the deafening howl of oppressive rulers.

We won’t have to kill our own father, not even indirectly, like in the popular “Star Wars” series. So, it will be easy to look back after the final blow, and direct our steps towards new days of freedom and oppression.


Yenisel Rodriguez

Yenisel Rodriguez Perez: I have lived in Cuba my entire life, except for several months in 2013 when I was in Miami with my father. Despite the 90 miles that separate Havana and Miami, I find profound reasons in both for political and community activism. My encounter with socio-cultural anthropology eight years ago prepared me for a commitment of love for cultural diversity.

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One thought on “Looking Back

  • You’re not the only one, Yenisel, who has awakened from the statist mythology. I radicalized in the US during the Vietnam War era, and became a socialist. The organizations I went around quickly indoctrinated me with the Marxist malarkey that the state should own everything, in the name of the workers. But reality has a way of penetrating even a thoroughly indoctrinated victim.

    My first great shock was in learning that the Soviet Union was sinking nuclear submarines that had become too radioactive to operate, in the Arctic Ocean. I could hardly believe it. Something fundamental was wrong.

    In the late 1980s I worked for two years in the county water department. I saw first hand what it is like to work under a corrupt and inept government bureaucracy, and I realized that this was what it must be like in a Marxist socialist country. I slowly realized that socialism, as defined by Marxism and practiced in Marxian ideology countries, had nothing in common with why I considered myself a socialist.

    I did not give up on socialism, or on being a socialist however, and began to reexamine everything that I had been taught to believe. After years of research and thought, I became a non-Marxist, modern cooperative socialist. I just hope the “final blow” to which you refer will be a turnaround in the thinking of the Marxist PCC, and a cooperative revision of their program, rather than something tragic.

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