Overseas Cubans, the Most Faithful of Friends / Juan Juan Almeida

The leaders of the revolutionary government and of the Cuban state enjoy an odd isolation in which they live isolated (I believe redundancy is good) from the rest of society, thereby generating and manipulating a morbid curiosity in which many people wonder if there is any difference between an imperialist tycoon and a communist bigwig.

Although not impossible, it is in fact very difficult to enter into this protected ghetto. Cuba’s leaders socialize together, relax together and mate together. There are cases – and not isolated ones – in which the wife of some military official ends up as the casual acquaintance of the comrade General. She does this not in pursuit of pleasure but because it presents a better game plan. He is a widower and has a doctorate in Marxism, so he understands perfectly well the meaning of “communal property.”

The sad though understandable fact is that certain dissidents (and for now we will set aside the unseemly self-confidence of the top leadership) marginalize themselves for various reasons and live inside a bubble. I am not unaware of the real danger they face, but I do not confuse it with the emotional aspects. I am, however, certain that, if one wants to have a real impact in political life, such self-confinement is a mistake because, although it protects them, it also makes them invisible.

I never tire of saying that the Cuban government has for years shown that it knows all too well how to deal with groups and organizations, hiding behind its well-worn and exaggerated status as a victim with power. For years it has tried, almost successfully, to convince us that it is confronting a giant. What it does not know is how to deal with is individuality.

The powerful in Cuba are dividing up the wall. They say they are creating openings, but these are only cracks. The scenario for them is not favorable. The promised fantasy of a bright future is fading in light of a non-existent economy.

Social networks and cellular telephones put an end to that. They have revealed to the world what for a long time it was forbidden to see, helping to lift the virgin’s sacred veil. But being stuck in front of a bright computer screen seems to me to be a mistake. I do not think now is the time to get our concepts confused. Individuality is not the same thing as individualism. And being prominent is not the same as being heroic.

At the daybreak of a summer that promises to be very hot, and after years of waiting without any visible sign of dawn, we can thank God that few Cubans are inclined to be the faithful penitents of a new demigod, who with bland words and grandiloquent sentences would attempt, at his peril, to use citizens’ rights as a marketing ploy.

I believe the more important role for the current dissident movement is to break through the circle of exclusion and to try to merge with the rest of society to economically empower themselves.

Today, despair seems to be the strongest of enemies; overseas Cubans, the most faithful of friends.

February 22 2013