By Amrit 

Boca de Miel, Summer afternoon. Photo: Mitchell Livingstone

HAVANA TIMES, Sept 6 — Yet another summer has gone by, making an invisible mark on that deceptive circle that perpetually weaves the seasons together.  Another summer has gone by, leaving its vestiges of littered beaches, empty pockets, tired bodies and uncertainty in people’s eyes.

Abandoned on the beach, I remember a little dog to whom I couldn’t give anything more than a few caresses and some water.  I recall the jam-packed buses, the suffocating heat and people’s faces – so serious, so lonely.

I recall the cool rain that once again produced in me that full, infantile happiness as I appreciated the grateful greenery of the trees and grass, despite the blowing debris spread across the grounds and yards…

Building the Cuba  we want

But I also remember, more than anything else, one afternoon I felt that — despite such a long and rabid division to which I’ve been witness time and time again — we Cubans could come to some agreement.

It happened one afternoon when sharing with a group of friends.  Then, like in kind of a spontaneous game, we tried to construct the Cuba where we’d like to live.

As we were “adults” with plenty of references (with concepts that were more than defined, indeed ossified), at once there appeared mistrust, apprehension and differences before that eternal dichotomy of socialism-capitalism.

But it occurred to someone to put aside those terms and to only list those things that either interested us or that we didn’t want in our Cuba of the future.

The change was almost instantaneous, like we’d been in a stuffy closed room and a window was opened allowing in a sudden blast of fresh air.

I personally started discovering the prejudices that I had against some of those people present, a resistance that slowly dissolved.

Like children looking toward the future with no other weapons than good will and their own experience, including errors (though obviously not imposed), we were discovering that what unites us is so much more than what separates us!

Traveling towards consensus 

The impact of direct experience is indispensable; no reasoning can take its place.  That day I came to understand that the interpretations that each one of us makes of reality, regardless of how different we may be, these do not separate us in essence.  And I’m referring not only to our essence as conscious beings (soul, logos, thought), but even as social beings.

How could it be otherwise?  A few days ago I saw a documentary on a monastery in Thailand where the monks traditionally train and protect tigers.  Stimulated by the compassionate feelings that the monks radiate, in an atmosphere of peace and kindness, those otherwise ferocious animals not only transform their reactions toward people but even among themselves.

Seeing these enormous and beautiful animals coexisting peacefully with humans made me remember descriptions in a few sacred books (like the Adi Granth, the early compilation of Sikh scriptures) where they say that in a past unrecorded by human memory or scientific scrutiny “the lion and the lamb drank together from the same stream.”

The long experience of humanity’s pain amply refutes this dream, despite it being the underlying basis of individual and collective searches.  It is the very hope upon which ideologies and systems are built.

When I read a journalist’s comments about Pablo Milanes’s recent concert in Miami: “We had the sensation of looking out toward that future in which we Cubans will be able to enjoy the icons of our culture as something absolutely normal, something in the margin of political differences and the geography of where we live.  It was an hour and 35 minutes of communication between the two shores, as if they were one,” I remembered a word that hasn’t been taken seriously enough but is common in new age thought: “synergy.”

This word, which comes from Greek, means: 1. The coordinated action of two or more forces whose effect is superior to the sum of the individual actions.  2. The combined operation of several organs to carry out a physiological function.

In other sources, synergy is explained as the relationship between elements of nature that interact with each other, improving the means in which they exist.  Its literal translation would be “cooperation.”

Yes, to convince us that Cuba is one sole entity is not an easy task.  Discrepancy brings an illusion of security that’s as strong as any other addiction.  But just as the mountains, seas and stars contemplate indifferent to humanity’s crises, which always occur, in this way, by its own weight, life will impose itself in the end.


2 thoughts on “Is a Cuban Consensus Possible?

  • To Nobody, I worked for two years for the water department of the county of Los Angeles, California, and can tell you a thing or two about water workers. The workers generally are at the mercy of those who direct them. Those who direct them are often either bureaucratic morons or corrupt asses.

    Pressurized water systems must have good materials for installation and repairs, but too often the workers are given bad materials that are cheaper on paper but more expensive in the long run because of breakdowns, et cetera. Blaming the workers takes place because the workers are the ones seen, but blaming them is usually misplaced. It’s like blaming the waiter in a restaurant for the crap the owner supplies to the chefs.

    What Cuba needs is what every country, including the US, needs: a socialist cooperative republic. This would mean private property rights but with socialist planning, coordination and control.

  • To built the Cuba you want you need money and dedication. Both things Cuba lacks of.
    Neocolonialism would only build ports and railways/streets to the ports to get the mercancies out of Cuba. Some get rich, the rest will fall back. Today after the downfall of capitalism, europeans and americans can see its ugly face everyday. There is no other way than to fight and stay united. All things Raul Castro did lately are improving the situation. Fight the corruption, improve private employment, cut the overregulation.
    But in anyway, how much harm the Cuban worker has done is almost impossible. Santiago water piping are a very good example, they had to open the streets several times to improve the piping. All fault of bad work. How can this happen? Multimillion dollar damage by people who had no water supply at all? How stupid must be someone messing up his own piping which will bring constant fresh water to his house?

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