I Was Mistaken About the Cubans

A moment during the demonstrations on July 11th in Santiago de Cuba. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Juan E. Cambiaso, Panama, October 18, 2021–In March of 2019, after my fourth visit to Cuba, disillusioned and in disbelief, I wrote an article published in 14ymedio where I said, in sum, that the Cuban people had accepted living with shame and without glory and that they were masochists. I was mistaken, because there were moral reserves and civic virtues, which I was unable to see. May this writing be my mea culpa.

Since then, there is too much water under the bridge.

Raul Castro terminated his mandate and passed the baton to Díaz-Canel, the pandemic hit hard and continues to do so, leaving deep scars in the economy, the social fabric, among families and those affected, and in the psyche of individuals. Poverty increased, employment declined, expectations for a better future evaporated. More pain and less hope. The lack of freedom remained, without the meager compensation that had numbed its absence.

This time, poor management resulted in sick people and those who died of suffocation. Without warning, Díaz-Canel found himself confronting circumstances for which all his experience and training left him unprepared, making evident that he he fell short of the stature of a Castro, and in Cuba those who are not, are cursed.

This is how Cuba arrived at July of this year, when the popular protests showed–as will be shown on 15N (15 November) — that, despite the fact that neither the law nor political powers bestow freedom on citizens, the people will express themselves just the same and build their freedom with blood, sweat and life itself.

Inevitably, these cyclonic forces create spaces for people to shout their demands and display the material and spiritual poverty to which they have always been subjected, with the knees of the same arrogant ones as always on their necks. The comrade mutated into a citizen.

Under a tyranny as deep-seated and violent as the one in Cuba, this bravery has enhanced value. It is heroic. Before us is the redefined concept of the “heroic people of Cuba”. From now on they will be heroic because they will not stop until freedom is regained and “toward victory, always” will mean that the fight for individual freedom is inalienable and never-ending, because excess freedom is better than limited freedom.

The same words, another world; the same people, other objectives; the same country, another destiny.

Translated by: Silvia Suárez


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.