The Same Panic / Lilianne Ruíz

Yesterday it rained a lot but that wasn’t why I didn’t go with my daughter to Paulita’s birthday, the youngest daughter of my friend Luz. I panicked being on the street with my daughter yesterday. Maybe it’s crazy. But the idea of being outdoors, in the middle of the street, and there might be a disturbance, a riot, like the Maleconazo*, I simply couldn’t go out. One learns to recognize it,this is one of the worst situations you could imagine. Why does it have to be like that? Why does there have to be a sacrifice, like a magic ritual, so you can have rights and freedom?

All this panic was set off by the Flotilla** in international waters launching fireworks for democracy. I appreciate that they remember us from exile, and I will always admire those who have been willing to take to the streets and face repression. Facing the violence of the paramilitaries of the Blas Roca Contingent*** and others, beating, punching, breaking heads like in August 1994. And the same people who are compelled by hunger to spread terror, come back shouting Viva la Revolucion!

But this morning, when I saw that everything was continuing as usual, that the situation was as rough as always, that the Castro dictatorship wouldn’t pardon them even if they died of hunger, I still couldn’t calm down. Never mind that no one was beaten, but what a shame that everything remains the same.

Dictatorships need routine. I despair about the world situation if it’s anything like what they tell us on the News, enthusiastically announcing that once again the world is bipolar, that state dictatorships of the left are elected by the citizens to escape the evils of capitalism. They renounce freedom for the promise of equality, a miserable way perhaps to hide so much envy of the proletariat. Equality is the death of freedom.

There should be a way to create new nationalities, and all the communists in Europe could come and live in Cuba and practice the Castro religion. And we Cubans who want to be free of this humiliating nightmare could go to Europe.

But countless emigrants exist who have a nostalgia for the place of their birth. To be banished because of a rabid situation, that begs for any change, is not a totally happy condition. The whole situation gives me migraines and nausea, but I don’t want to be like before, victimized but docile.

It makes me panic that I cam going to write, with my poor expressive resources, in my homemade blog. Someone far from one who feels under a situation that seems to force you to violence to make some change happen, I could decide that I don’t deserve freedom because I don’t want to get it with the edge of a machete, as has been stated so many times here as what we did in the 19th Century.

I don’t know how we are going to get freedom, and detox ourselves from the bad taste and spiritual misery of all those years. I simply don’t know, but I will not give up the dream.

Translator’s notes:
*The Maleconazo was a spontaneous riot along the Malecon in Havana, in August 1994.  It was suppressed.
**Flotilla: A flotilla of small boats from Florida who sailed close to Cuba, but remained in international waters, and set off fireworks as show of support for democracy in Cuba.
***Blas Roca Contingent: A paramilitary group named after the founder of the Cuban Communist Party

December 13 2011