Thursday, August 28, 2014

El Zanjon In Baragua Times

El Zanjon In Baragua Times / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar
Posted on August 27, 2014

14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, El Zanjón, 25 August 2014 – No one remembers
when the old Spanish barracks were demolished and or the decades passed
since the allegorical tally of what happened there. Although the
official history vilifies this place, a sign on the central highway
tells us we are nearing El Zanjón, whose name also appears on the ID
cards of the three hundred people who live in the small village.

On 10 February 1878, the seven agreements of the Pact of Zanjón were
signed there, putting an end of the Ten Years War. Thus, the two
fundamental objectives that had caused the war were frustrated: Cuban
independence and the abolition of slavery. General Arsenio Martinez
Campos would be the big winner in an accord that many Cubans considered
a shameful page in the national history.

The vast majority of the Liberation Army fighters accepted the pact,
with the exception of Antonio Maceo, who a month later starred in the
Baraguá Protest. That attempt to keep the struggle alive only lasted
until mid-May of the same year, and shortly after Maceo, the Bronze
Titan, abandoned the Island for Jamaica.

A century later, Fidel Castro would proclaim that "Cuba will be an
eternal Baraguá." On taking up this historic event, he would define the
intransigence and obstinacy of the political system that has been
installed on the Island for half a century. Any dialog with an
ideological opponent has been perceived, for decades, as an imitation of
the Pact of Zanjón, while intolerance is guided by Maceo's classic
phrase, "We don't understand each other."

Perhaps this is why the small rural school in El Zanjón is now called
Baraguá Protest School, and the history books define the signing of that
Pact as an act of treason. Even the use of the name "Zanjoneros" for
those who, according to official views, tried to capitulate after the
disaster or Real Socialism in Eastern Europe. Thus, in a small town 375
miles from Havana, people no longer have a native identity they can wear
with pride.

But today, the few cows chew their cud and its distaste in the Zanjón
lands is not altered, nor the roar of the trucks on the highway. "Here,
nothing happens," a resident tells me, and adds, "So I'm leaving and
I'll never come back." Leave Zanjón, I ask him. "No, I'm leaving the
country, because no one can resist this."

And there goes another who capitulates, as the official discourse would
say, although others prefer to think that they will go into exile to
return one day… like Maceo.

Source: El Zanjon In Baragua Times / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar |
Translating Cuba -

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