Fernando Damaso, 23 March 2016 — At an event with Cuban and foreign journalists on March 17, the Cuban foreign minister — one of the dullest and most lackluster persons to hold this position — once again stated that “all the changes in Cuba took place on January 1, 1959.”
The minister seems to take it for granted that the so-called “generation of the century” has the right not only to exercise power but to do so forever. He forgets that five generations of Cubans have been born since this one, many of whom feel no attachment to these “historic figures” or their actions, and that these younger generations have the right to change what they they feel should be changed for the good of the country and its citizens. There is no “historic debt” which must be paid.
Perhaps the minister thinks that selectively including some young faces in the leadership roster will indicate that a new generation is being allowed to participate. We all know that is not the case. They simply serve as props for those who really hold power. The most recent and striking case is that of the president of the University Student Federation who, at twenty-three, was a surprise addition to the Council of State. Does anyone with half a brain believe she will be allowed to decide anything?
The changes that Cuba needs did not take place on January 1, 1959. They are yet to happen and are up to the current generation and those that follow to carry out. To not understand that would be to deny the dialectic and development of society.
It seems that President Obama’s words yesterday at the Alicia Alonso Theater (formerly the Garcia Lorca Theater) have caused a rash on the thin skin of Cuban authorities. The speech was not published in the government-run press. It was, however, subject to critical analysis by well-known, unconditional supporters of the regime, who did nothing more than repeat the same old absurd arguments. On a scale of one to ten, Cubans on the street give the American president a ten and his Cuban counterpart a two. As in baseball, in which Cuba lost by four to one to Tampa Bay, the same thing has happened in politics.