Easter in Cuba: Death and Resurrection of the Individual / 14ymedio, Mario Penton

Mick Jagger in concert in Havana on March 25. (EFE/Ernesto Mastrascusa)
Mick Jagger in concert in Havana on March 25. (EFE/Ernesto Mastrascusa)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Miami, 28 March 2016 – This Sunday of the Resurrection hundreds of individuals attended Mass who, the previous Friday, had sung along with their Satanic Majesties in Havana’s Sports City. From Jesus to the Rolling Stones, Cubans want to breathe beyond the narrow limits of the political system and they do it through music, faith, technology or emigration.

Easter Sunday, the last feast of Holy Week, was the time for Christians on the island to remember the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Many came to the temples full of hope after a week charged with symbolism like none other they had ever remembered throughout their lives.

Jusr seven days ago, while Christians celebrated the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, US President Barack Obama landed in Havana. For two days he would shock the population with simple gestures and a discourse that invited them to look toward the future and to do so with hope.

On Good Friday Mick Jagger was the star, displaying his “elvis-presley attitudes*” and, with a megaconcert in the Cuban capital, burying the tiny remnants of the “New Man” still within Cubans.

It is impossible not to read “the signs of the times” that have been experienced in the last seven days. Easter has a strong liberating content. The Jews, for example, commemorate it as the end of their servitude in Egypt and their constitution as a people. For Christians, on the other hand, it represents the defeat of death in the messianic resurrection. It always continues a current message: the only way to live is to bury the archaic, be it in the Red Sea or in a tomb that represents the structure of sin that tramples the innocent.

Ironically, both the “satanic” and the Christians suffered the same fate when they tried to skew the plurality of the nation in service to an ideology. The infamous Military Units in Aid of Production (UMAP) made brothers of the priest, the dissident, the rocker and the homosexual.

In 2012, Cuba had its first Good Friday holiday since 1959. This required the visit and intercession of Pope Benedict XVI. Although there is still a long way to go to achieve true religious freedom, the persecutions and Pioneer assemblies where Christians are humiliated solely for professing a religion are in the past.

In 2016, to the dismay of those who tried to make the nation uniform, the prototype of the Anti-New-Man, with his tight pants and his big ribald mouth held the biggest concert in the history of Cuba and called to mind the moments when listening to his music was dangerous. The changes have begun, we can see that there is no going back, despite the reluctance of the forces that are trying to perpetuate the past.

Cuba experienced a peculiar Easter, a time of steps, sometimes uncertain and ajiaco-style, but certainly full of hope, and ultimately, as always, life will end up triumphing.

*Translator’s note: In a 1963 speech, Fidel Castro attacked “elvispresley” attitudes.