I was surprised when I compared myself to Teresa, one of the characters from Milan Kundera’s book ‘La Insoportable Levedad del Ser’ (The Unbearable Lightness of Being). In one of the scenes in the book Teresa takes some photos of the tanks in the Russian invasion of Prague to Switzerland and, instead of accepting them, the editor of an important magazine, saddened, shows the photos to a colleague who suggests the ‘pig-headed’ woman photograph cacti instead.
Something similar happened to me whenI started to promote the creation of an association focused on Cuban children, although instead of ‘photographing cacti’ they hoped that I’d throw myself at one of the prickly plants. No matter, that’s what happens with citizen activism in a place where the citizen is invisible.
Avoiding the troubles involved with my house and a state organisation, the steps were taken for the legalization of ACDEI (Cuban Association for the Development of Infant Education) and, shortly afterwards, we got the litigious and beloved documents which is recognised in Cuba as meaning ‘there exists no organization with the name and objectives of the Cuban Association for the Development of Infant Education’.
This has meant that the Ministry of Justice has bought time through not properly making things clear that the documentation we presented should have been directed ‘towards the organ, organism or state dependence which is related to the objectives and activities which the association will develop…’ based on that stipulated in Article 6, Chapter II of Law 54.
Supposing that the affair is resolved favourably thanks to the timely diligence of the Judicial Association of Cuba, forseeable legal obstacles still remain. Law No.54 ‘Law of Associations of the Republic of Cuba’ has certain regulations which strike fear into the instigators of a civil society. One of those is in Chapter I Article 5:
‘Associations must have 30 members as a minimum, except in exceptional cases in which the Ministry of Justice will be able to authorise their setting up and running with a figure lower than that specified above’. There’s no need to evenbother with Articles 7 and 8. They deal with the sporadic set up of Civil Society organizations.
We shouldn’t rule out the possibility that ACDEI will not be legalized, given the existence of the aforementioned Article 5, as well as the ‘inconvenience’ of activists with their selfless work and attitude, without intending to, calling into question the current work of play groups (state nurseries).
We should point out that private nursery schools have worked in Cuba for years, even though they are receiving more attention at present because of the economic situation in Cuba, without dismissing the work of ACDEI and this blog Plapliplo. In investigations that we’ve carried out and that are available online this topic is covered in detail.
Kundera’s Teresa refused to photograph cacti and was considered ‘limited’,’anachronistic’…We’re all like this, we of the ACDEI. Instead of thinking about earning money, we waste time in training lifeguards for our nurseries, children’s toys and furniture etc.
Although we’re far from saints, the words of St Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, comfort us:
‘If you’ve said that you’re an idealist, a dreamer, a madman, a defender of impossible aims and a friend of lost causes and, even so, you carry on…may you know that you are not alone’.
God is our judge and companion. He will decide the winner. Those who win are those who tell the truth and only that.
Translated by: Sian Creely
January 6 2012