Raul’s Reforms Turn us Into Lice / Jose Hugo Fernandez

Cuban-Americans arrive at Havana; photo taken from the internet

HAVANA, Cuba — The announcement of new email and internet navigation services that directives of ETECSA — the state (and only) telephone company in Cuba — have just made public confirms the regime’s tendency to design each measure of its “progressive reforms” having always as their objective the Cubans of the diaspora.  In recent times not even a single economic liberalization has been produced that is not based on the money of Cuban emigres, and the success of which does not depend entirely on them.

The circumstance is paradoxical: those whom our bosses obliged to flee from the country have become not only one of the main sources of economic sustenance for its power, but also the cornerstone of a new political strategy with which they today try to clean up their image before the world.

Any barely awake observer could take the fact as a key in order to understand the failure of the Revolution. And not only that. Also to corroborate the outrageous nature of the so-called Raulist reforms, delineated in order to manipulate international opinion, while they exhibit scorn and disrespect towards Cubans, whether they live on or outside of the Island.

Should we then reject the measure?  Each with his skin makes drums.  I approve it, in spite of the regrets. And in agreement with the first reactions that I have observed in my surroundings, it seems that there are many in my case.

That leads to another paradox: in the same way in which our bosses adapted the people to depend almost absolutely on their guardianship, today, now that the systemic crisis keeps them from continuing to adopt us as foolish children, they pass the hot potato to emigration. “But, look, only in respect to economic dependency, without making any allowances in the political field, and counting a priori on those who here or there are going to come along for the changes without changes that they (the political elite) are planning.”

A friend, with whom I conversed about the matter, commented in jest that the best thing that President Obama could do right now to support our aspirations for democracy and progress is to sign an exceptional decree giving salary increases for all Cubans who live in the United States.

It is a joke that also contains a paradox, and a very serious one. Thanks to that delusional decree signed by Obama, emigrants and exiles could continue being the support of the Raulist “progress” which, sooner rather than later, will turn against the regime itself, because each step, however minimal and mediocre it may be, opens a gap through which people from here look, explore and know the real world, something that without a doubt will end up changing their expectations.

That, it is clear, should not keep us from visualizing a last paradox, or two, the saddest:

1) It’s unfreakingbelievable that after confronting the drama that emigration or exile implies, those on the other side have to break their backs in order to supply even the minimum necessary for the relatives who remain here.  2) It shakes this metamorphosis that they have imposed on Cubans on the island: we’ve been transformed from from measly parasites of the State to useless parasites of our loved ones.

We now know that the Cubans of the future will not be like Che, but will we be able to avoid in time becoming like lice, after having permitted parasitism to become a trait of our national identity?

Cubanet, 29 January 2014, Jose Hugo Fernandez

Translated by mlk