The Real "Outraged" / Eugenio Leal

No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved. Matthew 9:16-17

For some years now I have exchanged views with some of the principal apologists in Cuba, of the so-called “Socialism of the 21st Century,” and I know the members of the Group called “Critical Observatory Network,” which brings together those who proclaim the reformulation of the Socialist system.

From the first time, at a conference I attended in the now defunct Institute of Biblical and Theological Studies (ISEBIT),in my rebuttal I referred to the Gospel of St. Matthew. Because how can one conceive that a system that has proven to be unworkable, because it goes against the essence of being human, can be redesigned and supported in the XXI century?

The proposals and related approaches of the alleged “Socialism of the XXI Century,” reminds me of an experiment conducted more than forty years ago by a married couple, both psychologists, at Harvard University. It earned them the Nobel Prize for demonstrating the mechanisms of perception.

For the experiment they took a litter of newborn kittens and divided then into two groups. One group was reared in a room where all visual stimuli were horizontal. The other in which the stimuli were vertical. When both groups grew, respectively, some perceived only the horizontal elements in the environment while the others perceived only the vertical.

In Cuba, from nursery school to university, we receive a political-ideological training designed to demonstrate the benefits of socialism. Thus, many people are indoctrinated to see only the socialist forms of organizing society. In contrast to the reality. That is, they perceive what they are conditioned to see.

On Saturday, May 12, the “Critical Observatory Network” called for a rally in support of the “Outraged” of the world. It was to be held at 2 pm at Karl Marx Park, located on the corner of Carlos III and Belascoain in Central Havana. Given that the day before the 11th Havana Biennial — an Art exhibition filled with performances and other events — had begun, I decided to go to see the performance they had prepared.

On arriving, I was aware of the presence of police and people in civilian clothes around the site, which I told me that the political police was guarding the place. Knowing that my friend Miriam Celaya was also planning to attend, I looked for her and saw that the police had arrested her. I went to her.

This caused the people dressed as civilians, who directed the operation of State Security, to order me to stop me, as well, and they asked me for my mobile phone. On my refusing to give it to them, as they were in plain clothes and did not have such powers, they handed me to another one dressed as a cop, although he did not have any identifying badge, and he pushed me up against a patrol car. There I stood, and with my hands up, feet wide, while they took my backpack, mobile phone, camera and video recorder and I put me in the patrol car.

In the back seat to my right sat Miriam and on the left sat a policeman. I told Miriam: don’t worry that we go as a couple, as in Noah’s ark. We were taken to the Playa on Calle 42 and Avenida 33. where they stopped the car and told us to get out. They gave us our property and tore out of there, gone. Miriam and I wondered, what do we do? And I told her, “On the other corner is the “El Alamo” cafeteria, let’s go have a beer and cool off.

I’ve described because it happened to show that the repressors are very worried about public discontent in the streets of the city. While walking with Miriam, the police who were taking her repeated: nothing can happen here, nothing can happen here, like a mantra.

Members of the “Critical Observatory Network” were just 12 apologists for the “Socialism of the 21st Century.” Which they summarized in two separate posters: “If you think like a bourgeois you will live like a slave” and “Down with the capitalists.” It turned out, that after we were taken they sang the anthem “The Internationale”. Everything took less than 15 minutes.

What do they fear? That 68% of citizens, according to a 2011 survey by the Veritas Group, believe that we must change the economic-political-social. That the truly “outraged,” in Cuba, take the initiative and, instead of a XXI century socialism, they demand loudly on the avenues, streets and parks of the city the structural changes that our society requires.

May 15 2012