By: Jesuhadín Pérez Valdés.
March 29, at the Wilfredo Lam Center: The Artist Tania Bruguera installed a platform with an enormous curtain and a podium with two microphones. It was announced that anyone could mount the platform and for one minute they would be allowed to say whatever they wanted, with complete freedom. And people spoke. The incident would be catalogued, afterward, as a counterrevolutionary provocation.
December 5: Monseñor Siro Gonzales Bacallao blesses, in the city of Pinar del Rio, a small space where the members of the digital magazine Convivencia regularly met. Ten days later the property is confiscated by the State.
December 6: In the centrally located 23rd Street in Vedado, more than 200 people march carrying signs against violence. No intimidation is reported against them during the march, but three bloggers are violently intercepted to prevent them from attending the march.
December 10: Plastic artist Yamilia Pérez, performs in a public space in the city of Pinar del Rio, without official permission. He does this with a personal exposition, and a blank cloth to free the creativity of his fellow citizens. Immediately upon discovering this initiative, the authorities in charge harass and threaten the artist.
December 11: Support is withdrawn for the Poetry Festival Without End, organized by Omni-Zona Franca, and Fayas Jamis is sacked — by means of a notorious act of repudiation — from a position he has held for the last 10 years.
December 17: Pilgrimage to the sanctuary of El Rincon by a group of young people. A hundred people, more or less, left the starting point on 26th Street, two hundred arrived at their destination. The police watch over them the entire way.
December 18: About thirty people sign a letter objecting to governmental obstructions in the cultural and social spheres. Five groups or projects sign…
The Cuban stew is more and more restless. More restless and more uncertain. Cuba paralyzed is a thing of the past. There are many more people who are not reconciled with the future planned by the people in power. Many people rebellious and nonconformist.
And that is normal. Every day there are more and more people with sufficient desire and audacity to take the reins of their personal destiny and project their own plans without regard for the social milieu. But this displeases the “nomenklatura” which prefers, without doubt, the calm and quiet revolutionary. It is lifeless, without the least intention to move a finger for change. And then? It rises only to respond with sticks to each of these civic initiatives.
In the majority of countries the political parties growl and bite at each other. It is part of the process of attaining power. They compete for the popular vote. At times, I think, they get a little out of hand. But in Cuba, since there is no opposition party, or even any competition within the Communist Party itself, that competition has moved to the sidewalks, parks, porches, groups and peoples; it belongs mostly to the civil society.
And here the problem is not a political project with aspirations of power, but anything that moves independently of the precepts established by the official revolutionary apparatus.
“Nothing can happen in Cuba without our stamp and letterhead”; that is the belief of the most influential or determined officialdom. But how to contain the spirit of so many people who want to add their grain of sand so that the country in which they live might be a little bit better? Do they think we can stuff our dreams under the mattress and walk like robots for century after century?
Nine out of ten repressed people do not have any intentions of usurping political power. They are not politicians in any strict sense; they are artists, intellectuals, who feel drowned by a retrograde institutionalism that cooks the meal until it is charred to avoid ideological sepsis, impeding each person’s art, or personal initiative, from reaching the people, in any form that is timely and fresh. These are simple and splendid Cubans, who raise their voices, and in most of the civilized world that is respected and valued. Not here. Here it is extremely dangerous, repelled by force.
And therefore, I am increasingly startled by the reactions of the powerful before the restless attitudes of the Cuban people. Why, in this country, is every hope, every free spirit met with a revolutionary strangling, detention, an act of repudiation, expulsion to some other place, or worse still, prison?
I am startled, because the wave of nonconformist rebels grows and the repressions makes it grow in proportion to what it observes in the will of the power. Brashness will be met with clubbing, courage with fetters, and the untameble spirit with more police. We are going against logic, justice, and peace.
…then will return the dark springs, when the new ladies in white and other innocents will swell the endless rows of prison cells.
I am very worried about this future planned for Cuba. A new, heartbreaking wave approaches. I see it coming.
Jesuhadín Pérez Valdés.
Member of the Editorial Board of the magazine Convivencia.
Translated by ricote