Fernando Damaso, 20 February 2015 — It has lately become fashionable to speak and write about the need for combatting negative cultural trends that, as is to be expected, arrive from abroad, mostly from the “empire.” This practice has increased since December 17, 2014, when it was announced that diplomatic relations would be re-established with the “empire”… sorry, with the United States government.
Nobody with any sense can bet on the vulgarity, the bad taste, the alienation, the extremisms of all types, the violence, and other ills, but much care must be taken when deciding what is negative, and who determines this. Let us remember that for years this country prohibited foreign music, and to listen to it constituted a crime.
Victims of this absurd policy were Beatles fans, as well as any man who wore his hair long, wore jeans, or looked “peculiar” to the authorities. The UMAP was a crude reality that destroyed the lives of many Cubans, while back then this was said to be in defense of the culture and national identity. That is, to prohibit has never been a good policy, and it is less so now in a world so globalized and digitized as ours, wherein prohibitions are very difficult to apply.
Therefore there is a need to raise the quality and attractiveness of all things Cuban, to compete with what comes from abroad. This makes for a good policy — if and only if the “compete” part is respected — and no move is made to impose shoddiness, as has been the case up to now, simply because something is “made in Cuba.”
Now, to achieve this requires freedom and resources, without which producers can make very little. Another necessity: leaving chauvinism aside. Our children are not the most educated on the planet (even if UNESCO says so), nor are our women the most beautiful, cultured, sensual, sensible and lucid, nor are the Cuban people the most politically aware, hard-working and brave. All of these statements are no more than clichés, imposed by 56 years of “massive ideological dumbing-down,” arriving actually not from abroad, but made in Cuba.
Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison