Thursday, November 6, 2008

Government Confrontation

Photo: Lía Villares

Once again the government launches a campaign for people to take the law into their own hands and to adopt predetermined behaviors to stop that which they think is wrong. Once more it feeds the hatred between us so that we consume each other like cannibals, while they wash their hands of any responsibility. This is no longer about why the black market, the illegalities and the delinquencies in Cuba have grown astronomically, it is just about ending them… and who should do away with them? Us. A campaign of the greatest absurdity in a country where no one lives on their state salary, and I say state because of course there are many people who work hard and survive through illegal work.

But behind one more campaign it’s business as usual, the old tactic of setting us against each other, to give a neighbor the enormous responsibility of deciding who is politically correct, who lives on their salary, who is integrated into society, and above all of making whomever decides this also decide what to do about it, and what to do to themselves should they fail in this mission. To live with the pain of knowing that some day the president of my CDR [Committee for the Defense of the Revolution], whom I like so much, may knock on my door to read me the riot act, or that the council of neighbors, people whom I’m very fond of, have already been placed in the painful situation of demanding information about Ciro Diaz because he lives in my house and so they came to ask about him. The sickness of hating the vigilance, the paranoia of seeing State Security in every face and a terrorist in every civilian, the dreadful perversion of living undercover in order to eat, the PNR’s [National Revolutionary Police] fomenting of hate between Habaneros and those from other provinces, the flood of easterners coming to Havana and in turn the officials’ campaign against in-country emigration which makes the same police force send its own countrymen back to the provinces. A society based on government blackmail, which only more strongly institutionalizes people denouncing each other, abuse of power, hatred and demoralization

I’m tired of hearing about building a perfect society, I do NOT want a perfect society. Of seeing on television gross accusations of all kinds of evil against our own people, and their charging us with the responsibility to make or break our peers. Of having to hear that the vampires of illegality must be destroyed and that, with impunity, they call for civilian segregation.

That in my country the elections in the United States are more interesting than our own… sorry, what elections? That for what they call the vote here they have four meetings in the months before to explain that the vote is voluntary but… and that in addition they take good care that what they put on the ballot is... so that no one will make a mistake it’s better that… go and knock on the door of Mr. So-and-So who hasn’t come yet… I don’t know why he put that in if he knows we have to go look for him… now it has to happen because he is falling behind, it’s not easy and I didn’t like it either…

I want a government that takes responsibility for its actions and doesn’t treat its people like black and white pawns to be taken, I want the horizon of my freedom not to stop at the end of my nose, I don’t want bureaucrats telling me what I should read or when I should exchange my refrigerator or how many pounds of rice I should eat a month, all the while demanding my eternal and unconditional gratitude.

I want the witch hunt to end once and for all and that Cuba will never again under any circumstances have to experience a night of the long knives, led by the people and manipulated by the government.

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