Patria y Libertad: Homeland and Freedom / 14ymedio, Tania Bruguera

One of the events in Havana in the 9-day mourning period for Fidel Castro (EFE)
One of the events in Havana in the 9-day mourning period for Fidel Castro (EFE)

14ymedio, Tania Bruguera, Havana, 1 December 2016 — Today in Cuba, we start a new phase, a phase that requires us to transition (shift) from an anecdote to historic data, from rumor to research, from passion to facts from what was symbolically assumed to what was actually done.

Time has come for us to ask for that archives be opened, to know how many truths  were manufactured and  to what extent victories  were achieved, to know with certainty how many  Cubans have  died around the world, to understand what social progress we have made and  to learn which agreements the government has  made on our behalf.

The Cuban people have the right to know its history, all of it, and be able to draw their own conclusions.

Today Cubans have stopped being children waiting for orders.

However, refusing to be underestimated requires understanding  other people’s feelings, those that think and  feel differently. It means understanding that we are not always right and  that the goal of discussion  is not to win arguments but to clarify our ideas and send them out for consideration..

We need to stop  thinking that only our feelings  are valid because the project of The Revolution  has  been a different  experience for each and  every one of us, and  since they were experiences, all of them  are valid. There are things  to rescue and  things  to remove. It would be more interesting to see  how people have  dealt  with their experiences, what they have done with them, instead of denying   someone to feel in their own terms.

We need to start  saying  “no” to the things  we don’t like, to the things  that keeps us from feeling clean  and  honest, even  if this means losing a privileged position, because there’s no money,  no professional opportunity, no material comfort  that can  be compared to feeling free, to being  able to speak one´s  mind.

But the life project that we can create from now on is only possible if we allow ourselves to stop  having  double standard ethics, if we stop telling something to some people and then something different to others.

We have  an exceptional moment before us, not to defend a government or a position, but to create all together a vision for Cuba; one that  is not biased to either extreme,  a vision that can be a compilation of all our points  of view.

It is the time to create a new legal infrastructure that includes  respect for different  opinions and  stops political hate forever, that ensures that citizens’ preferences cannot be controlled by the government; that can be a space for fair and inclusive decisions.

It is the time to create a political infrastructure that guarantees that never again  a president can hold all powers. This has happened 3 times  in Cuba  since  1902.  There should never be another president who thinks he knows  better than  anyone, and what is better for us all.

This is the time to create a civic and social  infrastructure that includes everyone, that includes rights for everyone, that includes political dissent as a civic right,  that includes civic literacy.

It is the time to create an emotional infrastructure that nurtures room for mutual understanding, a structure that does not allow anything to horrify or minimize us.

A structure that allows solidarity  and  privacy,  individual rights and  social  rights where  the life we want to have is respected but also represents a common effort; a structure that allows truths  and  claims  from everyone, the majority but also the minority. A place  where  a humanist utopia  exists  but never  again  paranoia among its citizens, where emotions don’t compromise what is fair.

Today, there is a real task for Cubans to complete: to balance what we want to rescue and what we want to change. It is the time to stop whispering our hopes, it is time to stop being  afraid.

The best way to honor  our homeland and ourselves is not being submissive, not being a cynical nation,  never  again  being a nation  with different classes of Cubans, nor a place  from where  to leave,  but a place  where  life is a dignifying act  we are proud of.

Placing love, family and friendship above ideologies is the only way Cuba will be a nation again.

(English version from Tania Bruguera’s own site)