It’s Time For Politics To Stop Separating Families And Friends /
14ymedio, Pedro Campos
14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Havana, 29 December 2016 — The model imposed in
Cuba in the name of a socialism that never existed had, among its worst
results, the politicization of everything. Families fought over
politics. Friends became enemies. This was one of the most disastrous
consequences of the “revolutionary intransigence” in which several
generations of Cubans were (badly) educated.
This intransigence, generated by the group in power, facilitated the
development of others.
The phenomenon affected practically every family and friendship, which
according to tradition had always remained very united. The divisions
began in 1959, when the provisional government that was intended to give
way to the restoration of institutionalized democracy, failed to do so
and turned itself into a permanent revolutionary government that began
to apply justice in its own way.
Immediately, more than a few began to see how to advance the centralized
and anti-democratic policies, traditionally identified with communism,
that had done so much damage in Europe and which, in the island’s past,
had been linked to Batista, the tyrant who was expelled from power.
Disagreement in democracy is normal, but when there is none and dissent
is considered treason and is not accepted, as in Cuba in the early days
after the triumph of the Revolution, thinking differently is identified
With the first “counterrevolutionaries” began the first great exodus and
many families stopped seeing each other or even communicating for many
years. Then came other waves. In the early 80’s, some of those who had
gone into exile began to return to visit and that began to break the ice.
It was not easy for families to welcome “worms” and “traitors” who now
returned with gifts and greater incomes, from a country with another
language, culture, climate and traditions. People were afraid that they
could lose their membership in the Communist Party or a government job.
Some of those who remained in Cuba would not receive their relatives at
that time. Or old friends would not visit with them.
With time and new waves of migration, many of those who had refused to
receive their relatives or friends also went into exile. During the
Mariel Boatlift, some had participated in the repudiation rallies and
shouted, “Let the scum go.” They threw eggs. And later, more than a few
them took the same path.
The intransigents insist on continuing to confront families and friends
over politics, and they still reject friendships between people who
think differently, but there are also people who feel individuals are
separate from their ideas and they leave them alone, considering them
friends. Pope Francis comes to mind when he talked about “social
In Miami, on the other side, there are also intransigents. Both sides
make it all the more difficult.
Now, in the aftermath of the former leader’s death, we hear again about
“revolutionaries” who did not make friendships carry the weight of
politics and did not accept judgments about the consequences of their
imprint on democracy and socialism. Intolerance is necessary for nothing
There are many people who do not lend themselves to politics destroying
families and friendships. They are fundamental pillars of the future Cuba.
Today, because of the wide exchanges among all Cubans, despite the
intolerance expressed from the rulers, there is more tolerance. This is
part of the preparation necessary to live in a democracy, which will
come sooner rather than later.
It is time for politics to stop separating families and friends. We are
in a good moment for it. Cuba, to advance, needs to leave behind so much
confrontation, so much stubbornness, so much stupidity. Perhaps all
that, on both sides, reached the highest possible point in recent days,
and now, like all that rises, it must descend.
It must be understood that, regardless of the political differences, we
Cubans will one day have to talk to each other and sit together in a
democratic parliament leaving behind grudges and the difficult and
dramatic moments of our history, leading with the future and looking for
a way to accept ourselves in our diversity.
There will have to be apologies and pardons, difficult encounters. If
not men, history will punish crimes and abuses. There will have to be
changes in political power, it will have to be peaceful and democratic,
but blood must be avoided in order not to resume the cycle of violence,
if we really want to see Cuba as a great nation with its international
economic and political weight. Politics will have to give way to family
and friendship. A divided country is easily made a victim of national
and global hegemonies.
Source: It’s Time For Politics To Stop Separating Families And Friends /
14ymedio, Pedro Campos – Translating Cuba –