The anecdote is well known, almost a legend, of a family that after several days paddling in the straits of Florida, arrives at a coast to excited shouts for freedom and against the dictatorship; but they haven’t arrived in Miami, only Varadero.
In the case of Columbus who sailed agonizing months with the obsession to land in India only to end up discovering the New World, and many more examples, people who leave home for their wedding and end up meeting their death, who buy clothes for a girl and give birth to a boy, who invest everything so their son can be a boxer, but the boy leaves them to become a ballet dancer, an excellent ballet dancer!
In his penultimate Reflections of November 14*, former Cuban President Fidel Castro, referring to some governments who declare their support for Cuba to facilitate the transition, laments that, “after lives offered up and so many sacrifices defending sovereignty and justice, one cannot offer Cuba the other shore of capitalism.”
The metaphor of the “the other shore” implies in this case an allusion to that site one finds at the end of the road. This prompts me to recall the lives offered up and the enormous sacrifice of all those who fought to overthrow the Batista dictatorship. After yearning for so long for political freedoms and the full enjoyment of civil rights, one could not offer Cuba “the other shore” of a new dictatorship.
From the point of view of the author of the aforementioned Reflection, sovereignty and justice are the exclusive patrimony of socialism; perhaps he speaks of our own sovereignty, that of the years in which Cuba was in the CMEA [Council for Mutual Economic Assistance] and some Cuban ministers had an alter ego in the Soviet GOSPLAN [Soviet State Planning Committee] with whom they had to vet the most important decision; he will speak I suppose of our own justice, crammed with summary judgments, with processes against pre-criminal dangerousness, with sentences based more on the presumption than on the evidence.
It should be the Cuban people who will have the opportunity to decide in which system they desire to live in the future: socialism, capitalism, or another that we could invent, but lamentably there is a clause in the Constitution of the Republic which denies the possibility of choosing, because it only recognizes the right to accept socialism. That was not what they offered us, but what they imposed upon us, on this shore at the end of the road.
* Reflections of Comrade Fidel: The Washington meeting.
/ Granma / November 15, 2008 pp. 2 [Link to the original Spanish]