Despite these long fifty years of people divided between “snitches” and “worms,” today I feel a little less segregated, a little more free of epithets, very young and among the young who, like me, are tired of the ideological line that separates us. This strange sensation of reconciliation I owe to a friend who, from abroad (he’s on a mission), has sent me a beautiful email. I asked his permission to publish our correspondence and he agreed; he even told me to publish his name: he doesn’t think anything would happen but I do, so I will not do it. I prefer to leave out his identity and even the name of the country where he’s now working.
The two emails are a bit long, so I’ve decided to publish them in two parts: I am putting my answer in the next entry.
Photo: Claudio Fuentes Madan
How are you? I was very glad to find you on Facebook, coincidence or not. Browsing your profile and your blog I learned a few things not covered in Granma and Juventud Rebelde, of course: About Antúnez (no idea who he is or what he wants), about Ciro and Claudio being arrested, and a couple more. Well, without beating around the bush: I owe you an explanation. You probably don’t want to hear it (read it) but nonetheless I feel I owe it to you.
I want to start by saying I’m not afraid. This might have several causes. One is, of course, that I live on the news. International: “War in Iraq, war in Afghanistan, war in Palestine…” National: “We won all the medals, broke all the records, tourism is increasing.” Summary: “If it weren’t for the blockade, everything would be perfect, the rest of the world is completely fucked.” I live on disinformation because in addition, I admit, the rest isn’t that important to me (I’m the egotistical type, even if I don’t like to admit it and I try to hide it when I’m with my friends). Only my scientific dramas and spending time with colleagues. The second reason is my father. As he once told a guy I know there: “To punch out the son of a colonel in this country is worth 20 years." A mixed-up palestino [a person from eastern Cuba] can look back for every kind of problem and complication in his life, and so I walk there and I keep on going as if I were Bruce Willis in “Unbreakable.” What I do have, I already told you, is disinformation.
Part of the explanation: Even in the disinformation I know that the twisted majority of things in Cuba are fucked. Still and all, I’m a Red, but why? The explanation I give you is this (if I’m not fooling myself): I believe that our problems, rather than democracy and free expression, need huge amounts of money to be solved, so I keep working and behave myself like a good boy, the people who lead (those way way up there, not the band of corrupt middlemen) are going to gradually resolve things, including my current work and and the place where I will work in the future, I find this motivation: I suppose that it will be a place where they will make things that matter in the world, and that earn money. Maybe it’s all a castle in the sky and in the end everything will be shit like so many other things, but for the moment I trust it. Still and all this doesn’t justify the fucking censorship they impose on everyone, that we only learn a small fraction of the things that happen, inside and outside, and that they block your blog and block Generation Y, and all the other things.
Another part of the explanation: suppose everything falls and the transition happens. How will we avoid becoming like Haiti? Another: Don’t you yourself (this is half joking, half serious) want to put out a cigar in someone’s face while calling him “communist”? In reality, you, no, nor the rest of the reasonable people whom we know, or don’t know. But do you answer also for those who aren’t reasonable? What will prevent that, in a hypothetical initial chaos, they won’t kill me with a machete, my mother, my brother, my father and my grandmother, for being the “family of an informer”? When I say this I’m not exaggerating (naturally I am a big exaggerator but I’m trying not to be one now).
In this kind of situation, yes, I am afraid.
To summarize: I don’t think that in the near future I’ll come to think like you, but as far as I’m concerned, you are first, whether you are Red or Blue, because you are my friend, and because even though we only see each other once every 200 years, putting up with me is complicated (maybe not as much as I think, but still, it’s complicated). I’m also happy to have in you and your blog, at least for the months they keep me here, a site where I can balance what I read in other places.
I repeat to you what I once said: you are free to kick me out of your house whenever you want. I will accept it without the least resentment. Only I would be very sad if you decided to do it permanently, but in any case it would be because I am inappropriate by nature.
A big kiss and I love you much,
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