Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. -

December 30, 1998, Cuba Free Press.


HAVANA - At a fast glance you might think the Island is once again breathing a Christian atmosphere. At least, the Christmas trees have reappeared in public places, and December 25 was labeled as a holiday. But let's not rush to conclusions.

If we look closely, we will see that those are not really Christmas trees. They've been lowered to the status of ornaments, torn from their traditional meaning, of their poetry, or, if you would prefer it, of their magic.

It is just that behind it all, there's an attempt which really has little or nothing to do with a genuine religious emergence.

Communist atheism is not part of the deal. It is, let's just call it that, one of the non-negotiable principles. It isn't by chance. It is only the product of a glossing over, of an ideological hygiene. Something learned from the classifical Marxists, who taught their followers what is called "class hatred" - which, anyway you look at it, is just plain hatred - just like a revolutionary fuel par excellence. Something which when faced with the message of peace and love which is Jesus' legacy, doesn't quite mix.

That is why the Church and the Cuban government live like an arguing couple. That's why - let's just say it - placing the Nativity scene under the tree is quite odd. That is why the mass media in Cuba, all the mass media, instead of spreading a message of peace and love - something which is very much in demand throughout the western world - they make an effort to call for exactly the opposite. They struggle to preach a story of hatreds.

Television screens, for example, between power blackouts, show, once again, corpses of victims of Batista's dictatorship, who seem to bleed just like the first day in the eyes of the viewing audience. We again listen to the shots of war ringing in every home.

Once again - just like 40 years ago - the troops pace the avenues or attack, interrupting the brief respite of family life….

And peace and love can only be felt, almost, mixed with the dust of the sugarcane fields, the smoke of the factories and the cement of construction. And always, it is behind the facade of combat readiness.

A slogan which introduces one of those "retellings" serves to illustrate the thought that goes like this: "This is the way we were born, that's how we are, we are still olive green," in other words, dressed as soldiers, with our boots on and ready for war.

Hence, since many Cuban holiday trees are not really Christmas-like and the warlike propaganda is actually increasing, we have but two indicators of reality.

Everything, including the trees, is just part of the decor and part and parcel of the same script. All is but a symbol. The symbol of Cuba's reality.

By Germán Castro, Cuba Free Press.

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