Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Cuba: a close and personal Mute Button

Since you are a child and you go to school, your life pass like a long soup opera where the characters are programmed to play a role long time thought at every level of our social scale. It is allowed to swear your flag, it is allow to sing your national anthem, it is allow to say the words learned in school, it is allow to grow, get a job or a career, and for the rest of your entire life it is allowed to be eternal faithful to a system who taught to you what it is allow as a pawn of the planet Cuba.mute button

The real challenges start when you realized how many more things are not allowed rather than the ones whose are allowed. And this is not a tongue twister, it is just the Archipelago Cuba. Hmm, how close with Archipelago GULAG, isn’t it?

Our government treats our citizens as children who had made any sort of innocent prank, or even some wicked things. You never grow, and you are under eternal supervision with nanny Estate. As soon you are born, nanny Estate writes a name in your parent’s monthly ration book and you are a new pawn. Papa Estate gives a few items now and then, send you to school to learn your duties with our great country, and in pay for all of that you give up your will and swear to be grateful through your entire life. How sad and predictable!

You can’t ask about rights to speak or to get your own opinion. There is only one opinion allowed, the one it is repeated on the newspapers, on TV, in the public speeches of our leaders (thanks God, there are not too many leaders, just one so you don’t need to memorize too many names and many sacred slogans). And you don’t need to answer too many questions, because after all this is not an interview, or a dialogue or a simple interrogation (leave the last one for dissidents). This is a monologue.

In the perfect programmed show you are allowed to go to any public plaza, lift the little flag and smile. Life is beautiful: yesterday Papa Estate scrapped a few more items from your monthly ration book, so you wake up with a bit more of freedom. Bit a bit you are approaching more and more to that moment in which you can say: there is nothing left that hold me tight to any absurd ideology, I am a free man.

We started this trail with a long list of promises and words. Along the road the promises vanished like butterflies in a field of flowers, there are only left the words written in books and manuals of praise and compliments: books written to schools to be read by our children; manuals to remember where the limits are and how ought to be respected.

From TV to our Parliament, from school to our homes, the rules are clear and unidirectional recalling you every time that this is not a dialogue, this is a monologue and you are the audience. In the Parliament, our MPs are allowed to approve and admire, never to dissent or questioning. In our Plazas, you are only a number to fill a crow, a grain in a picture for the next edition of our newspapers or the appropriate report for any western journalist. Our leaders never report to anybody, never answer questions, and definitely never are questioned at all.

Every step of our life has been planed and has a purpose. There is nothing left to our will, casualty or accident. Those reasons are interpreted as dissent and as soon you are tagged as dissident you are alienated from our society: you lose your job, you are supervised closely, and you are segregated from any social recognition possible. You are an alien and with you your family, your children and almost your shadow. Because you committed the capital crime of our society: you became a citizen.

So, the question is: What is the difference between a citizen and a pawn in Cuba’s game?

A Cuban pawn is a number to our national statistics: since we are born with a line in our ration book and a line in the book keep it by our CDRs (Committee for the Defence of the Revolution), then you can vote in our faked elections, you could get a job and you could even travel someday, somehow, somewhere. But first you had to turn on your mute button and orderly march in any of our plazas to praise our leaders and our ideas, our Socialism and our Revolution. First at all, you have to prove you are a trusted person to our government and you behave according to those old manuals I already mentioned above. And that, my friend, started in our primary school swearing to Che, to our national flag and to our Socialism, and to Fidel, don’t forget the last item in this list.

A citizen, a citizen is what makes any difference in this world, but the most important issue is: a citizen never has a personal mute button to please to anybody. And that’s all.