Friday, July 16, 2021

3528. Cuba: A Scream

 July 16, 2021 (English translation by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews).

Leonardo Padura; Cuban novelist and journalist

It seems very possible that everything that happened in Cuba since last Sunday, July 11, has been encouraged by a greater or lesser number of people opposed to the system, even paid some of them, with the intention of destabilizing the country and causing a situation of chaos and unsafety. It is also true that later, as often happens in these events, opportunistic and regrettable acts of vandalism occurred. But I think that neither evidence takes one iota of reason from the scream that we have heard. A cry that is also the result of the desperation of a society that is going through not only a long economic crisis and a punctual health crisis, but also a crisis of confidence and a loss of expectations.

To this desperate claim, the Cuban authorities should not respond with the usual slogans, repeated for years, and with the answers that these authorities want to hear. Not even with explanations, however convincing and necessary they may be. What is imposed are the solutions that many citizens expect or demand, some demonstrating in the street, others giving their opinion on social networks and expressing their disappointment or disagreement, many counting the few and devalued pesos that they have in their impoverished pockets and many, many more, queuing in resigned silence for several hours in the sun or rain, including a pandemic, queues at markets to buy food, queues at pharmacies to buy medicines, queues to reach our daily bread and for everything imaginable and necessary.

Scream (2)

"(...) the Cuban authorities should not respond with the usual slogans, repeated for years ..." (Photo: Canal Caribe)

I think that no one with a minimum feeling of belonging, with a sense of sovereignty, with a civic responsibility can want (or even believe) that the solution to these problems comes from any type of foreign intervention, much less of a military nature, such as some have come to ask, and that, it is also true, represents a threat that is still a possible scenario.

I also believe that any Cuban inside or outside the island knows that the US commercial and financial blockade or embargo, whatever you want to call it, is real and has become internationalized and intensified in recent years and that it is too heavy a burden for the Cuban economy ( as it would be for any other economy). Those who live outside the island and today want to help their relatives in the midst of a critical situation, have been able to verify that it exists and how much it exists when they are practically unable to send a remittance to their relatives, just to mention a situation that affects Many. It is an old policy that, by the way (sometimes some forget it) practically everyone has condemned for many years in successive United Nations assemblies.

And I don't think anyone can deny that a media campaign has also been unleashed in which, even in the grossest ways, false information has been released that at the beginning and end only serves to diminish the credibility of its managers.

Scream (1)

«(…) Neither one nor the other evidence takes away an iota of reason from the scream that we have heard. A cry that is also the result of the desperation of a society… »(Photo: Yamil Lage / AFP)

But I believe, along with all of the above, that Cubans need to regain hope and have a possible image of their future. If hope is lost, the meaning of any humanist social project is lost. And hope is not recovered by force. You are rescued and fed with those solutions and changes and social dialogues, which, by not arriving, have caused, among many other devastating effects, the migratory anxieties of so many Cubans and now provoked the cry of despair of people among whom there were surely paid people and opportunistic criminals, although I refuse to believe that in my country, at this point, there may be so many people, so many people born and educated among us who sell themselves or commit crimes. Because if it were, it would be the result of the society that has fostered them.

The spontaneous way, without being tied to any leadership, without receiving anything in return or stealing anything along the way, with which a notable number of people have also demonstrated in the streets and on the networks, should be a warning and I think it is an alarming sample of the distances that have been opened between the leading political spheres and the street (and this has even been recognized by Cuban leaders). And it is only in this way that it is explained that what has happened has happened, especially in a country where almost everything is known when it wants to be known, as we all also know.

To convince and calm those desperate, the method cannot be the solutions of force and darkness, such as imposing the digital blackout that has cut off the communications of many for days, but that nevertheless has not impeded the connections of those who want to say something, in favor or opposing. Much less can the violent response, especially against non-violent people, be used as a convincing argument. And it is already known that violence can be not only physical.

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"Much less can the violent response, especially against non-violent people, be used as a convincing 

argument." (Photo: Yamil Lage / AFP)

Many things seem to be at stake today. Perhaps even if calm returns after the storm. Perhaps the extremists and fundamentalists will not be able to impose their extremist and fundamentalist solutions, and a dangerous state of hatred that has been growing in recent years will not take root.

But, in any case, it is necessary for solutions to arrive, responses that should not only be of a material nature but also of a political nature, and thus an inclusive and better Cuba can address the reasons for this cry of despair and loss of hope. that, silently but with force, since before July 11, many of our compatriots had been giving those laments that were not heard and from whose rains these muds arose.  

As a Cuban who lives in Cuba and works and believes in Cuba, I assume that it is my right to think and express my opinion about the country in which I live, work and where I believe. I know that in times like this and trying to express an opinion, it often happens that "You are always reactionary for someone and red for someone," as Claudio Sánchez Albornoz once said. I also take that risk, as a man who pretends to be free, who hopes to be more and more free.

In Mantilla, July 15, 2021.

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