Fernando Dámaso, 21 November 2018 — The theme of national identity, along with that of sovereignty and independence, form the favourite triad of the official idiotology. Everyone talks about that.
National identity is not an ideological abstraction, but a historical reality, which comes loaded with its baggage of events and personalities from the colonial era up to the present day, without artificial black holes or spaces edited out for political convenience.
It is made up of the good, the bad, and the ordinary. Intelligent people and stupid people. People who get things done, and those who don’t. Pimps, prostitutes, thieves, liars, and decent people, of either sex. Also, people with different political, ideological, economic, social, sexual opinions, sportsmen and artists. This mixture of different people makes up the national identity.
No-one has done more to attack the national identity than the regime founded in January 1959, dislocating the national, provincial and municipal structures, with absurd changes and transformations to economic, political and social levels.
Now, our towns and villages aren’t anything like the way they used to be, with only little bits surviving which have been saved by municipal and provincial historians. Popular traditions have been lost or adulterated, all the economic and commercial structures have been taken apart, along with their well-known factories, businesses and establishments. Most of them disappearing, or given new names without meaning or popular support.
The streets and avenues have not escaped the ideological cruelty, losing their familiar historic names in favour of less important ones, or those indicative of cheap political messing about. Nor have the arts or sport escaped, with renowned figures, who form a legitimate part of the national identity in their own right, wiped out. The same thing has happened to education and health centres.
A time traveller from the 19th century or the first half of the 20th, would find themselves completely lost in today’s Cuba, with almost no discernible references to the past or to those who constructed it or graced it with their presence.
Everything has been replaced with stuff done in the last sixty years. A monster born of chaotic thinkers and worse doers, elevated into decision-makers, ruling by economic and political power, in the name of an obsolete ideology and a failed system, which has destroyed the country, converting it into a sad residue of what it used to be.
Translated by GH