Delusions of Sovereignty / Reinaldo Escobar

My planet Cuba (Childlike drawing)
My planet Cuba (Childlike drawing)

Reinaldo Escobar, 28 June 2015 – Despite nationalist excesses that have reached the official Cuban discourse, to some it seems that the Government should be even more intransigent in defense of the sovereignty of the country. Stigmatizers of everything foreign, these individuals end up boasting of a chauvinism that is more ridiculous than patriotic.

They are the ones who don’t understand that the Island’s boxers no longer use head protectors, to obey the dictates of this sport that the authorities have labeled profitable and where, “The spectacle is more important than the health of the athletes.” In their isolationist delusions, perhaps one day they will propose not accepting that the volleyball net or the basketball hoop be at the height determined by nations where the average stature is a few inches higher than in Cuba.

Perhaps they would also ban aluminum bats, swords and foils, racquets, goals, kimonos and even the universal rules in force in competitions among athletes? Would they only practice those sports hypothetically native to this archipelago?

Who can rule out that one day these defenders of uncompromising autonomy will propose the elimination of the study of classic universal arts, both in music and plastic arts or in literature. The original would sweep away references to a Renaissance that occurred thousands of miles away, an Ernest Hemingway who wrote in the language of “the enemy” or a Beethoven born no more and no less than in the far off city of Bonn.

A few steps further in the sovereign obfuscation would lead to discarding the metric system and formulating another, one hundred percent Cuban, never more to abide by the strict norms of foreign organizations that certify weights, balances and measures. Ah…! And the hurricanes of every season would be baptized in Cuba, so as not to comply with any list of names for those meteorological phenomena imposed by international entities.

Why should we accept standards promoted by consumer societies for the packaging of medicines and foods exported from the country? What an affront it is for these anti-hegemonic extremists to dredge the bays in order to allow the entry of larger foreign ships! If they could decide the aeronautic norms, who knows if they would prohibit national planes from being governed by the strict security measures promulgated by other countries.

Taking it further, it is even possible to ask oneself: What sovereignty are we talking about when national currency (the Cuban peso) has a value that depends on its equivalence with foreign currency? Television, moreover, uses transmission codes not invented by Cuban engineers. Meanwhile, in bars, restaurants and hotels they struggle to achieve international standards to satisfy the whims of tourists, who should just enjoy our tastes and customs.

Even the scientific studies to conserve our nature signify an offense for the Robinson Crusoes of nationalism. Because they obey patterns emerging from environmental movements lacking Cuban roots. Not to mention the boxes of cigars we consume and export, containing our glorified aboriginal tobacco that today carries health warnings that foreign authorities have demanded on the product.

If they were consistent with so much ostentatious “Cubanness,” in the field of computer science they would prohibit operating systems with a “well-thought out design foreign to our traditions.” In the provision of healthcare, they would oppose any foreign device, such as Computed Tomography (CT), ultrasound machines or catheters introduced into the arteries. They would undoubtedly resist the growing influence that permeates our science with those academics invited to the Palace of Conventions and awarded prizes that are not promulgated in this country.

Even in the Revolutionary terminology intolerable concessions have been made, or so these promoters of the most uncouth isolationism think furiously. There is no longer any talk of the mass organizations as “transmission poles of the illustrious guidance of the Party,” but rather of some anodyne entities of civil society, stripped of their classist content and whose nomenclature is copied from theories born outside this island.

Luckily, as we have “our own democracy,” they can breathe a sigh of relief. As a single point for boasts of their endocentrism they can say there is only one party, whose leadership is established by a constitutional provision, and a socialism that does not depend on the dogmas coming from Europe, “But on what we judge socialism should be.” Fortunately, they roar filled with pride, “We have our own interpretation of Human Rights that we don’t subject to a supposed universal rule, uniform and hegemonic.”

However, to achieve their delusions of sovereignty they will have to implant the use of another language that doesn’t depend on the rules of others and enact laws that do not appear anywhere else, and finally, as a glorification of absolute independence, manage to isolate and reproduce a national DNA, our own, singular and above all, superior.