Yenisel Rodriguez

Photo by Caridad

Yesterday it wasn’t even 8:00 o’clock in the morning and I already felt like a coward. The same thing had happened to me the day before at the end of work, which was why this morning’s affliction had me so worried.

The problem is that when one begins searching around into politics, it opens up lots of doors that lead you to unimagined experiences, many of which demonstrate to us the real implication of wanting to be consistent with what we feel is right.

That morning, at around 7:00 a.m., I caught a bus to go home.  The driver simply began to exercise his role as hired killer for the government, and the worst thing was that he was highly skilled. I was still sleepy, but my ideals demanded consistency from me.

Frustration and the anger began to take possession of my being. I was beginning to prepare the counterattack, which would have consisted of demonstrating the double standard of the driver:

“Look at you.  You began by criticizing the State and the Government the moment you took off your uniform, but now you’re taking their side when you make judgments about people for not paying the fare…  It’s only because now you want to make sure you get paid.”  That was how I had begun framing my ideas.

But suddenly a powerful impulse overcame me and undermined my counteroffensive. I simply felt unable to initiate the confrontation; I couldn’t get over my fear of making a fool out of myself, or running the risk of losing the argument, or failing to get people to understand me.

As I was getting off the bus —after having failed to utter together a single word— the sense of being a coward was already beginning. What a way to start the day! – and I still had three more buses to catch.

However, by the time I finishing the day, the sensation of defeat was disappearing.  I began to look at what had happened to me in a different way. I asked myself: “Aren’t we all allowed to be tired on occasion?”  Instead of blaming myself for cowardice, I began looking at it like this.  It had been the absence of the desire for moral authority and for messianic leadership that could explain my silence.

One could add: “From time to time we’re entitled to critical truces, to ask the lips not to utter what the soul wants to express, understanding that doing is not born from saying, but rather it flourishes from silence.”  Reflecting on these ideas presented me with a certain degree of comfort.

Suddenly, while I was writing those words, an accident occurred.  Without my intending to, my gaze focused on a sign that I hung from the mirror that I use to look at myself every day before going outside. I read the following:

“Tranquility is impossible: silence is criminal.”

I then remained alone with the thoughts of Jose Marti, with hope that his plea for intransigence was —just for tonight— an educational strategy, and not the appeal from the perfect God of revolution and courage.


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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