Why Don’t I Want to be “Federated”? / Yoani Sanchez

Photo: Silvia Corbelle


The Congress of the Cuban Women’s Federation (FMC) ended a few days ago. At its closing ceremony, a man uttered the final words. But this wasn’t the only, nor the last, mistake of an antiquated organization marked by ideology.

After listening to the sessions in the Palace of Conventions, I affirm my decision not to be “federated.” Why?

Here are my reasons:

  • I reject the creation of an “eternal president” in the figure of Vilma Espín, Raúl Castro’s deceased wife, because this whole display of perpetuity in a position seems to me, at the very least, ridiculous.
  • I don’t want to be part of an organization whose flag shows a uniformed individual. I am not a soldier, I don’t see myself represented in a gun-carrying militia member.
  • I don’t believe that a woman’s organization should have as its principles fidelity to an ideology, a party and a man.
  • I suspect that a part of the four million women who make up the FMC have entered its rank purely automatically, as a mandatory process that takes place when you turn fourteen.
  • I distrust a federation that benefits from the lack of freedom of association which prevents Cuban from creating other organizations.
  • I’m aware of the double standards of the FMC, which says it rejects violence against women but which has never condemned the acts of repudiation against the Ladies in White.
  • I consider inefficient the work of an organization that, in its 50 years of existence, hasn’t managed to place women in the positions of power where the decisions that affect the country are really made.
  • I’m tired of women being reduced, in these female congresses, to beings concerned with pots and pans, soldiers who are willing to offer up their children as cannon fodder or production parts… selfless, beautiful and obedient.
  • I am a woman of the 21st century, I carry my ovaries not with victimhood but with pride, and I can’t be a member of an organization that transmits the directives of power to women.
  • Of course, when it is legal to associate according to one’s beliefs, affinities, genders and many other points of similitude, I will be there with my progesterone and my demands for a true female federation.

16 March 2014