Addiction to Prehistory / Fernando Dámaso

Some days ago, a public propaganda billboard, demanding the liberation of five sanctioned Cubans who are serving out sentences in American prisons, appeared in Miami; it was front-page news in the daily Granma, which also made propaganda points of the tours of Cuban artists, residents of the island, through the States. All this is noteworthy and good. It was a commitment to the necessary tolerance, although the billboard is gone and some protests have sprung up against the artists. It’s understandable, after so many years of missed connections. It would be fair that it should happen here, and that it would receive equal propaganda; some billboard demanding liberation of the political prisoners, and that artists who live abroad and are prohibited in Cuba, could offer concerts and their music could be transmitted by radio and television.

Around this time, also in the same daily, an official notice appeared, repudiating the meeting of the American delegation’s representatives — which participated in the discussions about migratory accords — with some Cuban dissidents, calling them mercenaries and repeating the old slogans against imperialist interventionism. It calls attention, as is already the practice of the Cuban government, to those who govern and represent it, that when they visit whatever country — including the United States — they meet with those who oppose the established government, and even organize and participate in public propaganda acts. It seems valid in some cases and in others not.

A defrocked functionary, who used to move about in the ideological sphere, hypothesized once that, in order to conduct dialog, it was indispensable that those who participated should respect each other, and bring with them to the dialog two suitcases: one to receive and the other to give. I don’t know if this hypothesis sped up his dismissal.

It seems to be a smart and simple formula, although facts demonstrate its non-acceptance by those who live anchored in a political prehistory, masking it over with a behind-the-times patriotism which — instead of opening roads towards understanding — shows a commitment to confrontation and violence, abandoning the necessary union of all Cubans, to live wherever they might and think however they will.

The superficial measures that are applied to the economy and which — with the passage of time and propelled by reality — become more profound each time, must also be accompanied by changes in policy, as much internally as externally, more pragmatic and compliant with current times. They are necessary to save the nation.

Translated by: JT

January 20 2011