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“The enemies of the Revolution, both those within and those without — under the umbrella of criticizing the supposed slowness or lack of boldness of the adopted measures — hide their true intentions of restoring the shameful regime existing in Cuba until 1959.”
The above quote is one of the pearls shed by José Ramón Machado Ventura, second to the General-President, in his statement at the event for the 59th anniversary of the 26th of July. His boss later took the podium where, in an improvised speech, he announced that the table was set for talks with the Americans, but this has already been talked about too much and I won’t add fuel to the fire.
It turns out, according to the guidelines emanating from the highest levels, that accelerating the speed or imparting boldness to the adopted measures is a sign of counter-revolutionary conduct. Because, according to what we are told, the ideologically correct thing is to advance little by little, without haste, but without pause, as the Revolutionary gradualist Raúl Castro frequently repeats.
On more than one occasion I have said “the adopted measures” go in the right direction but lack the necessary depth and adequate velocity. And I think they go in the right direction because they don’t dictate the closure of private businesses, nor the suspension of self-employment, as happened in the notorious Revolutionary Offensive of March 1968. It is not a nationalizing but a “cooperativizing” and in some ways privatizing, although slowly and superficially.
Those of us who think it should be accelerated are now accused of wanting to return to the past. When in reality the only thing the leaders of this process would be delighted to return to are the earlier times when the Soviet Union existed. They would return with pleasure to those decades when Cuba was a subsidized satellite that sent troops to Africa to indulge the geopolitical appetites of one of the contenders of the Cold War. In return we barely received technological junk, so that the government could buy our loyalty with an Aurika washing machine, a Krim TV or, in the best of cases, a Lada car. This is not velocity, my dear Machado, but a direction that leads to a destination. The slowness only serves to buy time before the inevitable.
“You don’t understand — my son told me — that gentleman believes in the time machine, pure Theory of Relativity: if you go very fast, you could get to the past.”
30 July 2012
On Tuesday, July 10, I joined the club of the third age, having crossed the frontier of 65 years. As usual in these commemorations, I dedicated myself to taking stock of my life, what I learned, what I gained and what I lost. In this the country appeared and the question of whether it belongs to me to the degree that warrants prefixing it with the possessive adjective my.
I have the presumption that Taína blood runs through my veins, my grandfather fought in the War of Independence, but I don’t identify myself with the image Cuba has in the rest of the world. Some day this will be a country that I can speak of with pride. Today it is not, but it continues to be my country, my pain, my guilt, my responsibility. It remains, then, in the inventory, dispersed between the debts and the tasks remaining.
Wilfredo Cancio already reported on his blog (cafefuerte.com) what I knew about Ana Laura Bode, who has just died in France, barely 42.
I met her in September 1986 when she entered the University; I saw her for the last time when she visited Cuba with her newborn daughter in 2002. She was one of the most wonderful people I’ve known, far beyond her talent as a filmmaker and writer. I treasure some of her poems in manuscript and something more valuable still, the indelible memories of her presence.
We are left without Ana Laura and for this there is no cure.
Translator’s note: An article written by Ana Laura Bode when she was a journalism student at the University of Havana can be read here.
2 July 2012