Useless? Without Virtue? / Luis Felipe Rojas

Photo: LFelipe Rojas

An event has shaken the forums on Cuba and Cubans lately. The trips abroad of some Cuban opponents of the regime has focused attention on the tendency of we Cubans to be who we are: passionate, extremists, relaxed, dazzling, contemptuous, in short, human. But there are three women in particular I want to talk about: Yoani Sánchez, Berta Soler, and Rosa María Payá. Each one stretched the cord until it broke, from one side and the other, of Tyrians and Trojans.

In order of appearance, the linguistic slip and use (perhaps incorrect) of irony in a battlefield (the media) where gaps of misunderstanding are not allowed, unless for the use of their own machinations, painted with the first scandal the multi-award winning girl from Factor Street. All the posts she wrote over five years, taken together, didn’t generate the flood of comments as great as her 15 seconds of “fame,” and that’s bad… but it’s good. If anyone really doubted that Yoani could grab the attention of the world, they were as wrong as she was.The verbal stumbling had the same company of cheers and repudiation. We all learned the lesson, she not to again trade her communication tools, we to demonstrate once again our propensity for intolerance, and Europe and Washington to serve as a clear path to show themselves exquisite hosts.

For her part, Rosa María Payá is in, probably, the most delicate moment in her political career, Cuba doesn’t know it. Even the Human Rights activists don’t know, the Independent Civil Society (not forgetting that the opposition is not exclusively in Havana… far from it) and the contacts with the movement she hurriedly inherited (the Christian Liberation Movement) have not taken a couple of trips from the capital of the country. But the strength with which she has led the fight to denounce the death of her father, Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, and the activist Harold Cepero Escalante, had demonstrated the fiber she is made of, seasoned with three ingredients very dangerous for her adversaries: clarity of thought, ease of communication, and a clinging to the truth that could put the Castro regime in a position as delicate as that it faced three years ago with the death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo.

Berta Soler Fernandez brings the experience of a decade plotting strategic actions, reckless and brave against a repressive machine that went down in the annals of the twentieth century and has taken the lead in the twenty-first. Seconding the peerless Laura Pollán was a difficult test, but she took it on with ease in ten years of the struggle with the Ladies in White. Steering the mythical and effective female group, working as a team and gaining their blind trust was the final exam, conquered cum laudem. Berta Soler has deployed her agenda on the old continent as one who knows every word, every phrase the political prisoners whispered in her ear, the spirit of Pollán and the Ladies in White who continued protesting in Havana as long as she represents them. Soler has flatly denied having political ambitions, she has focused on Human Rights and with simplicity and bravery continues to support her ideals.

Three voices, three women called to tell the story and they are narrating it in a tone of voice that anyone of us would wish.

22 March 2013