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Maria Matienzo Puerto: I dreamed once that I was a butterfly who had come from Africa and discovered that I had been alive for thirty years. From that time on, I constructed my world while I was sleeping: I was born in a magic city like Havana; I dedicated myself to journalism; I wrote and edited books for children; I met to discuss art with wonderful people; I fell in love with a woman. Of course, there are certain points of coincidence with the reality of my waking life and it’s that I prefer the silence of reading and the pleasure of a good movie.

Seeking Forgiveness

November 23, 2012 | Print Print |

Maria Matienzo Puerto

Photo: Irina Echarry

HAVANA TIMES — The other day talking with Amaury (a member of Omni-Zonafranca) the subject of hate came up. I find Amaury captivating. He, Iris and their children know that. So I promised him that I ever time I could, I was going to write seeking reconciliation between all Cubans in the world, even though my writings are just a grain of sugar.

Here’s my first story.

Two months ago I was invited to an event honoring the previously ostracized Cuba poet Virgilio Piñera (1912-1979), and in my speech I mentioned those officials that at some point had done something that made the writer had fear. I called them “executioners,” and I wondered aloud how they must be feeling with so many celebrations of the centennial of his birth.

When I finished, a man came over to me and asked if calling people executioners was some type of fad. From his face, I realized that he was one of “them.”

I replied in a sharp manner saying that I didn’t know if it was a fad or not, though I hadn’t heard anyone else describing them like that. I told him that I only said what I thought. But he, like someone speaking to a child, began lecturing me.

He said that I needed to look at things in context. He explained that at that time he was the general secretary of the Young Communists of a municipality (I forget which one) and that — for example — this other writer of the time (turning around and pointing his finger at Anton Arrufat), “We had to send him off to work in a library in the middle of nowhere.”

He gave a litany of stale reasons, which I noted in detail, while I wondered …why me? …why this rant? …why the attack of conscience.

It was obvious. The man was seeking forgiveness – at least that’s the way it seemed so to me.

When he finished I didn’t utter a single word. I just thought, “Maybe God will forgive you.” And I ignored him completely.

That’s not the only story I have on that topic. I think that one day the people who took part in that game of violence and hysteria, of envy and misery, today are looking within themselves.

When it comes to pain, it’s hard to forgive…to move on. I myself, I don’t know if I could forget easily. I know it’s not easy.

The story surrounding us Cubans is sad. However, I think the only way to be truly united is by first forgiving ourselves.


What's your opinion?

  • Moses

    Be encouraged that the path to forgiveness is well-travelled. May past societies have to learned to forgive the trangressions of a small group of oppressors. The hurt and pain imposed by the Castros will prove to be no worse that that of the Boers in South Africa or the Nazis in Germany. Sadly though, not all oppressors will seek forgivesness. For them, the only solution is biological.

    • Luis

      “The hurt and pain imposed by the Castros will prove to be no worse that that of the Boers in South Africa or the Nazis in Germany. ”

      I think someone needs to get some degree of something called perspective. Fast.

      • Moses

        I meant every word. The Castros have done to Cuba, what apartheid did to South Africa and what Hitler did to Germany. Take heart, today, 70 years after Hitler, Germany is the largest economy in Europe. South Africa is, like your country, one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Getting rid of their despotic and cancerous leadership was the first step. There is yet hope for Cuba.

        • Luis

          Funny how you mention South Africa, as Cuba has effectively helped it to get rid of Apartheid. I told you, if someone ever makes a statue of Fidel Castro, it will be in South Africa. See *this* video. You’ll want to cut off your balls by the 2:45 mark.

          There is hope for Cuba yes. Maybe when your country stops bullying it – and the rest of the world.