One Hundred and Ten Years / Fernando Dámaso

Photo: Rebeca

Tomorrow, the 20th, will mark 110 years of the establishment of the Republic. Over here there will be no official celebrations and, if the date is spoken of I’m sure it will be to discredit it, as has been happening over the past half century.

However, the Republic, with its deficiencies, excesses, problems and complexities, but also with its achievements, represents fifty-six years of work and dedication of generations of Cubans in the task of building a nation still, unfortunately, unfinished.

Fifty-six years of the Republic were dismantled and thrown overboard in January 1959 with improvisations and absurdities and, also unfortunately, without replacing them with something valuable and enduring, in the last fifty-four years.

Today, in the government sphere, the word of the day is “to recover.” In practice, everything must be recovered but what is significant is that this recovery doesn’t refer to things from recent years, but rather from the Republic.

The railroad that must be recovered is that of the Republic, and not that of Socialism, always inefficient and disastrous. The productivity we want to recover is that the Republic and not that of Socialism, which never existed. The discipline and morality that we aspire to recover are those of the Republic and not those of Socialism, which have been conspicuous in their absence. The list could be endless, but a small sample is sufficient.

If this is so and constitutes an undeniable reality, although officially they don’t want to recognize it, it means that in the years of the Republic much more was achieved than in those of Socialism, and more serious work was done to build a prosperous and modern nation.

Ultimately, the values that exists come from the Republic and it is those that have been maintained and could not be destroyed during these years, despite multiple attempts. If we made a tour of the city of Havana, we would find that most of the avenues, streets, parks, buildings, hospitals, schools, museums, cinemas, theaters, shops, etc., are due to the Republic. In addition, they were so well constructed that, despite the neglect and lack of maintenance, they survive.

The same is true in other towns and cities. The Central Highway and the Capitol building, built more than eighty years ago, are two fine examples, compared to the disastrous National Highway and Conference Center in a permanent state of being repaired. And this, according to official propaganda, before being robbed blind! It seems that now, in addition to “the diversion of resources,*” it was badly built. Examples abound but don’t bear repeating.

The Republic is an unforgettable milestone in the history of the nation. Congratulations on the hundred and tenth anniversary of its establishment!

*Translator’s note: the “diversion of resources” is the phrase commonly used to refer to the theft endemic in Cuban society where people steal from their jobs, in many cases for bare survival, in others for self-enrichment. A similar term in constant use is “to resolve,” which means getting by however one can, that is with recourse to the black market and other illegal activities. As, for all practical purposes, it is impossible to survive in Cuba — to have a roof over one’s head and food to eat — without at a minimum trading in the black market, the system forces everyone to be a criminal.

May 19 2012