According to a popular saying, you can let a lie run for many years, but the truth, once freed, will catch up to it in a day. As remarkable as this book’s contents is the fact that it is the fruit of Cuban authors who live and work in Cuba, and that it is published by a well-known publishing house on the island.
Is homosexuality natural? Faced with the scientific precept that the success of a species depends on its ability to procreate and “propagate” its genes, it would seem that the “disability” of homosexuals that many insist on is completely irrefutable. One of the issues involved is what is “normal” and what is “natural”.
When I hear talk about bureaucracy, I inevitably call to mind a high Cuban Ministry of Agriculture official with whom I shared my concerns over the crops that had been lost as a result of the negligence of State entities responsible for their collection and distribution among the population.
The news surrounding the Cuban Film Industry Institute (ICAIC) is an indication of the changes that Cuba’s political system is experiencing, of how the State’s absolute hold on culture begins to weaken and new, autonomous spaces with a lot to say to society begin to emerge.
Many black people and persons of mixed racial background in Cuba believe that a change in the country’s political system is needed to improve the lives of this non-white sector of the population, which today continues to endure stereotypes, discrimination and racism.
In “Cuba and the Incapacity of State Socialism to Change and Renew Itself,”, Pedro Campos and Armando Chaguaceda argue that “state socialism” (ownership and administration of all the instruments of production by the socialist state) is an economic system which springs primarily from the brain and character of Joseph Stalin.
The book highlights “the progress Cuban women have made towards gender equality since the 1950s and examines whether that progress can be sustained into the future.” It accomplishes its goal in five, concise, non-judgmental and well-documented chapters, enriched by personal profiles of some remarkably perceptive Cuban women.
I couldn’t help asking myself what the fight against homophobia has to do with the Cuban Five, as they are known around the world. The words pronounced by Rene Gonzalez on receiving the award appear to answer this question: “We’re involved in a struggle against attitudes that have made many people suffer. The suffering over being deprived of our freedom unites us. All forms of discrimination and of depriving people of their freedom must be eliminated.”
I am not trying to make light of the situation currently faced by more than 100 Cuban dissidents, and their families, who in 2010 were transplanted to Spain after the European nation negotiated their freedom from prison. But there’s a point to be made. Especially when one considers that in Miami live so many, for example, who espouse a daily litany that Cuba is a living hell.
It is a sad song that gets to me. But, even though the lyrics clearly evoke the figure of the former leader of Venezuela, the way he shared his country’s riches with sister nations and his struggle for Latin America, it is not Chavez that this song brings to mind when I hear it.