Judges / Fernando Dámaso

  1. In my country there is the disastrous custom of different figures appointing themselves as judges of historic facts and personages. These are then analyzed through the political-ideological lens which, according to their point of view, exalts or debases them, ignoring the times and situations that created them and in which they lived.
  2. As a result, the study of our history is a very complicated thing. People once respected and accepted by the majority, are today considered traitors or, what’s worse, collaborators with the established powers. Others, complete unknowns, emerge as saviours of the nation, but without any clear demonstration of any of their supposed virtues.
  3. Everything is reduced to a process of labeling. If someone is labeled a reformist, annexationist*, autonomist, etc., they are marked for life and, from that point, any time their name is pronounced or written it is preceded by their corresponding label.
  4. One of the most notorious cases is that of Narciso López, whose name is always preceded by the word “annexationist,” although no one has ever demonstrated this. So he is left hanging, historically, just like the poet Plácido (Gabriel de la Concepción Valdés) because of the first verse of his well-traveled posthumous poem, Prayer to God.
  5. Perhaps it would be healthy to leave this task in the hands of historians, allowing them, independently and without demands nor pressure of the ideological-political sort, analyze events and people and express their honest opinions which, like everything in life, are not required to be identical or unanimous. So, history would be more interesting and digestible, as contradictory as reality, and precisely, therefore, more useful.

*Translator’s note: An “annexationist” is someone who would like Cuba to become part of the United States.

August 31, 2010