The Eye Behind the Door

The eye you see is not
the eye because you see it,
it is the eye because it sees you.

Antonio Machado (Proverbios y Cantares)

In Cuba, we often visit homes where their residents hang, on the inside of the main door, the image of an eye. It is a symbol associated with African-originated religions, such as one that shows a tongue traversed by a dagger.

There are several eyes on our country and its citizens; Foreign and native eyes, focused on the civil society that emerges and on the changes that are urgently needed in all aspects of national life. I don’t mean to lean on beliefs to illustrate my point of view about these themes: they have just been ingrained in our reality for decades now and call many people’s attention.

At present, the authorities are immersed in the implementation of their “procedures for good intentions,” a plan that they refer to as “an updating program” of its model, and in which they enumerate what they understand still needs to be accomplished—solely on the economic front; Nothing to put at risk their sacrificed and historical status—without a specification on how to achieve it, nor the steps and deadlines for its application. Cuban television reporters show us, via their informative audiovisuals, the representatives of the higher hierarchy of government involved in constant reprimands against their municipal and provincial cadres, who have either not advanced in the process or have hardly done so. How to put forward what, up until now, has been taboo, could very well be one of the questions.

In assemblies of “moral table-slammings” and “shouted, public scoldings,” it seems evident that not only frustration abounds, but also despair. As they have built a government based on the “price of propaganda” and on looking for the straw in the American and, in general, all other capitalist countries’ eye. But they disregarded looking into their own country, and, today, in spite of the quality of life enjoyed in Cuba up until 1959, and of the human potential it possesses, we are like a discordant Polyphemus, lacking in freedoms and democracy in full modern times and looking clumsily to reestablish a more just order to rescue our rights and all the constitutional guarantees we enjoyed when they came to power. Ambiguous procedures are not needed: What is needed is that they acknowledge they were wrong and that they revert what they changed for the worst with the purpose of subjecting society and cling to power forever.

Their constant preaching is not fair, nor is the fact that they refuse to acknowledge their role in the economic, political and social mess that, for decades now, has lacerated Cuba. After so many years of programs and suggestions from the part of the Cuban political opposition, it becomes clear to us today how they have been incorporating some of those ideas in the fore-mentioned pamphlet, even when they don’t know this opposition and condemn it to illegality. But this time around, the authorities appear to have a real will to hop on the train of much-needed reforms. We are going from an almost paralyzed “gradualism” with which they lulled us, to a galloping transition that seems to be conditioned by the illness of the Venezuelan president, even when they don’t admit it.

But a real process of reform in Cuba, if it is to last, must ensure an authentic state of law and cement itself in the acknowledgement and legitimacy of political options. Even if they traverse our tongue with a dagger, we must continue in our insistence on these fundamental premises for the health of our nations, and in keeping “our eye” focused on our national life. Because there is still much to do.

Translated by T.

August 9 2011