Intramuros is the blog of the digital magazine Convivencia, from Pinar del Río, Cuba. The editorial below, which appears in English translation on the magazine’s site, describes the mission of Convivencia.
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“Convivencia”: First Anniversary. On the threshold after half a century
December 10th 2008.
We are on the threshold of our second anniversary. The six issues have shown the profile and style of the magazine; its language and range. The way we propose it in our definition of that first editorial on the 15th February 2008: “Convivencia” is a digital publication of a Socio-cultural, plural, participatory nature, respectful of the differences and promoting a healthy diversity in which each person may find a space to share criteria and improve life”.
Cuba is on the threshold after half a century. Our service is not the useless complaint, or the opportunistic adjustment, or the fearful silence. We have tried to breath with both lungs: criticism and proposal. Both with the maximum respect. An analysis of the published contents allow to appreciate this balance yet to be improved. Thus we contribute, gradually, step by step, to the organization of a public space where there is room for all of us, without exclusions, the way we outlined our service one year ago: “We want to be a transparent space for public debate and proposals which might lead to joint the personal freedom with the cohabitation in a healthy, autonomous and inclusive civil society”.
Cuba needs to trespass the threshold of monotony up to polyphony. The articles, interviews, stories, poems, art criticism from diverse authors and polemic approaches had a space in this threshold because we have tried to be faithful to our perspective: “We want to be a “nursery” for the different cultural expressions. We are not afraid of diversity and we don’t think diversity leads to confusion or relativism. We believe that cultural openness strengthens the identity. We consider that the convergence of the different ones and the pluralist cohabitation make human beings rich and make a contribution to the growing of the souls of peoples. Unity can be constructed through diversity”.
Cuba needs bridges, not trenches. That is why we have asked for and published works from our brothers and sisters that live in other shores too: artists, writers, sociologists, economists, jurists and ordinary citizens who have a common characteristic: their love for Cuba. A love that has been increased by the distance, put to trial by the years and “sharpened” by the experiences of other latitudes. These persons wish to put all their talents at the service of the present and the future of the Nation of which they are an inseparable part. Thus we are fulfilling one of our hopes: “We aspire that “Convivencia” might be an open house shared by Cubans, women and men, in the Island and in the Diaspora. Sign and advance of the common home we ought to rebuild and reconcile all of us together. No matter the dimension of the contribution. We believe in the power of the smallness”.
Our editorials have tried to reflect the evolution of developments, the scenarios that are discerned, and always proposing, suggesting, what in our opinion is better for Cuba, from inside, living together, sharing the luck of the Island. Cuba has been, is, and will be, our main concern and project. Cuba, starting from our sense of belonging and our love to its people and its culture which are our essence. Without chauvinism or triumphalism. Without pessimism. Without condemning or disqualifying or discouraging. Sometimes, our analyses can appear difficult, hard. We ask ourselves every time: how can we carry out different analyses if there is a reality that goes beyond complexity and rigor? How to carry out them without sweeten or disguising that reality? How can we be faithful, without hypocrisy, to the reality we live in and at the same time keep our sight high, the mood strong, the proposal diligent and the hope unbeatable?
There is no hope without a project. We cannot demand for hope if we don’t have the opportunity to occupy the mind and the life in a definite project. The dimension of the project does not matter but its authenticity. This is our personal and team experience: we live on giving ourselves to a project at the service of the others. The secret of hope cannot be to be holed up in ourselves. The hope is to go out of ourselves and live for the others. Our projects should be, for others, a reason to keep waiting.
Let’s look around us. Why the immense majority of Cubans live escaping? Why is the “safe-yourself” principle the philosophy of the daily life? Why do the ones who don’t use their minds, their hearts and their efforts in a definite project end up in the exile or in the “insile” that they construct for themselves in their narrowest caparison? Why does sadness comes back and despair and existential tiredness clinch on the soul outside the island or inside that fake shell, holed up in itself?
Indeed, the tendency of the human person’s nature is to transcend. That is, to cross the threshold. To get out and about. The natural habitat of the human subjectivity is openness, opportunity and project. It’s not only his ecology, it’s above all, his vocation and his destiny. That is why every closed society is sad. If you want to evaluate this, as objectively as possible, ask for the joy, for the happiness of the citizens and you will get the exact dimension of the spaces and opportunities.
To live together is to project together, to share dreams and opportunities. To live together is to be awake to initiative. It’s to create, the only way to dream without alienation. To live together is to go out of ourselves and trespass the threshold of sorrow. To live for the others is the new name of hope. To share it and encourage the others in projects and spaces for the human and social improvement are the last names.
That is why the name of our project is “Convivencia”. Name and program. Wish and aspiration. Workshop and training. From the small experiences to the fabric of the civil society. If we don’t believe in the power of the smallness there is no possible hope. Even less in totalitarian ways of life which survive thanks to the obstruction of the projects and dreams of the others. The tiredness and sadness are their most heartfelt results. Nothing can do against these results entire brigades of artists and jesters, even the best intentioned ones.
We can’t block the sun out with one finger though it might be a relief. We can’t alleviate a life without a project and without progress with a few hours of amusement. Even when this divertimento is reflected in the eyes of the landless, the homeless, the project-less, the ones with no opportunity to progress. Naivety or opportunism should not blind us. What we see in the eyes and in the smile is not always in the heart and the existential sorrow cannot be hidden by the suitable amusement.
The solution to despair is the openness to opportunities. To open opportunities for all is the only way to hope and supportive sense of cohabitation. It’s not about designing each opportunity from above. Or to plan each dream. Or distributing the increasing poverty. Or the decreasing leveling of the controlled cohabitation. Half a century is enough and more, to check the result of this only and exclusive project led from above and from abroad. We have experienced the unique from above, before and later. And the diverse from abroad: the United States, the former Soviet Union, Venezuela, China and later, the European Union, before and later, and now the Russia of later.
In half a century, all the experiments have been tried from above and from outside ourselves and outside our country. All of them inside the same logic of centralization and exclusion of the diverse. All of them from the planning of the entire life. Everything of all of us by one part. Here is the essence of what has happened during these five decades.
The day is coming when the total will be changed by all and each one of the parts. What a pity that we get exhausted asking when! That is the trap to tire our hope. Everybody knows that the day is coming. There is no night without a day. Then, the food of hope is asking what is coming more than when will it come. But with this question we continue dealing with the logic of the past in which we expect somebody brings what will come.
“Convivencia” invites you to cross the threshold of the civic adolescence. To cross the threshold of the citizenship illiteracy, of the renouncing to our inner freedom, in order to invent spaces and the personal recovering from the social anomie into which the anthropological damage has plunged us during this half a century of paternalism and dependence culture.
The morning is coming when nobody considers himself a representative and doer of everything. And each part, each person, each citizen will be able to cohabitate in peace, build one part of the project in an inclusive and participatory house-Cuba. Projects of pacific and democratic cohabitation will come and will be discussed, designed and constructed, block by block, from below and from inside a Nation opened itself up to all Cubans, women or men. A project that does not plan everything or control everything, or lead the dreams, or hinder the equality of opportunities. A project that may create the legal framework to be able to open spaces, thresholds, for the citizenship and for the civil society. For the plural and respectful exchange with all cultures and nations of the world. Without fear of diversity. That strengthens our identity.
“Convivencia” magazine, in its first anniversary, continues trying to look at Cuba inside, to propose some of those thresholds, to wake citizens up from sadness, to be a witness of the fact that hope is possible if we live together in a small project for the others. We want to continue being one of the threads to weave, all of us, a new civil society in Cuba.
Pinar del Río, from the interior of Cuba.