Message from Juan Pin / POLEMICA: The 2007 Intellectual Debate

As you know, the most utilized argument for any Cuban public or private cultural debate divides the pulse of all different criteria in two essential currents, left or right, terms which—in the long run, and in my view—circumscribe the discussion to specifically intellectual criteria on an issue that has a lot to do with the nature itself of the revolutionary elite in power, which has not been the same in fifty years.

We know too little of the ideological debates faced by the different members of the elite, and even less about their internal political alliances. The understandable fear of fragmentation of that elite, on one hand, has given place to the “compartmentalization”—in which we have remained submerged during all these years—of a debate that young people today talk about with a lot of curiosity, confused about authorized history books, pamphlets, appointments, photos and biographies, blandly written and reviewed like all other approved books during the “pavonato” (Pavón’s years in command).

Among this entanglement of political interests, insurrectionist or not insurrectionist, and some from before Batista’s fall—Pavón’s embryos are there, or those like him who served as perpetrators. Nothing justifies them. There is no reason whatsoever for such arbitrary and immoral behavior, but they counted on—and still do—the authorization and delegation of power. These were not isolated policies and they are easily identified in those initial debates after the triumph of the Revolution.

What has gone on for a long time in television—and worse things will occur—I am sure expresses more than one tendency, the enormous ignorance that today runs the show at ICRT (Cuban Radio and Television Institute), although I think that, in moments of crisis, making a tribute to perpetrators is also a way to leave them out of the debate and thus preventing that through them larger fissures become evident.

I won’t write a rosary of arguments regarding this last idea, which would make most participants of the debate fade and a good fragment of them retire out of fear, misinformation or ignorance. I have spent the last three years of my life gathering testimonies, not only from the victims, but also the victimizers, to articulate a verbal body to give to my daughter, who is only 5, for that time when she is old enough to make a judgement on the events that took place. I aspire to her taking interest in things that upset her own time, but few tools are being handed down by the institutions, and least of all you the survivors.

Whenever you want to, and in the circumstances of your choice, in the way you choose that is in benefit of love, my motherland, the best of the revolution and of sense, count on me for the debate.

But, Rey, you know very well they will never invite me.

Juan Pin

January 2007