Cuba: the Invented Country
March 14, 2014
HAVANA TIMES — I have never understood that device so often used in the
popular soap operas, whereby the romantic protagonists who have finally
managed to get together after numerous reverses (and chapters) are then
separated again through the machinations of a rival. There’s always such
a simple strategy employed: a dubious letter, a supposed infidelity, a
coarse piece of gossip that can’t be proven.
It seems to me a cheap recourse and a mockery of the most basic
intelligence. Maybe the viewers don’t protest because they already know
the formula: the lovers will meet again in the last chapter, and if
there are a hundred left to go that only means more hours of entertainment.
But – When it happens in real life? And when the thing at risk is the
physical and psychological integrity of a real person of flesh and
blood? When irretrievable years are lost to a fiction that we accept as
if we were an unflinching television audience?
Finding out about the recent death of Huber Matos has left me with that
Despite having fought side by side with those who today fill the walls
of our schools and offices, or stare at us with frozen eyes from marble
pedestals, he is never mentioned in the Cuban history books. Those who
knew him could identify him in a group photo or in those faded videos
where you see the happy bearded guerrillas enjoying their moment of glory.
Twenty years of jail and exile are enough to dissolve the doubts, the
rumors, the airy reproaches. They’re enough to convert light into
darkness, truth into falsity, presence into nothing. After all is said
and done, history is drawn in the sands of time, and one single lick of
the ocean leaves the surface wiped clean and ready for new tracings.
Matos was condemned in a public trial where he wasn’t even conceded the
right to speak. Why didn’t that incensed multitude, instead of shouting:
“firing squad!” demand that he also have his turn to speak? Why, just
like the bad imitations that try to copy real art, did the audience
content themselves with only one version?
When I look at recent examples, it pains me to admit that in five
decades nothing has changed in this sense.
The same thing occurred with the poet Maria Elena Cruz Varela who
disappeared in another cloud of exile and lost memory; ditto with the
victims of the Black Spring and with Orlando Zapata who died in prison
while the official media ridiculed the motives for his hunger strike.
None of them were interviewed for the television or newspapers. They
were never offered their turn to speak.
It happened to Yoani Sanchez, who is only mentioned in the official
media as a cyber-terrorist or a betrayer of her country with the vile
advantage of absence and imposed silence; with the State of Sats
Project; with Oswaldo Payá who received official existence when he
hadn’t any voice left to defend himself with.
It’s happening right now to the news about Venezuela, received through a
channel where the voices of Henrique Capriles or Leopoldo Lopez are not
heard, or heard only after extensive editing.
Aren’t we thinking beings? To want to know what the opposition (or the
accused) thinks, to have their version in order to finalize our own
judgment – isn’t that simple common sense? Who will guarantee that
tomorrow we ourselves won’t be victims of the gag or of the
reconstruction of the story?
A monopoly over information is power. I don’t doubt this, but the truth
has its own wings. When I come to feel that we’re in an invented
country, where mountains of drowned voices wander in the fog of
omission, I recall the movie “The Truman Show”. And I remember that only
those who don’t search for the truth will content themselves (forever)
with a fictitious island, admiring a sunset….made of cardboard.
Source: Cuba: the Invented Country – Havana Times.org –