CUBA, A NATION ON THE RUN
Sixty-three years after a project that was presented as the redemption of the humble and as the nation of equality and justice, we begin this year 2022 with a country on the run, with a nation that is bleeding to death, as aplace where there is no future. The majority solution is to escape.
Of that utopia, not even the project remains. The dreams of millions of Cubans have become a daily nightmare. Redemption never came. Equality was never achieved, but now the differences between millions of Cubans and a small group of them having access to everything, which denies the rest of the nation, are more evident and humiliating. Of a distributive justice never achieved, only a fossil of rationing and a hundred inventions to distribute misery remain.
The small group that makes the decisions tries, unsuccessfully, to disguise as socialist the return to a system of savage capitalism but without efficient work, without labor guarantees and without the Rule of Law, which does not even work for those who invented it. They have no need for it asthey have been living for a long time in that other system, the one they criticize, they condemn, the unjust, the worst as they claim. This small group does not escape because they live in a bubble alienated from any objective reality. That is why the official discourse suffers from sucha level of estrangement that the overwhelming majority of Cubans have chosen not to listen to it, to turn off the TV, to take refuge in the soap operaspart the «package», (copies of foreign shows brought privately every week from abroad,) and those who can, in a few moments of expensive and lame Internet.
Millions of Cubans live in endless agony, like the close relatives of terminal patient suffering an incurable disease neither improving nor dying. Such is the time that Cuba lives today. Thishuge majority also suffers from an imposed and meticulous alienation: it is all about being forced to scramble, to struggle, to beg for insufficient daily quotas just to survive, to take a breather before restarting the agony all over again. Suchintentional alienation absorbs everyone’s energies, takes up every moment of life, and places the citizenry in a mad race to nowhere. It is the race for the crumbs that makes us dependent on the State. It is the mechanism so that we cannot think, so that we do not have peace or time to be normal, to create, to demand, to propose. It is a daily and induced spiritual asphyxia. Those in power who do not want to open up the system know it, and those of us who need to live and demand change know it. Hundreds of thousands of Cubans expressed it on July 11, 2021, and millions of Cubans express it in their daily complaints, each time louder and without fear.
In the face of this reality there are three main alternatives:
– The small group that manages to climb up into the bubble of those who have access to everything.
– Another small group that remains here, working to change this situation.
– And a great majority that only thinks of fleeing, escaping, wherever, however.
It seems at least asymmetrical or hypocritical, to worry only about migrations in Europe or in the Mediterranean, without even mentioning, just mentioning, the millions of Cubans who are escaping from the «paradise» in which, those blind and deaf, still hope or even try to build, against human nature, in their own developed countries. No stone will be left unturned. For 63 years, in a sea smaller than the Mediterranean, in the Straits of Florida, in the jungles of South America, in the Via Crucis of Central America, and in the most remote places of the world, Cubans have been escaping for more than half a century, and then Venezuelans and Nicaraguans for two decades and more.
The political, economic, and social scandal produced by a totalitarian, authoritarian or populist system, mimicking the former, seems to be treated as something «normal» only in regions of the so-called Third World. It would seem that emigrants from the so-called «banana republics» do not cause the same effect in Europe or North America as those caused by other migratory flows.
Let us look inside our country, let us palliate the agony of the survivor for a few minutes of serious reflection, and let us meditate:
– When from a country an unstoppable bloodletting is taking place among its children regardless of sex, creed or social situation, something serious is going on.
– When it is not only an economic crisis, but a permanent and growing state of unbearable oppression or of unmeasured repression or of exchanging prison for exile, something very serious and unacceptable is happening.
– When the exits of all kinds are closed and more than forty towns explode with thousands of people in the streets without any organization or structured call, shouting Freedom, Homeland and Life, something very serious, unacceptable, and irreversible is happening.
– When instead of listening to the clamor of their own people, those who have arrogated to themselves the responsibility to lead, order combat, resistance, repression and long prison sentences, something very serious, unacceptable, irreversible, and of urgent solution is happening; change cannot be postponed.
This is happening right now in Cuba. This and more, something that does not fit in an editorial. The unspeakable agony has reached all the ends of the earth. Its inhabitants of the world expresstheir solidarity for a while. And this is to be appreciated. But it is up to us, Cubans inside and outside, who form the only Cuban nation, to take up the very serious and unpostponable responsibility of exercising, in a thousand peaceful ways, our sovereignty as citizens.
We say it clearly: change cannot be postponed, it is inevitable, it is urgent. The longer it is delayed, the worse it will be. A new social pact among all Cubans is strictly necessary, without change fraud, without dialogue fraud. With the inclusion of all, with a true dialogue with observers, mediators and international guarantors, and a peaceful and structural change that opens the hope and confidence of Cubans in the destiny of this archipelago.
It is ethically, politically, and socially inadmissible that those who run a country cause their fellow citizens to flee their land. This is an eloquent plebiscite. When a people flee enmasse, the need and urgency of change is evident and obligatory. It is neither lawful nor ethical for the authorities to contemplate leaving the country as a solution to the protest or nonconformity of their people. Banishment or the negotiation of imprisonment for definitive departure are resources of past times and surpassed by the conscience of humanity. Not only are they illicit, but they are crimes against humanity.
The scandal of a country on the run, of a nation bleeding to death, will only be resolved by making the systemic and structural change that opens Cuba to democracy, progress, and full and effective integration into the international community. The exodus is not unstoppable, it will stop when the children of Cuba can make their future here. When the reconstruction of this country attracts its children scattered around the world to invest and raise up their homeland, as they have done and even better in an extraordinary way in all corners of the Diaspora.
Structural and systemic change is an urgent need that cannot be postponed. The reconstruction of the country into a system where we all fit, and where we can make our dreams come true, is the only way to resurrect hopes in Cuba. It is the only way to open the doors to progress and development; it is the only way to revert the migratory flow to what it always was before 1959, when this wonderful Caribbean Island was the recipient of migrants and not a place to escape from.
Substantial and peaceful change, plus an agile and modern reconstruction, is the formula to stop the exodus that impoverishes Cuba and even more, importantly, to liberate the soul of the Nation. Let’s do it together.
Pinar del Río, January 6, 2022
Feast of the Three Kings