HAVANA, Cuba.- The professor of the University of Havana has released it in the Round Table program Fabio Fernandez Batista and the sentence has spread like wildfire on social media. I imagine that if this “rupture” in the highly censored narrative pattern of a television program like that, which responds to and is directly due to the Cuban regime, had not been planned, right now the Ideological Department of the Communist Party must be burning while the executioners accommodate the head of the intrepid panelist in the pillory.
It is really difficult to imagine that such a disruption has been planned by the “system”, as it is counterproductive for a dictatorship obsessed with discursively projecting an idea of ”monolithic unity”, but from these people who are so clumsy in managing their own image one can expect anything, especially when they do not “suddenly” decide to discuss the issue of “patriotism” but precisely on the eve of another round of talks high-level meetings with representatives of the United States government.
I do not doubt that, in the face of the “enemy” to seduce, to soften, the “incendiary” number was just that necessary show to have at least one recent proof that things are changing in Cuba, because if something cannot be Denying Cuban officials and ideologues —and Professor Fabio is those two things— is the histrionic capacity that allows them to unfold into the character that the political context demands. Everything is to achieve the “common objective”, that is, oxygenate a regime that is suffocating, or escape from it when things do not go as the “actors” would like.
And although that phrase “the pride of being Cuban has been lost” could not come out of the mouth of Miguel Díaz-Canel or any of his closest friends, the “seductive” show had to be put on with secondary actors so that they did not not taken as an “official statement” but rather as that “timely” (although very unfortunate) signal of “opening up” so necessary for a government that comes to the negotiating table with a dense record of political repression, and even with a new Penal Code that punishes dissent.
Because if on the eve of Barack Obama’s visit, in March 2016, a show similar in objective was put on in the popular humorous program “Living from the story”, even with the American president himself as part of the cast, this time it could not be repeat the “scandal”, not only because it is not about Biden’s visit, but because it is already more than well known that “Vivir del cuento”, undoubtedly very humorous, has survived censorship only because it is the sample button that uses the Ideological Department of the Communist Party to sell the world the idea that “they have changed.”
And of course they have changed, if we compare these current times with those of Fidel Castro (times in which Dr. Fabio and Pánfilo would have been kept in an unknown whereabouts under lock and key or would have ended up as custodians in the zoo on 26, as well as Roberto Robaina he went from chancellor to park ranger), but it happens that we should never forget that these new “theater directors” have named their work “Continuity” (not “Change”), and that if they “change” they do it like the fisherman changes bait and hook when the fish “gets difficult for it”.
Change, yes, but strategy. Although the old age of these seducers no longer allows them to hide their decadence and “bad intentions”. And wherever we look at the costume they wear, the seams and other botchwork appear. Because affirming thus emphatically that “the pride of being Cuban has been lost,” and that such a generalization stems from a doctorate —his participation has been planned or certainly spontaneous—, is an ideological bungling that has no consistency with reality, in so much a part is taken as if it were the whole, and emigration and exile are even confused with an action of repudiation or “abandonment” of nationality, when really what is happening in our society —dispersed throughout the world— and above everything with young people is a conjunction of much more complex and alarming phenomena.
Now that social networks allow us to violate and probe the private sphere of others, it is possible that we will find plenty of examples of this “loss of pride in being Cuban,” but we will still find evidence of totally opposite attitudes or that are located in different areas of something that it is not a space with only two extremes, positive and negative, but rather a spectrum of feelings for the national that has nothing to do with that stupid idea of ”be as I say or you are not”, which is embodied by the regime in its repressive and exclusive formula of “socialist homeland”, and that officials and ideologues like Fabio himself endorsed in the “New Constitution”.
While it is true that there are Cuban men and women who are ashamed of being so, it is also true that it is not an exclusive phenomenon of this era, nor is it a generalized attitude that serves to define the current one. What perhaps behind the “generalization” of the teacher is hidden a very bad intention, and that is to exclude (vituperating and punishing) from the concept of “patriotism” any manifestation that does not agree with or distances itself from that disastrous idea of ”patriotism” promoted by Castroism where they try to confuse loyalty to the government with loyalty to the homeland.
So at that point, under this manipulated, falsified, opportunistic and unpatriotic concept of what “homeland” is, there would undoubtedly be millions of Cubans who do not feel “proud” of being “patriots” because they simply associate “homeland” with ” dictatorship”, with lack of freedoms, with repression.
But in any case it is a “loss of pride”, not out of conviction but out of confusion, out of ideological manipulation, and then this distortion of the concept of “patriotism”, induced with total bad intentions, to the point of breaking the broad concept of “nationality”. —and to use and withdraw it as a reward or punishment for political loyalty—is actually a brutal crime against an entire people.
There are plenty of manifestations of patriotism both within Cuba and in geographical distance and these are not reduced to repeating slogans, reading the complete works of Martí and wearing a guayabera. You can speak in English, dream in French, wear Prada, hate the tropical climate and the taste of guarapo, and still continue to be as patriotic as anyone else who feels like doing the opposite. Because if not, where would we put Celia Cruz and Alejo Carpentier, just to name two indisputable patriots who made different decisions regarding Fidel Castro’s regime?
It is not a question of “loss of pride in being Cuban” that we are witnessing these days, it is called, in any case that we would like to generalize, “fed up with living eternally oppressed”, and in that case there is no better sample of patriotism than distance ourselves from the oppressor and do what we understand we must do to recover the denied freedom.
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