Cuba: The Way We Were, The Way We Are

By Xiomara Reinoso Gomez

Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES — More than thirty years ago, I was married to a man. We lived together for a year and then split up. I liked him, but that wasn’t enough for us to go on. I needed to love someone, to love them deeply, to be able to live with them.

He was a member of the Cuban Communist Party and never spoke of religion. If someone brought up the issue, he became withdrawn or left the conversation. I found that funny and even encouraged people who wanted to talk about the issue, just to see the look on his face.

I’ve never belonged to any religious congregation, even though I’ve always believed in god (in my own way). I believe we carry god within us and have no need to look for Him in any church. What’s more, I hate having anything imposed on me.

Let’s get back to the present. A friend we have in common ran into him and gave him my number. He phoned me and we agreed to meet.

It was quite exciting to see him again after so many years. He made me remember our youth and the good times we had together. Life, however, has a habit of catching you by surprise. I was shocked to learn that he is now a pastor at a Baptist church. When the shock wore off, I asked him: “Have you always believed in god?”

He said he always had but, as a Party member, he had to keep that a secret, because members of the Party could not be religious then. Since things have changed, he could now yell it from the rooftops.

“So, you denied the Lord like Peter denied Jesus,” I said to him. “The only difference is that he denied him only three times, and you did so your entire life, even to me, your wife.” He lowered his head in shame and didn’t reply.

I felt sorry for him and didn’t mention the matter again, because it wasn’t my intention to hurt him. But I thought to myself: “How can a person be manipulated to such an extent they can deny what they think or feel just to please others?”

He gave me his number, in case I ever consider starting anything with him again, but I won’t be calling him. I finally understood I never did love him, that I don’t like puppets.

4 thoughts on “Cuba: The Way We Were, The Way We Are

  • Sadly there are lots of puppets in Cuba. Maybe, when the 89 year-old puppet-master dies, most of these puppets will be freed to think for themselves.

    Reply
  • Well put Moses. Nothing else i can add to that!

    Reply
  • I think he did not deny his belief because he wanted “to please others”, but because it was dangerous for him as a member of the Party. If someone does not have any deep belief, like Xiomara herself does, it is easy not to talk about religion. Why was it funny for her to see the look on the face of her husband? If she was really courageous, she would have talked to him about his intolerance against belief, and, later, about why he became a priest. This would have been the real story. In my opinion, becoming a priest is not a matter of puppets.

    Reply
  • Giving up control of ones personal life is the price of soviet communism. It is an ugly price to pay. Such are the wages of a system based on jealousy and envy. A poor man suffers not because some one else has too much. He suffers because he does not have enough. Making everyone equally poor does little to help the poor man. A system that balances a free market and social programs is far better. Cuba is on a better road as it turns away from the failed soviet model.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *