Saturday, December 24, 2011

They…the dissidents / Miriam Celaya

They…the dissidents / Miriam Celaya
Miriam Celaya, Translator: Norma Whiting

If it were possible to classify years the same way winemakers catalogue
wine, I would say that 2011 has been a good harvest, good for those
Cubans who aspire to a future of civility and of transformations in
Cuba, who have seen a gradual but sustained approach among different
groups of the alternative civil society, mutual recognition of places
and rights common to all, but not so for the government.

I don't want to be at fault for any unfair or unintended omission, so I
will avoid making a list of the ever-growing list of people with
different tendencies, generations, professions and backgrounds, who are
breaking the isolation of a society long contorted by fear or mistrust
between this or that group or individual. Suffice to note that in the
course of this year that network of free spaces has emerged
spontaneously and freely, and one might surmise that many hopes and
aspirations are pinned to that social fabric of an inevitably different
and better Cuba.

In fact, I would say that, this year, the very one-party government is
the one that has gone to the opposition; not because I say it, but
because of the methods and procedures that it employs in its belated
intent to resurrect, and in its obvious fear of the unstoppable process
to weaken both new and old generations' faith in the "revolution." An
example of this was the conspiracy orchestrated to… celebrate? the Sixth
Congress of the Cuban Communist Party, based on some guidelines
developed in secrecy. An event that was unexpectedly and surprisingly
announced, even for the members of the single party, with the additional
constraint of an agenda limited to purely economic issues. This gave the
high leadership of the party an image of weakness and insecurity, and
projected a climate of mistrust and reservation among grassroots
activism, while it exhibited the paradox of trying to promote a campaign
against "secrecy" from the standpoint of a conspiracy.

In stark contrast, sectors of the alternative civil society have been
launching programs and open proposals, have held meetings and events
prior to public announcement –even under the harassment and hounding of
the political police- unvarnished and without dissimulation or
exclusions, and they have been attracting support and good will,
especially of those young people who are not attracted by the "new"
official promises. The fatuous fires that loosen the frayed olive green
epaulets don't have the appeal of the future that they dream of
realizing by themselves, without masters, without dogmas.

Let's look at today's Cuba, the one where we have lived this year 2011,
and let's recap: who hides in order to devise compromises, conferences
and alliances without consultation? who denies information to the
people? who maintains the monopoly of the press and media and seeks to
monopolize access to the Internet? who insists on distributing and
managing, enforcing the limits and the pace of the transformations they
are urging to apply? who harasses free citizens? who offers resistance
to the multiparty and the full participation of all Cubans in the search
for solutions? who opposes democratic change? does the power of the
government legitimize retaining authority by force? Why, then do they
say we are "the opposition"?

Translated by Norma Whiting

December 12, 2011

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