Dancing and Having a Good Time at the 8th Congress with the National Symphony of Birania*!

Another UNEAC* Congress has come and gone and our reality remains immovable. The existential problems do not mutate; the intellectuals continue speaking sotto voce, watching their backs to make sure they are not overheard and then betrayed by their own colleagues, neighbors, coworkers, and even family.

Another useless congress, and the officials are still the same: those who were once persecuted, expelled, marginalized, and abused, today (when politicians hide their prejudices) serve with the joy of the slave who once a week is allowed to bathe in the river and therefore believes he is free.

If in the past a three-day Congress was not sufficient to prevent social decline—so that currently the state is forced to consider the excessive growth of juvenile delinquency, lack of ethics in civic life, and poor general education—now with two days of planning, we can only hope that incivility increases, and that like a virus it accommodates itself into society and causes greater havoc.

We have become a people who do not express their feelings, their dreams, their true opinion of the government, who exert no criticism, but—as if it were a national sport—practice hypocrisy, envy, hatred, and opportunism.

Act of repudiation in front of the headquarters of the Ladies in White

Never before 1959, the times when the Communists taught us that we were poor and submissive, have we had a young generation so warped and antisocial.

While going through the motions of holding another Congress, social problems multiply, the level of bad taste rises, and mediocrity and opportunism reach new heights.

Art that is genuine and profound seeks other horizons. I don’t remember where I heard that “the Ninth time’s the charm.”

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats

Lawton Prison, April 2014

To sign the petition to have Amnesty International declare Cuban dissident Ángel Santiesteban a prisoner of conscience, follow this link.

*Translator’s Notes:
Birania –  from Birán, the name of Castro’s father’s ranch, and his birthplace, used metaphorically to describe Cuba as his personal plantation.
UNEAC – The National Union of Cuban Writers and Artists

Translated by Tomás A.

21 April 2014