Cuba is Not a Country for Young People

A group of young people sitting on the wall of the Malecón in Havana. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Yunior García Aguilera, Madrid, 16 May 2023 — I’ve rewatched the brilliant Coen brothers’ film No Country for Old Men. The 2007 thriller tells the story of a hunter who finds two million dollars and decides to run away with the money, while being pursued by a relentless hit man. The plot is completed by the county sheriff, who ends up baffled and skeptical of a reality that he can no longer understand.

At the end of the film, I thought a lot about Cuba, about the growing violence in a country where everything remains the same, although nothing is the same anymore. I have thought about how the Revolution tried to sell a narrative of itself that ended up as a cliché, in a crude parody of Animal Farm. I have imagined the possible endings of something that was intended to be an epic saga, but ended up as a soap opera: an exhausted model that is endlessly recycled, producing increasingly mediocre and decadent versions of the same failure.

Even those flags that were once arrogantly raised have ended up in rubble. Education, for example, has been reduced to simple indoctrination, and social networks demonstrate it. Our spelling is no better than the most backward nations in the region. The Ministers of Education and Higher Education were among the few removed in the recent parliamentary circus.

Their dismissal is even more significant considering that the others, although they could not have done worse, retained their positions. The tweets of the highest leaders are embarrassing. The first secretary of the Union of Young Communists has written the phrase “Fidel didn’t told them” five times, demonstrating not only the absence of her own ideas, but also an absolute contempt for the most elementary grammar.

Healthcare, meanwhile, suffers the worst crisis in its history. In 2021 we saw 55,000 more Cubans die than in the previous year, due to the Covid pandemic and its mismanagement. In hospitals there is nothing to treat the most common ailments. I have relatives who have had cardboard taped to a broken arm, because there is no cast. Suicide is among the top ten causes of death, even though the regime uses the euphemism “self-inflicted injuries.”

Meanwhile, the much-vaunted vaccines ended up being another Ten Million Harvest, an excessive expense that affected the rest of the production of medicines and that did not yield the expected results at the international level. More than an honest interest in confronting the pandemic, the Cuban vaccines tried to be a political weapon, although they never hit the target they were aiming for. In the end, they were neither fully recognized on a global scale, nor were they sufficient to satisfy domestic demand. The country had to acquire the Chinese vaccine from Sinopharm to combine it with a Soberana [Sovereign], no longer so sovereign.

The Cuban regime acts with the same psychopathy and violence as the character of Chigurh, masterfully interpreted by Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men. More than once Castroism has decided if someone lives or dies, if they go to jail or exile, as if it were tossing a coin. We are the country with the most political prisoners in all of Latin America. There are hundreds of Cubans who are prevented from leaving and many others who are denied the right to return.

Cuba is a land without law, where the “president” assures that his decrees are a “joke.” The hand-picked office-holder has also said that the separation of powers is an evil of the capitalist countries and that is why they practice the “unity of powers.” The courts are simple lambs that obey the guidelines of the single party, they are puppets in the hands of ventriloquists.

Fidel Castro, the greatest scriptwriter of the tragedy we suffered, has not been and will not be absolved by History. He wanted to blame José Martí for being the mastermind of his fight, but evidently he looked elsewhere for inspiration. One of the last paragraphs of Mein Kampf, by Adolf Hitler, literally says: “The judges of this State can calmly condemn us for our actions; but History, which is the embodiment of a higher truth and a better right, will one day despise this sentence, to absolve us of all guilt.”

That’s why our young people flee. They do not want a future that is reduced to clapping or being locked up. But neither do they want to face the beast, only to later fall victim, as in the film, to the extras that swarm on social networks, even attacking brave men like Luis Manuel Otero.

Cuba, definitely, is not a country for young people


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