Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My Poor Head

Photo: Claudio Fuentes Madan

A friend sent me a very worried letter about my physical condition; from Spain she came across a list of seventy-four traitors to the country among whom she found me. It is because I signed a letter, together with other representatives of civil society, asking for flexibility in the sale of food and permission for U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba.

The controversy fascinates me; here in Cuba I have another blogger friend who called me immediately to say that in her opinion they should tighten the screws until we don’t even have water to drink, because only this will end the dictatorship: it did not occur to me to call her a “fascist”, nor to her to call me a “Castro-ite assassin.” As usual, we ended our dialog in total harmony; she raised certain questions in me, and I left her with some doubts.

It would not be the first time on my small island that we’ve had nothing to eat; we already lived through – and it had nothing to do with the foreign policy of the United States – the time after Perestroika and Glasnost, which sent seventy years of communism straight to the fires of hell. I don’t think democracy is exportable, nor hunger a detonator of social consciousness. I have always wondered how many hours we spent on August 5, 1994, in a “Malecon Slaughter” styled after that of Tiananmen. Does anyone today speculate that China is democratic?

Since I’ve had the use of reason, Cold War politics have only served so that the Minister of Foreign Affairs can repeat over and over at every world summit the infinite mantra of “blockade, blockade, blockade,” while the private accounts of the country’s owners are “growing, growing growing.” Meanwhile, the European and Latin American left applaud as if some economic restrictions could justify the longest western dictatorship.

This is my opinion: I could be wrong, I could be right. Perhaps it is naïve to think that this liberalization would promote the democratization of Cuba, but the contrary ends up being – when viewed coldly – equally naïve. I appreciate all those who have kept this controversy alive on the web in a civilized and objective way, especially Ernesto Hernandez Busto in Penultimos Dias, who has made me feel that a harmonic and divergent Cuba is not so far off; one where, as Reinaldo Escobar said, political dissent is decriminalized.

To those who ask for my head, just an observation: I think they will have to fight it out with the boys from the Department of State Security, who have already laid claim to it.

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