Standing before the grave of Frank País, or on the corner where it says, “Otto Parallada fell here,” or seeing the plaques that constantly record, “in this place…” the insurgents joined, the conspirators met, the proclamations were printed, in other words at any site in Santiago de Cuba, I ask myself the same question: Was the rebellion a thing of the past? Is it possible that the fear of losing a job or a university career is stronger than the fear of losing a life? Is it easier and less risky to take up arms than to express our ideas?
I talked to young and old, men and women, Protestants, Catholic and atheists, workers, intellectuals and students. I didn’t find a single person who told me they felt happy with their current situation or the conditions the country is living through, but nor did I find anyone (actually I found one) who had publicly expressed their discontent, their dissatisfaction, or even the slightest difference of opinion.
Me, I’m only a Camagüeyan, I don’t even dare to suggest that people in that indomitable province have become cowards. I think what might be happening is that there, the disinformation stretches further, and that after so many years of hearing that Santiago is the cradle of the Revolution they have internalized a kind of guilt for what happened.
Santiagueros, we are all to blame. We Cubans are paying the price for our innocence, but those who must repent are those who abused it. Hopefully, never again will it be necessary to cast a bronze plaque to show where some youth was immolated, where a dissident was assassinated. The new valor demanded by the Motherland is not awoken by horns sounding the call to battle, but by the serene conviction that we have a civic responsibility and the obligation of citizens to reclaim, in a civilized manner, the rights that belong to us.
Text on the Poster: Yesterday rebellious. Today hospitable. Always heroic.
Caption of photo: Yesterday rebellious. Only yesterday?