Plowing the Sea? / Fernando Damaso

Fernando Damaso, 25 May 2020 — When Cuba’s President asks for “a mental shift, a return to values, and initiative implementation,” he is “plowing the sea.”*  These changes do not come from individuals, like how one changes a shirt, a tie, or a pair of shoes, but from basic objectives. Here one would need to speak, in reality, about a changes of individuals with a retrograde mentality, for others with new mentalities, aligned with the actual necessities.  In socialism, this is not easy, because within it positions tend to be long-term or lifelong.

The same President demonstrates a contradiction between his speech and his actions: asks for change and at the same time describes himself as “continuity.” What “continuity?”  Maybe from all the mistakes and misdoings during the last six decades. “Continuity” of the same stagnant and immobile mentality, responsible for the misfortunes and misery of Cuba? He needs to speak clearly and without so many idiomatic subterfuges.

For there to be real and sustained economic changes, there must also be political changes. Without these, the former are practically impossible to bring to fruition.

Some believe that I waste my time raising these things, because the State is a monolithic wall, which does not accept suggestions, unless they arise from itself.

In part, I share this opinion, and in part I do not. I think that, even within the Government, mostly made up of people conforming to its ideology, that is people of proven fidelity, fossilized mentality and a lot of political fanaticism, there are intelligent people, who are capable of seeing existing problems and questioning current ways of solving them, although they cannot express it publicly and, even less, decisively influence its correction. To consider all leaders and officials as incapable would be absurd.

I think that also other people (economists, sociologists, historians, analysts, etc.), for these same reasons, do what I do. And it is good that this is the case! It represents an advance in relation to previous times, where all the means of expression were monopolized by the State and it only published what suited its convenience.

Today the social networks allow us to express our opinions and say what we consider should or should not be done, as well as criticize and question what is wrong and applaud what is correct. All this, regardless of the repressive risk that this represents in Cuba.

If “we are all Cuba,” we must all participate in issues that affect, negatively or positively, the destiny of our country, with equal rights and duties, without exclusions of any kind.

*Translator’s note: A phrase attributed to Simon Bolivar, meaning engaging in useless action.