Posted on April 10, 2013
I recall that all my life I've been characterized as a rebel, protesting what I considered wrong or unfair and most of the time proposing solutions. In the Cuban political environment I've experienced agonizingly slowly a change that has cost me 25 years of life.
If we analyze the significance of the the word "revolutionary" it's far from many of the arguments politicians in Cuba use to define it. It has always been a deadly war. It came to mind when Cubans were "strictly forbidden" to access hotels. I never understood this prohibition and would discuss it with whomever I could. The response I continuously got was, "Don't talk about that because they'll think you are a counterrevolutionary."
The same thing happened with the prohibition to have dollars and mobile phones, to buy and sell houses, buy cars, and recently to be able to leave the country freely with the new "Migratory Reform."
In each of these previous cases I complained, to very high levels. My mother was always at home hysterical, repeating thousands of times that they were going to label me a counterrevolutionary. And all these things have been changed (although many remain). And then?
Yesterday it was counterrevolutionary to complain you couldn't travel. And today? Revolutionary for not complaining? Perhaps being "revolutionary" means obeying without objection and dutifully doing what the government "directs"?
Unfortunately we have lost the social enthusiasm for offering opinions, proposing changes, asking for explanations, demanding rights, asking for respect.
They have inculcated us for more than half a century and if you protest you're bad (or seen to be bad). If you tell your delegate at a meeting of the People's Power that you don't agree with the way elections are conducted, then the president of the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) puts you on the block's indelible list of "counterrevolutionaries."
The Cuban people find themselves in the murky tide of fear, uncertainty, ignorance, censorship and self-censorship. The system is not adapted to interact with the people, there is no direct dialog with the ordinary Cuban. For how long will they not submit themselves to the popular vote laws, or to a referendum?
Being an opponent or a "danger to the Revolution" can be anything from expressing out loud an opinion that disagrees with any political direction from the Cuban government; even if the person doing this has never heard of Yoani Sanchez nor knows anything about the Varela Project.
Shouldn't "counterrevolutionary" be someone who steals or 'resolves' (our euphemism for stealing) from their work; or who provides bad service to people in an Identity Card office; the clerk in a State store who tells you there is no product when there really is, the politician who invents incoherent arguments to justify obsolete prohibitions (like Ricardo Alarcon and his congested air*); the grandson of Fidel Castro who sells Vega Sicilia wines in the gym for foreigners, wines his grandfather gave him as a gift; the TV journalists who wait three days to report the news; the minister who hides from the people the actual availability of a fiber optic cable; a president who has country indebted for millions and millions of dollars and he doesn't mention the subject?
Those are the real counter-revolutionaries, not those who openly question the above issues.
Call me counterrevolutionary, I'm not one or the other.
*Translator's note: Questioned by Eliecer Avila, then a student, about why Cubans could not travel freely without government permission, then vice-president Ricardo Alarcon responded that if everyone could travel at will there would be too many airplanes in the sky…
29 January 2013