Future Dilemmas / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar

Second day of the Open Spaces Meeting of Ideas. (14ymedio)
Second day of the Open Spaces Meeting of Ideas. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, 13 October 2015 – Some 40 Cubans met last weekend in Miami to talk about the future of the country. The economy, work, property, and social security were the topics on the agenda in this edition of the “Meeting of Ideas,” which arose under the Coexistence Project in Pinar del Rio and which found another space of influence, this time with the participation of Cubans from the diaspora in Miami.

But beyond the data of a press release, it’s worth taking the time to stop, or rather to make a pilgrimage, to submerge ourselves in the wells of thought where the most complex problems our national reality are addressed. Two streams converge there, one from the liberal side, arguing, almost insisting, on the reasons for the market and freedom, and the other more concerned about social aspects, putting the protection of the disadvantaged first. I said they converged, not fought, because far above political passion or philosophical viewpoints, was Cuba, like a mother crying in pain for help for her children.

And although emotion and reason don’t usually mix in academic environments, everyone there was both reasonable and emotional. Some thought about the Cuba they lost, others about the one they never managed to achieve. From the nostalgia and frustration emerged the best threads of this fabric.

What country can we build? That is a question that can only be fully answered when – in one way or another – the illusion in which we live comes to an end. But the prophetic exercise is essential if we do not want to arrive at “the day after” with our saddlebags empty of projects.

On more than one occasion, while a precise issue was discussed, such as the critical problem of confiscated properties or the presumed overwhelming entry of foreign companies, or the need to raise the birthrate, both viewpoints promoted their different takes on the issues.

While some warned that the nation cannot be mortgaged to satisfy the claims for compensation, others prioritized full respect for property under the rules of a State of Law. Where some proposed protectionist measures to avoid strangling the initiative of small native entrepreneurs, others expounded that the solution is to stimulate the entrepreneurs and not to regulate their competition. Where some demanded subsidies for women who have more children, others aspired to a prosperity that favored growing families.

The proposals of both sides were duly noted and even balanced, avoiding rivalry, but without looking for a consensus, because this meeting of ideas was intended to develop an inventory of proposals, without pretensions of pleasing an eventual electorate, without partisanship or populism.

There are still many issues pending: education, healthcare, legal matters, culture, science and technology, among others. If the spirit of the previous meetings is maintained, both on and off the island, this nation-beyond-borders where Cubans live and dream will have taken an enormously important step. Ideas, solutions, issues for future discussions will have been compiled. The dilemmas that we do not have today, but that we will inevitably have tomorrow, when there is the freedom to have dilemmas.