I’m not a mulatto, nor do I dance salsa well, smoke cigars or sell fruit. Nonetheless, it’s demanded that I too should somehow be “exotic,” that I should be a revolutionary and exotic blogger. This is the implicit demand I’ve received from some people commenting on my articles, particularly foreigners.
The problem is that the situation in Cuban attracts greater international interest to the degree it differs from the rest of the world, which is understandable. To venture to distant and incommensurably unpredictable realities is one of the most momentous experiences that one can confront. When disembarking after a dangerous transatlantic voyage or clicking on the screen of a high-end computer, many people expect to find “El Dorado.”
Here, we live through worn out and Stalinist socialisms, paternalistic authoritarianisms, puritanical prohibitions in the era of transsexuality, reversions to outdated technologies, the most inefficient of economies, the transnationalizing of demagoguery and the televising of science fiction. This means we have all this exotic capital to contribute to our being heard by everybody. Whose self-esteem wouldn’t be bolstered by it all?
However it’s not so easy to exploit this exotic capital that we Cuban bloggers possess. Since what is exotic can also be experienced by others, we have to keep up-to-date with what is not daily for them so as not to commit the worst of errors: to speak of a reality that also exists outside of Cuba. To be like other nations, experiencing the same violence, the same pessimisms and the same optimisms can trigger the most varied reactions. “Sacrilege!” – it seems I’ve heard it called.
Who would have embarked with Columbus toward uncertainty if on the other side of the world there awaited a similar empire in decay but without gold. What sense is there to get on the Internet to get updated about police violence in Cuba if in Germany the police need only an anonymous tip on a cell phone to stop you in the street?
Why interrupt a celebration in a Brazilian cybercafé to read about assaults on a Cuban city bus if attackers there leave a hundred passengers nude every day? Why so many tantrums over Cubans not having access to the Internet if in Argentina youth have turned into jerks from online porn and video games?
It’s not something easy to be revolutionary and exotic at the same time, especially when the most important thing is to express what you feel. Repeatedly denouncing daily problems will never be the “monotony of anguish” for those who experience it.