Friday, November 21, 2008

Two civil societies: one wearing green and one wearing colors

I read Granma and I watch television, the news and whatever official publication falls into my hands. Although sometimes they annoy me, I prefer to spend an unpleasant moment to find out what they are saying and to try, in a naïve way, to guess the intentions behind each title.
The other day, for example, I almost fell into the trap of a title in Granma: “Cuban civil society denounces the blockade,” or something like that, I don’t remember exactly. When I read “civil society,” I instantly said, very excited, “They’re talking about Civil Society in Granma!”
How naïve! I finished the article reluctantly, not remembering at all what it was about; what I do remember was that the “Cuban civil society” mentioned in Granma was formed, initially, by Felipe Pérez Roque, followed by Miguel Barnet and other writers and functionaries of the leading cultural institutions of the country, that is to say, the main governmental organizations; because at this point everyone knows that in Cuba, a high official in Culture is the same as a high official in State Security, and that their immediate superior undoubtedly works for military intelligence. There was even a time when nearly all our minsters were military, without any evasiveness or lies.
Now it seems they aren’t, now they call it civil society, because the green uniform has long since ceased to be compulsory.
Why? I wonder if it might be, perhaps, that they’re afraid our people actually know that a true civil society exists, that they also form a part of it, and that it has no rights, or almost none. It doesn’t even have the right to know what its rights are. Or maybe I ask myself why our leaders feel the need to steal the name of the opposition. Could it be, perhaps, that they fear the terms “opposition” and “civil society,” which encompass so many people who couldn’t talk about politicians, about dissidents, because civil society is enormous and so great, destined to continue growing while our government ignores it, meanwhile shamelessly stealing its name.

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