Of Errors, Terrors and Horrors / Rosa María Rodríguez Torrado

“It is not about trying to forget everything that has happened, but to reread it newer understanding, precisely from experiences suffered, that only love can build, while hate produces destruction and ruin.”

– Pope John Paul II

I still remember the indignity and sadness generated by the terrorist attack against a Cuban airplane in Barbados in 1976 and how I went, of my own accord, to pay tribute to the 73 victims in the Plaza de la Revolucion. I am sure that many went spontaneously to demonstrate solidarity with the fallen, as I did, feeling saddened by this barbarism. The Cubans in the archipelago felt a great sense of brotherhood after terror pointed and fired at us, wounding us profoundly and demonstrating that hate, impotence and malignancy also result from bombs.

There are wounds that never heal, and losing a loved one to a criminal act is something that impedes the psychological recovery of family members and those close to them. But if this loss is a sad, cruel and irreparable action on one hand, it is much worse when the person who committed the act goes unpunished. It is then compounded by the Cuban authorities who constantly bring this up, not just to commemorate the event, but with propagandist political objectives. Moreover, because they intend to clarify their goals and explain to their followers why political inflexibility is needed, they repeatedly talk about the threat that emanates from the north, bringing a catechism of terror, sculpted in murderous plaster. They lie openly and repeatedly from the state leadership, conveniently casting disparaging generalizations about all of Cuba’s exiles, because this is the convenient narrative about an enemy who has “besieged the plaza”, guaranteeing a long, rigid and inflexible presence in power.

Manipulation of historical information — common practice among our national leaders — foments anger that divides, degrades, influences and exhausts people. No one should exacerbate hatred in order to justify coercion and repression. Rereading with new ideas, putting constructive strategies into practice that contribute to understanding, and healthy coexistence is the path toward common good.  Repeatedly reopening old wounds with belligerent manipulative intent, is a cruelty to society. In order for governments to be considered responsible, they should learn to end these practices; the Cuban government is no exception. Our relations with the Spanish government would not be the same if we had not forgiven and refocused on a more edifying vision, and instead brought up Valeriano Weyler‘s role in 1897 during the Cuban War of Independence. What would have become of the European Union with Germany — one of the region’s economic engines — if Israel and the world had not forgiven them for the Holocaust?

It seems inconsistent and unjust that our national leaders campaign to defend the rights of people all over the world, while ignoring the rights of their own compatriots. I urge then the eradication of any government that establishes and practices civic terrorism, without considering the rights of its own citizens. When the good of the people is not considered, but is rigidly ordered from the seat of government, the interests of both the people and the government become disassociated, leading to totalitarianism. There should be no room in modern society for terrorism — neither from governments that sow fear or those that violate the fundamental rights of its citizens — nor should there be any justification for any sort of crime. I raise my voice to demand a democratic coexistence that respects differences and in which the state guarantees the people’s rights, peace and pluralism.

Translated by: Erico

October 31 2011