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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.

Havana Scenes (III)

November 26, 2010 | Print Print |

Yenisel Rodriguez

Cubans are ever-increasingly breaking the silence barrier and expressing their collective disquiet.  I was a recent witness on a packed bus when a collective burst of laughter signaled the approval of a politically risqué account that an old man tossed out.  His was citing the figures for high government officials who ended up on shaky footing.  The joy was general.

Likewise, one Sunday at the outdoor agricultural market, an old woman who was rummaging —the best she could— through the sweet potatoes said, “these are literally rotten to the core, but if we don’t take them we’ll continue our bad living.”  To which the clerk added, “And our bad eating.”  A young woman who was behind me in line commented, with a certain degree of complicity, that this market was in fact a public assembly.

Then too, close to my house a certain newspaper delivery man always goes down the street bragging, “I’m the one who distributes the most lies in Cuba.”  Meanwhile some guys along the dark but busy 10th of October Roadway stepped in beat in a conga line while singing a refrain that went:

To leave Cuba mama

is what I want,

To leave Cuba mama.

Me, for example, the other day I sarcastically asked a policeman on the bus if it would be possible to decrease violence in the streets as long as teachers are paid the same salaries as he and his fellow officers receive.

It turns out that many people —gradually and without plan— will reach a point where they blurt out what they actually think.  What’s most surprising is that many of those who hear them agree, while those who want to avoid saying what they think remain silent.

Oh yeah, the policeman didn’t respond.


What's your opinion?

  • grok

    If cuban society does not democratize — in a truly meaningful way, and not simply in superficial form — socialism simply will not be realized on the island (under the present regime): and U.S.imperialism WILL take over. You can count on it. ‘Make book’ on it.

    It’s also pretty clear that many cubans are mentally preparing themselves for the very real possibility of this “regime change”: which is, in fact, the result of a complete failing of the PCC and its apparatus to implement its declared agenda (in the name of the working-class) — and not of the socialist ideal we all must continue to strive for, regardless.

  • http://www.ronridenour.com Ron Ridenour

    Comrade Yenisel,
    Excellent anecdotal description of “la vida cotidiana”.
    It is encouraging for this old revolutionary to read so many positive oriented critique of the “system” on HT, while not trashing the historic leaders, who have contributed so much.
    Once a new culture of constructive criticism takes greater root take the next step: begin to talk of what can be done. What is to be done, said the man!
    So combine and propose.
    Love Live the Cuban Revolution! Make it Permanent!

  • Michael N. Landis

    Does history repeat itself? (Marx said yes: the first time as tragedy, the second comedy.) In the waning days of the Ancien Regime in France, for example, there were ever more daring satirical dramas and naughty poems making fun of the moribund government (e.g. in one miniature marionette drama, Marie Antoinette was depicted making love to a succession of lovers as the king grows ever-longer horns, etc.).