The Musketeers of the Culture / Fernando Damaso

Fernando Damaso, 14 July 2015 —  For some time now, certain “musketeers” of the culture, somewhat advanced in years–headed by a D’Artagnan of hirsute mane, addicted to Chinese pomade manufactured in Vietnam–have assumed the ruling party’s defense of the national identity and the history of the country.

The members of this group, taking advantage of all the space generously provided to them by the media, have started a campaign against the so-called “weekly packet” (a bundle of movies, episodes of series and soap operas, musicals, and other foreign weekly programs recorded on DVD), which private sellers purvey to Cubans as a way to escape the insufferable boredom of the national TV channels that are loaded with political diatribes). They propose to substitute it with a “greater packet” (a similar item, but containing Cuban programs). In addition, they bow before the official version of history, and the rejection of foreign symbols used by many young people.

To defend the national identity, the country’s history and patriotic symbols would be commendable, if it weren’t for the gross manipulation, crude political indoctrination, and chauvinism in their actions.

It is notable that these battle-hardened “musketeers” do not care about the loss of legitimate Cuban traditions, nor about the improper and disrespectful use of the national flag, absurdly displayed throughout the entire year inside shops, farmers’ markets, beer gardens and other state-run establishments–as well as on streets and buildings.

Many of these flags, subject to neglect and the inclemencies of the weather, end up as literal rags, with nobody to take them down and incinerate them, as should be done, according to established custom. Neither do they say anything about the paper flags that are utilized profusely during political events and which later, along with other garbage, are spread all over the streets and sidewalks, and are trampled without the least respect accorded to them by the passersby.

Something similar occurs with the national anthem, used frivolously and without the least reverence in any type of activity, in the face of indifference from the audience–and with the national shield, practically forgotten and absent.

This misuse of patriotic symbols throughout too many years has made it so that many of our citizens, regardless of age, have lost respect for them.

The task of these “musketeers” is not any easy one, especially when we find them participating in certain activities far removed from the values and ethics that they preach for others. To persuade, one must first set an example.

Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison