The ‘Apartheid’ of Abel Prieto

The author reproaches Abel Prieto for his July 18th article in ’Granma’. (EFE)

14ymedio biggerDear Mr. Prieto, if the intention of your article published on July 18, 2019 in the Granma newspaper was a recommendation for the public to listen to Mr. Fernando Ortiz and to be nurtured by his work — as reflected in your last sentence, although using other words — I am of the opinion that you did not need to insult a figure of the Cuban intelligentsia, whether it pleased him or not, and to attack all Cubans in general by dividing us into types or sects, according to your own definition of “external cubanidad*” and “cubanía*.

You warn us that there are “rumberos (musicians) and entertainers, who master a spicy repertoire of Cubanisms, enjoy rum, dominoes, good tobacco, strong coffee, laugh at Pepito’s jokes, cry at a bolero and always wear a Virgin of Caridad del Cobre medal around their neck . They are active practitioners of external cubanidad, but they are essentially oblivious to cubanía.” And in addition to this, you previously call them “annexationists.” [people who want Cuba to become part of the United States]

You show us in this way in your article a detailed description of citizens of our country who, apparently, for you do not represent what they have to represent having been born in Cuba. Even if, you warn, and according to my interpretation of the previous quotation extracted from your text, they carry out human activities equal or similar to the rest of those who do exercise “cubanía.”

It is frightening to think that the fascists disqualified Jews in the twentieth century in the same way, proclaiming publicly and macabrely that even if the Jews were human beings, they were not “equal” to them.

To hide your disrespectful qualifications a little more, you do not dare to call them bastards or anti-Cuban, but disqualify them with a little more elaborate but equally scandalous expletives, concluding, in other words, that there are people who exercise “external cubanidad ” and not “cubanía.

It is not for pure pleasure that you, mischievously and voluntarily, hide behind the thoughts of other intellectuals mentioned in the text, such as Elías Entralgo or Ortiz himself, in addition to using copious insults against Mr. Cabrera Infante to justify the unscrupulous launch of your own abominable conclusions, cited above.

I wonder why it is that you dare in your article to denigrate us in such a way, all Cubans, for some thinking differently from others. I suspect that certainly in the current international context you would not dare to launch a public statement against Puerto Ricans, stating that some are and others are not, unless you suffer from a severe neurological problem.

Just look at the result of some disrespectful phrases that were not well received by the Puerto Rican citizenry, which, unlike your daring and excessive public letter, were contained in the private messages of their president and provoked a mass protest that ended with his rapid resignation.

I also suspect that your boldness comes from your great feeling of impunity derived from your job and your current position and status, and that, for obvious reasons, this feeling is closely linked to the cowardice of the current Cuban rulers who use sticks to repress any peaceful protest of citizens against any of their untouchable party faithful, which, following the guidelines of Article 4, Paragraph 4 of the new Constitution, pushes and encourages any Cuban to fight by any means against any ‘other’ that opposes an order issued by the Communist Party although such opposition is peaceful, such as carrying a discreet poster on the sidewalk, or writing a press article.

Mr. Prieto, as those who know well the injustices of this life say, the jailer is brave in the world of prisoners.

I hope that your article is of much better benefit to you than the rest, and that, when you reread it, it will never produce the bad taste that it produces and will produce in those of us who will have the miserable bad luck of encountering this shameful page and reading your public segregationist thoughts in the future.

Guamacaro, Canadá, 29 July 2019

*Translator’s note: Taking the definitions from a Cuban government website: “Cubanidad — the quality of being Cuban; Cubanía — the vocation of being Cuban.” An English equivalent might be “Cubanness.” See also: All About Cubanía


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