News and Facts about Cuba

Drawing the Line in Cuba

Drawing the Line in Cuba
June 11, 2014
Veronica Vega

HAVANA TIMES — The timely intervention of a reader in my post “The
advantages of being poor (I)“, has triggered a seizure of thoughts in my
head. The reader, who signed Octavio Lopez, says:

“The behavior described in the article on the difficulties with , is
widespread in the population in dealing with deplorable conditions of
all kinds that affect their daily existence. That has been the largest
and most successful achievement of the ruling elite, having tamed the
people, instilling, almost genetically, resignation to the disastrous
situation in which it is immersed, without reacting or really doing
anything concrete and effective to improve their living conditions,
other than leaving the country.”

For starters, I agree with every word of the comment, even though it was
not that discernment which led me to write the post. I recognize that
irony is a slippery resource that can make us fall where we’d prefer not to.

But now I want to talk about this sensitive issue that people leaving
comments (both Cuban and foreign) mention: What have we ordinary Cubans
done to get out of this mess? Why don’t we protest the low wages, price
gouging, poor product quality, deteriorating or medical care,
lacking , etc.? Why is the solution still a raft or
a visa?

I find it curious (and I don’t mean the reader, Octavio Lopez, because I
do not know if he lives in Cuba), that most of the forum participants
comment from other countries, but are very lucid in their view of what
would work, with concrete proposals, and speak of the need for courage.
I have seen this in discussions on Havana Times and other sites like
Diario de Cuba, which I also write for.

I assume that from a distance and with free access to information, the
picture can be seen much more objectively and solutions seem to apply.
However, as in sports predictions, I fear the reality is more complex
than what a statistical analysis can provide.

That genetic resignation mentioned by the reader, which is no fatalism,
but the consequence of individual and collective selfishness, is very
tangible, and manifests itself much more than the rising impulses of
nonconformity.

Everyone knows, for example, that complaining about such an overwhelming
reality as the exorbitant prices or poor quality of products is a
useless waste of time, and there is no consensus on how to process this
general dissatisfaction.

People are neither organized nor care to be. If you try to organize you
are stigmatized and isolated, and worse: those who supported you in
secret abandon you in public.

There are people who are afraid of losing what they have, but there are
also many people who simply are not interested in lifting a finger to
support a cause that is not their own, because they have found personal
escape routes, or because the price of justice seems too high.

And to top it off, the existing organized groups are fragmented and must
deal with government hostility and public indifference.

There are individual complaints that prosper, yes, but in the very
long-term and at high moral and physical cost. The “established
channels” (ie official), are practically a joke, no wonder people say
the “Cuba says,” TV program should be called “Cuba does,” but what still
doesn’t exist is an awareness that we can be the doers.

When a collective problem cannot be solved collectively, there is
recourse to try the individual solution, or if that’s also not possible,
obtain relief from a commentary, a satire … to radicalized politics, or
exile. Defying the will of the sea or destiny (individual), is easier,
it’s been proven, than getting an entire nation to agree on anything.

However, domestication is not only external, but internal. You can be
free from the moment you decide not to cooperate in the things strictly
dependent on you; not working for the state, not shouting slogans you
don’t feel, not accepting benefits in exchange for political loyalty,
not attacking others for their thoughts, expressing your truth in a
space like this.

And finally: making adversity a motive to raise awareness is also an
individual right, and a way not to cooperate with injustice, at least
instead of sinking into total neglect.

Source: Drawing the Line in Cuba – Havana Times.org –
http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=104212

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