Last week, three declarations in Cuba made news almost simultaneously: the statements by singer-songwriter Silvio Rodriguez, Cuban Vice-President Diaz Canel and the mastermind behind the country’s economic reforms, Marino Murillo. The three made mention of the conditions that the majority of Cubans live and work under.
Armando Chaguaceda’s Diary
Some years ago, the death of an old professor who taught at the University of Havana unleashed a torrent of tears and praises among his former students, who remembered him as an exemplary educator, father and friend. However others has a totally different opinion.
Following the recent elections in Europe, I am left with more questions than answers. Among the latter is the impression that a good many citizens of the Old World – discontent over the effects of the crisis, the rise in poverty and the dirty tricks of their political class – have decided to vote for extreme-right parties.
A few weeks ago, I discovered – and literally devoured – the two seasons of the US TV series House of Cards, offered on Netflix. Anyone interested in political matters (and in the disciplines that tackle them) will find it impossible not to succumb to the charms of the series.
Some time ago, in 2011, when blogger Yoani Sanchez was being vilified and celebrated with equal hysteria, I commented that what was truly valuable about her blog, Generation Y was the effectiveness of its message regarding Cuba’s Kafkaesque and uncivil reality.
From time to time, a friend, acquaintance or taxi driver in Mexico will tell me that they want to travel to Cuba and get to know the country. The myths surrounding the revolution, the stories about sizzling sex, tourism or health offers or quite simply the wish to tour Old Havana and go for a dip in Varadero.
A number of foreign defenders of the “achievements of the Cuban revolution” invoke the people’s access to decorous housing as one of the virtues of the social system currently in effect on the island. Other “friends of Cuba” maintain a prudent silence on the issue, which is one of the country’s most serious of social problems.
Cuba’s ongoing reform process is widening the gap between the individuals and groups favored by the structural changes and those who, caught between a market that turns its back on them and a State that continues to manage and curtail their rights, have ended up at the bottom.
Now, after a live performance by Cuban musician Roberto Carcasses, where the artist dared accompany the call for the release of four Cubans currently imprisoned in the United States and the lifting of the embargo with demands for change on the island, the allergic reactions of some enthusiastic government supporters are mind-boggling, to say the least.
In a post published in Havana Times a year and a half ago, I addressed the situation of Cuba’s Catholic Church, its similarities and links to the Communist Party and its contribution to the reform process on the island. With time, as is often the case, my enthusiasm has waned.