Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. -

July 22, 1999.


HAVANA - The adjective-noun "Cuban" is - these days - a controversional term for nationality. Their story - the story of most Cubans - seems to barely begin with many trials and errors, a number of illusions and disenchantments, a bit of lucidity and no less of blindness, many loyalties and just as many treacheries. Just as it happens in many other stories.

In spite of this, Cubans tend not to look down on their geography or on their youthful memories. With a certain candid chauvinism they claim to be "the key to the Americas," truly an opening not only to that body but to the very soul of the a way an entrance to the World.

There are echoes of Jose Marti in such pretensions; 1959 was a decisive year placing Cuba in an indisputable center, at least for the gaze of the planet.

That year the Revolution grasped "the keys" and the lengthy silhouette of the island started rattling inside the keyholes of many close and far-away lands, all the way to Africa. Unfortunately, many times it worked more like a grappling hook than as a key.

At about the same time a semantic review of the term "Cuban" began. So far, the effort has cleaved the term into two definable and different meanings. The "official" Cuban and the real Cuban, just as he/she is. The official one - reportedly the majority and the only one acceptable to the government - reminds one of a sort of android, programmed to "make revolutions." That is, to accept the revolution's demands unconditionally.

By this definition, an individual born in Cuba never protests. Pardon me, he/she remains immutable as the country falls to pieces around him/her...unless the "program" should call for a change.

The complete opposite of the real Cuban, this official Cuban even while having to come up with all sort of "inventions," many times not particularly scrupulous, prefers to integrate those inventions into his/her everyday life. Such Cubans never miss a meeting. They are involved in "volunteer" work, will do the bidding of the CDR (Committees for the Defense of the Revolution), applaud and, in particular, do not seem capable of independent thought.

If an official Cuban is a medical doctor, he/she accepts being sent to the most remote "Macedonia" and lowers his/her head humbly when those sending him/her on that mission also tell him/her that he/she can not visit a relative living out of the country.

If official Cubans are teachers they again remain silent, with a smile on their faces when the doors to the tourism or investment industries are closed to them - should they attempt to change jobs. Even as pedestrians they understand the aptly named "tourist apartheid" and walk in front of those hotels as if they were not there. They obediently ask for permission to move, to trade residences, to bring a visitor into their homes...and to see as equally logical that their information, their books, movies and ideas...should be censored.

Such strange behavior must be carefully and patiently analyzed to be understood. Once this is done the peculiarity is obvious. It has, like the mythological Janus, two faces! One seen, one hidden. The hidden one - no need to really say it - coincides with that of the real Cuban, the other is a mask.

German Castro, Cuba Free Press.

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