Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Old and Evil… Yes, but not Wise / Miriam Celaya

Old and Evil… Yes, but not Wise / Miriam Celaya
Miriam Celaya, Translator: Norma Whiting

For Cubans, accustomed to living at such a slow pace that time seems to
pass only through sheer inertia, as if we belonged to the dizzying world
beyond our borders, that other dimension of this universe, recent weeks
have begun to make a difference. The Cuban reality has become less
apathetic and linear – the obstinate legacy of CAME-style socialism that
artificially changed the natural dynamics of a western country — and,
suddenly, multiple simultaneous events begin to occur, apparently
unconnected, but, when viewed together, respond to the system's failure
and the long accumulation of errors in the sociopolitical and economic
life, inevitably pointing to the advent of an era in which accelerated
changes can occur in any direction and in an unpredictable manner.

Almost on a daily basis, incidents have been springing up, such as
arrests, threats, house confinements, repudiation rallies in various
parts of the island by the repression forces and other supporters of the
regime, and there have even been raids against presumably prostitute
homosexuals these past few days, in the middle of Parque Central, before
the vacant eyes of a marble apostle, which ended with the death of a
34-year-old young man in circumstances not clearly established. The
common denominator of the victims of the official repression is their
claim to universally recognized rights and peaceful methods of struggle,
in sharp contrast to the brutality that has been applied in most cases
to try to suppress the growing public unrest.

Each day, apparent fear of the authorities is becoming more evident and
dissident sectors more visible in the country. Each situation seems
favorable to break the false calm that hides behind a slight, though
sustained, increase in the contained nonconformity: the parks around the
National Capitol, the Mercado Único, the Our Lady of Charity procession
on September 8th, the free and spontaneous meetings of citizens' debates
in private homes – whether in Miramar, Nuevo Vedado, or in any other
neighborhood in the capital or throughout the country — the growth in
independent journalism and in the number of bloggers and even a
Christian church in one of the busiest boulevards in Havana that has
caused an unusual interruption in the traffic flow and a spectacular
deployment of police and Interior Ministry special forces.

Suddenly, without warning, events that just a couple of years ago were
unthinkable are taking place. Coincidence? I think not. And there are
reasons to believe that the situation may become ever more complex.
There is evidence that the repressive actions only serve to stoke the
fire of insubordination. More than five decades of totalitarian control
have been able to slow the process, but not to prevent it. The
accumulation of frustration, lack of perspective and, above all, the
despair, don't provide an environment conducive to the application of
repressive measures. The government, whether it likes it or not, should
be walking on eggshells.

If this rare situation in the country were not enough, the regime finds
itself nearing a complex international juncture that will influence,
perhaps decisively, the course of events. Among them are: the elections
in Venezuela that could decisively change the current circumstances and
force the Cuban government to take urgent steps for changes, the US
elections, which could favor the sectors most prone to toughening the
sanctions against the regime and thus directly affect revenues to the
Cuban economy from several sectors, with an immediate effect on society
as a whole; the continuance of the Common Position of the European
Union, which tends to isolate the dictatorship, and the global economic
crisis, among other things.

While this horizon, full of storm clouds, looms over our near future,
the Cuban government continues to further damage its already ruined
reputation by supporting dictatorships in North Africa and the Middle
East, in solidarity with the most repudiated global satrapies; removing
the credentials of foreign media representatives; developing its
partnerships with new regional leaders, and acting heavy-handedly
towards the growing protests inside the country.

Today, when dictatorships are being annihilated, when citizen protests
and governmental intolerance converge dangerously, just when the new
rhythm that marks the era may affect despotic powers more so than those
lesser individuals deprived of freedom, the Cuban reality is wiping out
the old adage "the devil knows more because he is old than because he is
the devil". So, our extremely old rulers are, without a doubt, devils,
but they are absolutely not showing us any proof of their wisdom.

Translated by Norma Whiting

September 12 2011


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