Reinaldo Escobar, 14YMEDIO, Havana | May 21, 2014
The economic restrictions imposed by the United States on the government of Cuba are called “embargo” in one political pole and “blockade” in the other one. The country where such measures originate can be called “the imperialism” (or “the empire”), or by its actual names: United States, USA, and North America. The team of people that makes the main decisions in Cuba is called “the Cuban government,” “the authorities” or the “Castroite regime,” as well as other flattering names such as “the Revolution’s historic generation” or unflattering ones such as “the Castro brothers’ dictatorship.”
The term “revolution” is sometimes written with a capital R, mostly if it has another name attached to it: French Revolution, Industrial Revolution, Cuban Revolution. In the 1980s, in order to refer to the process that Lenin headed in Russia in 1917, it was almost mandatory to use the following formula: “The Great October Socialist Revolution.” In fact, this was the name given to a sugarcane combine factory in Holguín. In our case, one can opt for the most affected formulas, such as “the process initiated in 1959” if one does not want to use the noun “revolution.”
Those of us dedicated to writing about Cuban topics are constantly subjected to the scrutiny of our critics based on the terminology that we choose. What should I call Fidel Castro Ruz? Should I call him “our invincible commander in chief”? The simple and loving “Fidel,” or the distant “Castro”? Once, in the middle of a brainstorm, someone suggested “the hyena of Birán” and the suggestion stood as a joke. Perhaps it would be appropriate to call him “the Cuban ex-president,” but neither extreme likes it.
Now that we face the prospect of beginning a new journalistic experience with intentions of objectivity and moderation, we find ourselves trapped in the damned circumstance of terminology that, like water to the island, surrounds us everywhere. It is easy for a panel member on the Round Table to use labels such as “the Miami terrorist mafia,” “the media war against Cuba,” and others lacking as much imagination as they lack any sense. They are paid to do that.
Nevertheless, how could we capture in one word the millions of Cubans who for varied reasons have decided to live outside their country? Should we say “exile,” “emigration” or “diaspora”? It is obvious that we will not say “scum” no matter how unexpected (treasonous) was their leaving this oven (melting pot), where we were manipulated (formed) as trash (the New Man).
In this launch, full of mishaps and emotions, we would like to make clear that each author owns his or her own terminology, as long as it does not trespass the most elementary limits of respect. This space can accommodate passion, all passions, but not insult. To the most sensitive, we beg for tolerance, for words can be the material wrappings of thought, but not the prison of ideas.
 The Round Table or la Mesa Redonda de Reflexión is a political “orientation” TV program in Cuba.