Casting the Blame in the Same Old Direction
November 30, 2012
HAVANA TIMES – Our media's obsession with justifying the unjustifiable
seems to have no end, always putting the blame on the same guilty party:
that consumer society; those countries where state power is based on the
dispute and succession of this or that political party; those rightist
governments; those class societies; that perpetual enemy, that…!
We know all too well that each of us human beings is a kind of
receptacle for good or for evil. The spice of the story lies in which
of these elements will predominate in our actions. This goes beyond
questions of society, or of who's in the government.
Throughout the history of humanity, criminals, the corrupt, the
unscrupulous have existed, as well as those of good faith, the honest,
and the virtuous. This was true during slavery, under feudalism, in
capitalism and in socialism.
For that reason, it's outrageous to cast responsibility solely on the
social and contemporary climate, even though these certainly exert some
influence. I'm one of those who vote with Marti's assertion: "I believe
in the betterment of humanity and in the usefulness of virtue."
This is what leads me to disagree with an article titled, "Pablo
Escobar's Show" written by Javier Ortiz and published on November 13 of
this year in the Culture and Opinion section of "Cubadebate". In this,
the author attempts to excuse the atrocities committed by the well-known
drug lord with paragraphs like this:
..Pablo Escobar didn't become what he was by pure evil, independently of
the fact that he may have had the cerebral chemistry of a born criminal.
It was the result of his era, the perfect pairing of the violence in
Colombia with the demand for drugs in the United States. He himself did
not forget the class and country he had been born into, and constructed
a good number of social projects that earned him the affection of the
lower classes in Medellín, the city that was the seat of his cartel…"
Even though the man had his positive traits, it was quicker and easier
for him to follow the path of drug trafficking and crime than that of
My feelings about this article were similar to those I harbored a few
years ago when I saw the movie "The Broken Gods", a fictional
feature-length film directed by the Cuban filmmaker Ernesto Daranas, and
produced by ICAIC in 2008. At one point the actress portraying the
teacher Laura is discussing the topic of her thesis before a tribunal
and offers this discourse:
…Frustration – that's the word that defines 1910. An unsatisfactory
independence and two North American interventions had humiliated the
national self-esteem excessively. Then this man arose who seemed
capable of recuperating our damaged virility with the unzipping of a
fly.. Alberto Yarini y Ponce de León appeared to rescue a part of our
honor by defeating the French who dominated the prostitution in San
Isidro, Havana…Finally a Cuban had won a war against a foreign power.
And, for further glory, even gave his life "for the cause"…
As you can see here, too – although masked by the subtlety and sarcasm
that any Cuban script must utilize in order to be screened – they
pretend to excuse the greatest Cuban pimp of his time under pretext of
the wounded national ego.
I've used these two examples to demonstrate how, be it in an article
referring to a foreign TV series or in the lines from a movie character
who narrates passages from our history, the blame is always cast in the
And that speech, although well written, doesn't convince me. People are
responsible for their acts. The situational context, though it can
influence, is not the determinant factor.