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Yenisel Rodriguez Perez: I lived in Cuba my entire life until March 30, 2013. I am currently a resident in the city of Miami along with my father. Despite the 90 miles that separate Havana and Miami, I find profound reasons in both for political and community activism. My encounter with socio-cultural anthropology eight years ago prepared me for a commitment of love for cultural diversity.

Change and Consensus in an Inclusive Cuba

March 11, 2014 | Print Print |

Yenisel Rodriguez Perez

Waiter with a menu in Old Havana. Photo: Juan Suarez

HAVANA TIMES — The Cuban government is sparing no effort to substitute its promises of social justice with a soft neoliberalism administered by an efficient State, as Russia and China have done. This is the process we must target in the criticisms and demands we address to Cuban leaders, without thereby ceasing to demand justice for more than five decades of authoritarianism.

Habits, however, are hard to change. A case in point is to be found in the extremist sectors of the Cuban exile community, which have continued to cling to an outdated form of anti-Castroism to this day.

The majority of these “hard-liners” caricaturize Cuba’s political situations, portraying it as the interplay between a caste of degenerate, hard-handed military rulers and a submissive and ignorant population. From this point of view, everything experienced by Cuban society is part of a prevailing chaos that condemns any institutional or individual initiative to failure.

To them, Cuba is a nation lost in the absurd and the paradoxical, condemned to the most miserable of existences, and anyone who aspires to undertake a meaningful project there is regarded with the utmost suspicion.

Social consensuses are also affective agreements: a space where conflicting interests can come together under the common goal of constructing a more inclusive society. Such agreements, however, must not be cut off from the everyday life of the people and the latest government measures.

Where do these stubborn and hate-filled criticisms which offer no answers other than leaving the country come from? Could it be that some kind of opportunism hides behind that affective inertia?

Many a time, forms of personal prejudice that have nothing to do with Cuba’s political situation. A contempt for all things Cuban for being underdeveloped, Latin American or simply Cuban, hide behind such radical and inconsistent criticisms.

They throw the government, the people and the individual into the same sack. To them, the horizon of any intelligent and balanced Cuban is emigration, denying much of what one has lived on the island and taking the rest with one like a wound that does not heal.

Might the stubborn hardliners of the exile community become Cuba’s future censors and inquisitors? Could they come to replace the Castros as the holders of a great truth, and present themselves as the nation’s sole, eternal heroes? That would bode a truth of hatred, resentment and ignorance?


What's your opinion?

  • Moses Patterson

    I disagree with Yenisel’s claim that Cuban hardliners ” throw the government, the people and the individual into the same sack”. On the contrary, the hardliners I know and speak with reserve one sack for the government (meaning Castro plutocracy) and one sack for the people and the individual. The Castro regime’s poor track record speaks for itself. There is little need to overemphasize the failures. On the contrary, hardliners are quick to find reasons to brag about Cuban successes in sports, medicine and the arts. Indeed, the typical hardliner laments about how much more successful their Cuban heroes could have been except for the limitations imposed by the Castros. Finally, who can say with certainty how the post-Cuba will fare once the Castros are run outta’ town? One thing is sure: it can’t be any worse.