Sunday, January 4, 2009

On the 50th anniversary, this is the question: Go or stay?

Painting: Claudio Fuentes Madan

The reasons for both decisions are equally important to me. The sacrifice of either option is great. I think things can be done for this country from within or from without, that’s not the point.
What does seem important to me is NOT to be judging the role of those who are doing things from whatever place on the planet while everyone thinks they are all State Security or opportunists. It seems that the long arm of paranoia has gotten lodged in the minds of many of us to absurd levels.
Deciding to stay doesn’t mean that I think there will be changes in Cuba in the next 50 years, I don’t want to err on the side of naiveté with the disillusionment that tomorrow becomes repentance. However, to stay is to renounce for an indefinite period the rights that I am due as a citizen, some of which I exercise in these times because I want to, even though they are not legitimized, as Mariela Castro argued in her strange letter “NOT” directed at Yoani Sánchez (it seems, somehow, exceptional in the history of writing, that now people write to themselves from Cuba about Yoani, people who are NOT interested in her and who don’t even know who she is).
On the other hand, deciding to go, I think. would be conversely to give up any hope of possible changes in the next 50 years. But why not dream of a world where paranoia and fear of thinking don’t exist, where I am paid for my work, where there is no talk of gratuities of 60 million dollars for who knows what prominent figures when the rest of us mortals still live on 20 CUC a month and without gratuities (trips, vacations in Varadero or in the keys where I can’t go) and where snitching, as I once said, is institutionalized and if anyone doubts it I quote:

"It is not possible to lead and control and at the same time to be tolerant; to play the role of 'the good guy' as it's popularly called. Hence, the various epithets, usually derogatory, that they assign to those who do what really needs to be done."

Raúl Castro speech before the National Assembly of People's Power
Palace of Conventions, Havana, December 27, 2008.

If I balance the vocabulary that I’ve heard in the past month, that of the government shows clearly the words Hate and Intolerance; of what changes does this speak to me, from within and at what time? I don’t know with this syntax. Thanks, but I think I prefer Guatemala, because without a doubt we are entering Guatepeor.

Translator’s note
“From Guatemala to Guatepeor” is an expression that means “from bad to worse” or “out of the frying pan and into the fire.”

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