Paternalism and the Seed of Cuban Youth

Yenisel Rodriguez Perez

Cuban youth. Photo: IPS

When they call us “young” — with that paternalistic tone that doesn’t allow the flourishing of the heroic faculty that was recognized in us at the outset — nothing remains but to reverse the unflattering circumstances with a sarcastic reply.

Let’s replant the seeds sprouted in our own soil, ensuring that the price don’t impoverish the harvests to come.

We left childhood behind, with a certain degree of experience in facing this subtle paternalism. We learned that a counterattack in time prevents the shedding of blood in future battles for individual freedom.

At the same time there are those who are not disturbed by repeated overprotection, mistrust and false symbols of power.

There are always people for everything, as the saying goes. In the end we see them overwhelmed by their supporters when they seek to recuperate — for lack of any other choice — their lost freedom. Few succeed.

We will be judged according to how we administer the aid offered us by adults for our personal development. Any resistance to such assistance is questioned. That help which is offered in times of disasters, brought on by the way we live. Those who cultivate what’s planned and preconceived are good, that which huddles in the holy shadow of the masters. Condemned, they who by jumping from the nest, forget the familiar parachute.

“What am I?”

“A nice young man,” the father responds inopportunely.

And in this manner the boy’s momentary gleam of self-awareness is dissipated.

When the quashing torrent is cast out, no one can assure us reflective intimacy. We must build each day, and with pure sweat. Making us believe that we are each a sovereign person. And we do it with our fists raised if necessary.

The effort to achieve individual independence is such that the larvae of injustice also nests in our stomach. We will talk about childishness and dementia. We entrench ourselves behind the narcissistic image that are temporarily reflected back to us through mirrors.

Still, nothing justifies the conspiratorial silence before the empires of the mother’s nipple.

“I am me,” he responds defiantly, extending his arms before the urgency of the redemptive fall…deployed with Renaissance-like artfulness.

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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