I am from Cuba. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be Jamaican, Dutch, or South African. Why? Right now, while you read my thoughts, more than half of you have already begun to judge me.
Why? Because for too many people, being Cuban is a moral, or even more so, a political matter.
And I can assure you that for me this is more exhausting than waiting three hours in the sun to pay the telephone bill or whatever other bureaucratic paperwork is constantly stifling us.
If someone in Jamaica or the Netherlands creates a blog, it is very likely that few will read it, or if so, nobody will pay any attention to the European complaining about the slowness of the metro at noon or to the Jamaican rambling about his desire to see snow.
If I, a Cuban woman, create a blog and write a note about the grey water that runs in front of my house before kindly depositing itself right in front of the daycare center that is also across from my house; two things would happen: 1) I would receive numerous comments calling the government of my country murderers. 2) I would receive numerous comments calling me either a:
c) pessimist who only sees (or smells) the negative around me
d) person with no right to criticize because-judging by my age-I have done nothing to improve my country;
e) persona bewitched by the evil, capricious and filthy capitalist system, etc.
I could even be accused of being a provocateur or a double agent of Cuban State Security.
Underestimating our Intellect
What can be deduced then is: We Cubans have no right to express ourselves (unless we are willing to listen to this disrespectful litany of nonsense).
In a few words, our intellect is underestimated because expressing our concern about problems that weigh on us is equated with preferring the “siren song” of the “other government” (the evil Yankees).
This is like reducing our intellectual capacity to blindly criticizing what we have, as if there were no life experiences, learning, talent etc. behind our words.
The ingenious Karl Marx once said that each person thinks according to his lifestyle, which determines their limits.
For me, a Cuban woman, with many earned rights and many left to gain- the nature of progress is the evolution of the human species, to fight daily for a better future, to feel a bit better, more human.
From this liberated position it would be very easy to post on a Pakistani, Afghan or Algerian, etc. website to criticize the passivity of the women in those countries where they are barely considered human beings (or to speak harshly about the men who subjugate them).
Who am I? Where do I live? What do I really know about the lives of these people so far away?
Being the humanist that I am, it pains me when bad things happen to women, men, and children anywhere. But I think that when it comes to giving one’s opinion, one has to be careful not to end up saying the opposite of what was intended.
An old saying goes: He/she who talks a lot, errs a lot. It is also said that one should not criticize others without first cleaning their own back yard.
I would like to say just once: I am Cuban, don’t bombard me with political questions, and don’t judge me based on just my nationality. Readers from certain developed countries, please don’t look at me like easy pickings for prostitution, phony marriages, like a semi-fundamentalist ready to hook up with anyone who says something against our leaders, like a would-be martyr willing to give my life for an ideal, like a dissident who is barely able to read and who can be bought for $100, or like an immature child.
I am simply one human being with dreams and illusions just like anyone else, with joys and sorrows, living in an environment that is sometimes favorable and sometimes not so, just like any other citizen of the world.
Being Cuban should not interfere with our ability to relate to the rest of the world. It has always seemed preferable to me -and healthier- to share our experiences instead of judge one another.