Friday, January 1, 2010

The 51 stop down the road.

Fifty one years ago one generation of Cubans stepped up a road with a backpack of promises and hopes. They were young, they looked idealists and they smiled all the way down the mountains and roads, holding hands and lifting voices of unity, fraternity and peace. Cuba was a house full of life and sorrows: life to be fulfilled; sorrows to be soothed.The 51 stop down the road

The party lasted a blink of an eye. What was a promise became a treachery. What was a dream sooner switched into a nightmare.

Three generations later the roads had been walked through. The generation who arrived in 1959 full of dreams and promises lost their compromise with the truth and their people. There is nothing left behind us, and every generation lost something in its road to the darkness. All of us lost something behind.

Let me tell you a story.

“Once upon a time there was a Republic. It had its Constitution, its laws, its freedoms, a President, a Congress and Courts of Law”. In 1961, we lose our Republic buried in a totalitarian estate without a Constitution to obey, with laws which castrated our freedoms and a President who turned his back to the Congress and Courts of Law to obey to his own will. At a matter of fact, the Congress, the structure of the democratic estate disappeared. Instead of courts of laws it was installed firing squad, instead of a Congress it was installed a personal cult of a leader. I can’t keep out of my mind the clever phrase of Octavio Paz: “Every revolution ends in the cult of its leaders”. How clever

“Everyone could assemble, associate, speak and write with complete freedom”. In 1960, an obscure afternoon in front of the Presidential Palace (what an irony!), the Prime Minister turned tyrant announced the end of our democracy values and created a vigilant organism to ban any freedom to speak, to assemble and write. The Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) were created. After that, we were rained with trade unions sponsored by the government, the Youth Communist League, Rapid Response Brigades, the terror, the silence, the prison.

“The people were not satisfied with the government officials at that time, but they had the power to elect new officials and only a few days remained before they would do so”. Any form of dissidence, the slightest form of difference with the official opinion and any timid opposition was condemned to death, prison or exile. For 17 years there wasn’t any political will to bring legality to a system that condemns any legacy of democratic values. In 1976, a forged constitution was established. A constitution with a name: Socialist. A constitution who denies minorities, opposition, and religious believes. A constitution designed to divided our nation rather than unify.

“Public opinion was respected and heeded and all problems of common interest were freely discussed. There were political parties, radio and television debates and forums and public meetings. The whole nation pulsated with enthusiasm”. Since Fidel Castro took over Cuba’s destiny, his throne has been hold it with the repression of our civil society, discredit and destruction of the opposition parties, incarceration or death of their leaders, and physical intimidation and abuse of any slightest form of dissidence. Radio and television were expropriated and they are property exclusively of the estate and transmit and reproduce the thoughts of only one person: Fidel Castro. Debates, forums and public meetings have been established as capital offenses against the Revolution and they are included in the criminal legal code in Cuban society. Cuba is silenced by the ones who claimed democracy in 1953.

“This people had suffered greatly and although it was unhappy, it longed to be happy and had a right to be happy. It had been deceived many times and it looked upon the past with real horror. This country innocently believed that such a past could not return; the people were proud of their love of freedom and they carried their heads high in the conviction that liberty would be respected as a sacred right. They felt confident that no one would dare commit the crime of violating their democratic institutions. They wanted a change for the better, aspired to progress; and they saw all this at hand. All their hope was in the future.”

But such a past came back, such a past returned, we were deceived again and the culprit committed the crime over and over, violating our democratic institutions, creating totalitarian mechanisms to abolish any voice of disagreement, any voice who claims freedom and change, any voice who point the daily violations of our rights as citizens and human beings.

For those who doesn’t know the real meanings of the assertions written in bold, just one small explanation. Those words belong to Fidel Castro in the Moncada’s trial, known as well as “History will absolve me

51 years had passed and the words in that small court room in Santiago de Cuba resound ironically in history. None of each has been fulfilled. Every of each has been smudged against the wall of violations and mockery Castro had built in his empire of terror.

Three generations of Cubans today are living scattered around the world by his fault. Some of them fled the country escaping the ghost of Communism, and became stranded abroad forever. Many chose to suffer prison and daily violations of their will by their honest and courageous opinions. Many, too many, Cubans escaped to reach comfort and prosperity denied in our homeland. I am one of them.

Three generations of Cubans got a bus to the future in 1959, unknowing that that future will come down to an end road, with no hopes, no dreams, and no promises accomplished.

We are in a crossroad. The past is almost gone, the future is uncertain. The old leaders are old, they are vanishing painful and slowly. The one who claimed yesterday for his part in history is not with us anymore. He is just a shadow against the wall lifted by his name.

We have to bring down the wall, and step up into the future.