Cuba’s Eternal “Revolutionaries”

The tomb of Fidel Castro

Sublime intentions go against attitudes more in keeping with reality, which has meant that the living, or even the villains, have always triumphed in Cuban politics.

By Alejandro Armengol (Cubaencuentro)

HAVANA TIMES – Cubans are revolutionaries by nature. Or at least they think so. There is still a trend among the exile community to put this term in quotation marks, when talking about Fidel Castro or the system he established in Cuba. When the term is in quotation marks, what they are really trying to add is: it’s hard to accept the revolutionary in Castro, when it’s believed we must pick apart the deceit, comment on what happened, fill in the text to save the “Revolution”, even if it is just the word.

It’s characteristic of Cubans to end something and do it all over again differently, rather than be interested in slow and systematic progress. Wipe the slate clean and start fresh. The myth of the phoenix rising from the ashes. Heroic vocation, mythological ideal.

As more stable societies aren’t built overnight with heroes, we’ve always had the problem of a half-cooked plan.

Decades of the Castro dictatorship has provided a greater excuse: throwing a pious blanket over different periods in Cuban history when it tried to reestablish the republic again and again, starting the constitutional process all over and beginning from scratch pretty much with its institutional order. It isn’t a matter of proposing a static society, but rather of emphasising the need for stability, which Cuba has always been far from reaching.

Jumping the bar of elation and wanting to put ideals into action, we Cubans limit ourselves to schemes removed from reality; we surround ourselves with the wrong standards, just because they are justified with a catchy slogan. We end up buried in our everyday limitations.

This is the time for social climbers and demagogues, who repeat the same empty discourse and take advantage of our virtues and weaknesses.

However, all this idealization and sublime interest is countered by attitudes more in keeping with reality, which are put into action and have meant that the living, or even the villians, have always triumphed in Cuban politics.

The roots of the exaggerated idea of self and the excuse a priori of our shortcomings go back to our Spanish heritage, and the late arrival of free market capitalism to Spain and Latin America.

The overappraisal of our identity has become an efficient resource on our hardest days, but is also a great restriction when it comes to discovering and analyzing our skills.

Not only positive and creative expressions take nest in our nationality, but harmful values and emotions have too, which are ready to bloom when the opportunity presents itself: we carry the devil in us.

Fidel Castro squandered millions of dollars and years of Cubans’ lives, on agricultural and industrial plans, wars, and guerrillas; projects that didn’t bear any fruit. He hasn’t been the only one though.

In all of these cases, there is petty resentment along with fanaticism; behind the love for heroes, there is meanness and preconceptions. This has helped things to go from bad to worse.

Along with political leaders, generals, and members of repressive forces, with officials and opportunists, you have the petty people who haven’t received great benefits and privileges but are able to quell their bitterness and envy.

Some of them left in exile one day, and maybe have never asked what their petty and unjustified evil did. These are the people who took part in hate rallies while they waited for a boat to arrive in Mariel Port; those who even today go to government rallies, while they feed the hope in their hearts that they find a way to escape the country.

Many have continued down this opportunistic path, protected by their knowledge of the “rules of the game”.

Heirs of a caricature-like revolutionary tradition, they are a caricature. Not in an expressive way, but as a vulgarity. Badly-drawn lines, deformed beings, futile lives.

They talk about the need to judge, condemn, or forgive everyone who has played a more or less important role over these long decades of the Castro regime, which hasn’t ended despite everything. It is just as important to analyze the human misery that has pushed us or leads us to commit any small disgrace. Human tragedies in exile and in Cuba: a story that repeats itself without us learning anything.

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