The poet says…
ARMANDO CHAGUACEDA | Ciudad de México | 7 de Junio de 2017 – 10:19 CEST.
Poets, they say, are usually noble people. They write of beauty and
pain, rise above the banality of everyday life, and turn the simplest
elements of the universe into magic. Poets, they say, have sensitive
souls. But I’m not so sure that this necessarily translates into an
eternal defence of the helpless or an incorruptible love of humanity. At
the end of the day, for every bard with a thirst for justice, there is
always a buffoon who reveres tyrants, whether out of fear, wealth, or
vanity; in some cases, a mixture of all three.
I am writing about them – not about poetry – after reading two texts
written by poets. In one, a former defender of human rights, now an
official serving the dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro, seeks to fudge his
spineless refusal to denounce repression unleashed in Venezuela. In the
other, a Mexican friend invokes Neruda and Che Guevara to justify his
silence regarding the situation in Cuba. “I condemn all violence,” says
the former, as if the savage attacks by police and paramilitary forces
were analogous to essentially peaceful marches by citizens. “Cuba is
something personal to me, believe me,” says the latter, as if political
imprisonments, the repression of thought, and the country’s fleeing
youth, yearning for a future, could be resolved through his
After a 20th century rife with horrors – labor camps, genocides and
invasions – in the name of liberation, it is hard to believe that there
are still people like this, who call themselves poets and militants at
the same time. People who subordinate a prosaic truth to an abstract
idea that is never realised. People who refuse to condemn with the same
disgust the young people killed in Mexico or Caracas, those who have
been forgotten in Guantanamo, and those condemned to Havana’s dungeons.
People who celebrate, at the same time, the freedom of Óscar López and
the imprisonment of Leopoldo López. People who applaud us when we march
together against Donald Trump, but who anathematize us when we denounce
their false utopias. People who justify their complicit silence before
the abuses committed in the name of “the Revolution,” invoking
ideological loyalty and past heroism.
No, gentlemen, nothing excuses you. Your attitude is not – as occurred
in Stalinist Moscow – the result of remoteness and ignorance. It is
conscious and calculated. There are piles of evidence right before you,
but you refuse to see, to read, to feel. You choose to be bards of an
intolerant sect and, given the chance, you would be the censors of a new
despot. Your notebooks and readings, since you chose to abet oppression,
are stained with a blood every bit as red and wasted as other bloods,
like the ideas you claim to embody and defend.
This article originally appeared in the Mexican newspaper La Razón. It
is published here with the author’s permission.
Source: The poet says… | Diario de Cuba –