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In our country, reality is obstinately rebellious, but not because it “wants to be”, rather because the official discourse, delivered from cultural institutions or directly from the political sphere by way of the media, is divorced from it.
Reality is out there. Out there, in here. It is the direct result of management by a government that for over half a century has done everything imaginable to take credit for any accomplishments, and to prevent any actions that will fix the mistakes, any critical warning signs of the defects, from arising from civil society, from the independent citizenry.
The official discourse is limited to reproducing the fantasy spectrum of what should be. It presents the theoretical potential as if it were imminent; values desired are disguised as values achieved; it overestimates the informational importance of the social or cultural results produced, which cannot be turned into measurable benefits.
“They” only say what they want “us” to hear and for them the testimonies are selected in a predetermined way, under strictest secrecy, with the pretext that one must never wash one’s dirty laundry in public, and with the primitive illusion that if it is not published it is because it doesn’t exist or is irrelevant.
The few spots displayed on this undying sun are never displayed as failures of the system, but rather as accidents attributable to human negligence or the caprices of nature.
They methodically try to persuade us that outside the island people live on the brink of disaster, while here, inside, we are safe, despite being under permanent threat from an omnipresent enemy who never rests.
What never tires is reality. In a well-known poem, Heberto Padilla tells the story of his stubborn grandfather who wanted to harvest grapes at any price.
The poet dedicates his verses not to his grandfather, but to the disobedient vine that the stubborn old islander could not make bear fruit. Nominalizing the reality, assigning it nouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives as required, is not an opposition action, nor even rebellious, to resort to a more or less accepted Gallicism; it is, in any case, a civic responsibility or, if you prefer, a black vomit that relieves us of a sad poisoning.
Today, independent journalists and the incipient Cuban blogosphere accomplish the mission in an admirable way. The portrait of the current situation of Cubans made in this way does not try to match the breadth of a satellite photo, often lacks reliable statistics, and has no interviews with officials nor documents disclosed.
Every report and every post are like an authentic biopsy of an affected body part, being the fruit of individual experience reflecting, like no other macro-report the state of reality shared by the majority.
The new grandchildren care nothing for the vine. They shake the branches of this sterile elm to show that the abundant clusters that adorn it do not give the juice they expect, not because they are too green or too high, but because they are artificial.
When a cardiac arrhythmia presents rapid and disorganized depolarization of the ventricular myocardium, chaos disrupts the electrical impulses, conduction and contraction. Blood pressure falls and the patient loses consciousness. Within about 4 minutes death comes, unless defibrillation and ventilation measures begin immediately.
Something similar happens when nations are on the verge of a crisis. The difference: instead of a shock to the chest, economic measures and energetic policies are applied. The similarity: in either of the two cases there is no time to lose.
There are other examples where urgency suggests performing a tracheotomy or injecting adrenalin directly into the cardiac muscle. I’m sure that if I spent a week in the Emergency Department of any hospital I could find better models for comparison, but it’s not necessary to be a doctor to understand that when drastic actions are called for, it is not possible to practice homeopathy.
Those of us who suffer the symptoms can guess at the diagnosis and we are very worried because we see that the one who is responsible for attending to our ills doesn’t talk about the problem, but limits himself to asking for time to ponder. We are not allowed to look at the monitor where the indicators announce imminent disaster. We know that something serious is about to happen to us and we on the verge of shouting: HELP!