Cubans

We Are Delinquents, and Are Proud of It

HAVANA, Cuba. – The communist regime does not accept the fact that there have been and will continue to be protests in Cuba. The regime calls them “disturbances” and it wants to impose on the world a distorted narrative where Cubans who dissent, oppose the government and demand freedom are delinquent and confused people.
Personally, if there were no other choice but to choose between those two insults, it offends me less when the government calls us “delinquents” than when it calls us “fools”, for after all, that is what they say when they insist on calling by the misnomer “confused” our actually being fed up.
It is as irritating and offensive as trying to make the world believe –so in tune with the “revolutionary utopia” they admire from afar, with their bellies full- that the political crisis in Cuba will be resolved by giving people, free-of-charge, three pounds of rice and a can of Russian meat that was packaged in 2017!
However, regarding the word “delinquent”, we’re talking about the worn-out criminalization of anyone or anything that voices its opposition to them, and it takes me back, with satisfaction, to the etymology of the word.
Delinquent comes from the Latin delinquentis, from the verb delinquere which means “one who fails to perform a duty or discharge an obligation…one who disobeys.” Thus, the tens of thousands of Cubans who found the courage to take to the streets to demand freedom, plus the millions who decided to emigrate or were forced into exile, and even the multitudes that have chosen to stay here and disobey in silence, are indeed people who have failed to discharge an obligation –who have refused to follow orders- by default or in defiance.
Seen from this perspective, we are a nation with a “delinquent majority”, and one even feels proud about being labeled by the communist government with a term they consider pejorative. 
However, it doesn’t translate as pejorative because it emanates from a place where no satisfaction could be derived by the use of a “better” term, a place where any word or gesture that praises us must be seen as a warning that we are going down the wrong path, away from our intention of becoming fair and worthy men and women.
Therefore, in our peculiar context, where a dictatorship aims to disqualify everyone and everything that does not agree with it, a delinquent person is the subject that resists or rebels against all violations and, as a result, is synonymous with dignity.
Also in our context, to end up labeled within the official discourse not so much as “delinquent persons” but barely as “marginalized people”, also makes us happy inasmuch as the powers that be, with their contradictory nature, recognize as “renegades” that part of society that resists falling or being trapped by an evil and miserable system of communist privilege and blackmail. 
Thus, for the regime, “marginalized” and delinquent” people are those subjects that do not join its Mafia-like pact where loyalty is directly proportional to fear, mediocrity and opportunism.
In addition, “marginalized” and delinquent” people are above all, those who have discovered on time that the main problem is not that the system doesn’t work or that a gang of inept individuals holds the reins of power, but something worse. Truthfully, this strange thing that looks more like an orthodox sect than a political system, was never designed to involve us on equal footing, but to make us revolve around their caste till we were dizzy and confused… the very caste that proclaims itself as the highest body in Cuban society, irremovable and infallible. 
It would be difficult to be more pretentious and more ridiculous than Cuban communists, but let’s not make the mistake of underestimating them. Least of all, underestimating their ability to 
embed themselves in the seat of power, and to sow their own convenient narrative in the media, as well as in academia and other American and European institutions that have been kidnapped by the regime’s agents of influence. Their glossary of terms and phrases provokes confusion, as for example, when “Cuba” becomes a “communist government”, and the “order to fight” spoken by the president, brazenly becomes “a call to peace”.
When I hear them say “Leave Cuba in peace”, I cannot help but think about the shamelessness inherent to the phrase, and the immoral right to violence that they dare to claim as power -a repressive power- before the eyes of the democratic world. 
In that sense, I don’t regard as naïve or as “individual initiative” the impudence of those who propose “bridges of love” between Cuba and the U.S., especially when the “bricks” they will use to build such a “masterwork of engineering” –more economic than ecumenical in nature- are oblivion, opportunism, repression, and the criminalization of the opposition, the marginalization of those who think and speak from opposite sides of the ideological and political spectrum. 
Bridges of love, for what? So that it can clear the way for the adventurer who has made, or aims to make, a fortune from our communist mishap? Bridges to better educate our “friends from the North” (formerly known as “enemies and worms”) the old lesson about how behaving well, lowering our heads, and following the rules are rewarded by the right (so stated in the Official Gazette) to taste a tiny piece (and I mean “tiny”) of that great pie, filled with scams and swindlers that we call “socialist economy”? Bridges, so that the future independent press can turn into a clone of OnCuba News, or that all the small businesses that arrive here from “the brutal and turbulent North” can take their cue from Fuego Enterprises Inc.?
Bridges, of course, so they can allow you to set up a home restaurant, a paladar, where you can serve lobster clandestinely without worrying; bridges, to keep inspectors away from the Airbnb that you rent out in Havana but manage from Miami; bridges, to bring that cheap rubbish you bought in Chinese flea markets that you will sell back home at prices as high as officialdom allows you; bridges, to profit with the increase of remittances and charter flights; bridges to promote Cuba as the paradise that it is not, so that the world’s Left, more sinister by the day, can come to screw the young prostitute, the jinetera, who vowed to be like Che; so that gringos can enjoy smoking Havana cigars in front of the poor Cuban peasants who produces them, those very same Cuban peasants –confused and potentially delinquents- who can’t even buy the cheapest cigarettes because they have neither US dollars nor Euros with which to buy them. 
In that glossary filled with semantic twists and turns, the word “bridge” means “accolade”, “legitimacy”, and also “funeral”, since it aims to bury forever the hopes of Cuban men and women for radical change. Radical change so that true bridges can become two-way paths and not just one-ways with heavy tolls that we must pay in order to cross them. Real bridges that we can cross and benefit from freely, and not as privilege awarded by caste in violation of our rights as human beings.
A definitive change, so that no future government will have the audacity to label as “delinquent or confused” anyone who demands, in his or her legitimate way, the right to live in freedom. 
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EDITORIAL: Cuba has chosen the path to freedom, and it’s vital not to leave her alone

HAVANA, Cuba. – July 11th is already inscribed in Cuba’s history as the true day of national rebellion. Thousands of Cubans who took to the streets in almost every province, besieged by hunger, shortage of medicines, lack of individual freedoms and an increase in the number of people taken ill or deceased from COVID-19, dismantled in a few hours the grotesque farce of the last 62 years, as well as the official discourse about CIA-financed counterrevolution that the Castro regime has repeated persistently since the events of November 27, 2020.
Amidst shouts of “Freedom”, “Fatherland and Life” and “We Are Not Afraid”, the spark of rebellion started in the town of San Antonio de los Baños, and spread throughout the island, triggering strong police repression.  Cubans who experienced the Maleconazo protests (Havana, 1994) admit that nothing like this had ever been witnessed, for its massive and simultaneous characteristics. The dictatorship, as would be expected, chose to respond aggressively and to bully the demonstrators.  During a rough television appearance, a visibly-shaken president Miguel Díaz-Canel responded with the same old rhetoric, blaming the US. embargo and the U.S. administration. In his diatribe, as weak and erratic as it was at certain moments, he ended by calling for civil war when he stressed that “the streets belong to the revolutionaries’ and summoned the regime’s supporters to confront legitimate civilian protests, which he described as “provocations orchestrated from abroad”, a completely false statement.
If such was the exile community’s agenda, then the regime should admit that it would be in perfect consonance with the Cuban people’s wishes. The people were never consulted by the Díaz-Canel government as to the dollarization of the economy; the arrival of Russian tourists amid new outbreaks of the pandemic; the export of twelve million vaccines to Venezuela when only a little more than one million Cubans have been vaccinated; the remittance of medicines to Nicaragua while Cuban hospitals are lacking even in basic analgesics, and so many other important decisions that have been made unilaterally, demonstrating that the government’s agenda has nothing to do with the needs of the people.
If the protests were organized by Cuban exiles, then Díaz-Canel should recognize that the Cuban exile community’s convening power is greater than that of his government, and that the internal opposition is very well organized from one end to the other of the Cuban archipelago, something which the regime has always denied.
Díaz-Canel lied without gagging, protected by the media apparatus that operates at the service of the Communist Party of Cuba, and by the interruption of internet services nation-wide, thus preventing access to first-hand information about what really happened in San Antonio de los Baños, where truckloads of “Red Berets” forces attacked protesters, beating-up and arresting dozens of people before his arrival and subsequent stroll down the now-empty streets, surrounded by State Security agents. In other provinces, the National Revolutionary Police, the Special Forces, and thugs from the secret police brutally charged against the protesters, most of whom were women. The image of a photographer from Associated Press has gone viral, his broken nose bleeding after being attacked by the police while covering the protest in from of the Radio and Television Institute (ICRT, by its Spanish acronym) where several young artists were violently arrested.
Díaz-Canel’s call to hatred has unleashed tragic events in a matter of days. The country has been left incommunicado to prevent the world from witnessing in real time the brutality and vicious harassment of the regime’s Special Forces against civilians. In a few more days, we will know exactly the number of people killed, gravely wounded and arrested, but already the Díaz-Canel government, steered from the shadows by the Castro family, is being called by the name it deserves in the entire world.
Díaz-Canel has stated that Cuba does not need humanitarian assistance, and Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla has denied that a social outbreak has occurred, calling the events of July 11th “disturbances, vandalism and undisciplined behavior by counterrevolutionary elements.” However, the regime, and all of Cuba, knows that it was not a mere handful of civilians here and there, but thousands of people throughout the country, citizens that have had enough with the terrible situation that the island is facing. Díaz-Canel insists on calling the protesters “mercenaries and confused revolutionaries”, stressing once again how much he and his government despise the right of Cubans to step out of the rigid ideological box imposed on them six decades ago.
The events of July 11th showed that the change that Cuba demands is not a matter of “mercenaries on the CIA payroll”.  The genuine will of the people rejects the Díaz-Canel government and the continuation of a political system that has left the country extremely vulnerable and subject to unsurmountable political corruption at every level.
In this crucial context for the future of the island, some “analysts” have hinted at the possibility that president Joe Biden might agree to lift restrictions on remittances, a concession that would be contrary to the full freedoms that Cubans desire. Cuba’s problem will not be solved by placing more money in the hands of a dictatorship whose main premise is unproductiveness and whose control over the population is based on unstable, almost feudal, economic policies. To free-up remittances would be equivalent to accommodating the regime’s habit of importing to then re-sell to the people in hard currency and at inflated prices, the junk that China and the European Union makes available at bargain prices. Beyond a good-will gesture, it would be counterproductive.  As long as the State capitalizes all resources and investments, there will be no opportunity for private-sector growth, nor for the individual citizen.
Cuba has chosen the road to freedom, and judging from Díaz-Canel’s message, it will be attained only through new traumas and deaths. If the community of democratic nations really holds us in high regard, it should be watchful: the Castro regime will not hesitate for a minute to unleash the army against defenseless civilians. It is then that we shall know just how true the expressions of affection and solidarity from free nations toward “the Cuban people”, really are.
Today, July 14th, Cuba remains disconnected from the world by a decision from the Communist Party. This imposed silence is a lethal threat, and Cubans around the world must pay close attention. Díaz-Canel assured his audience that change would only be possible “over the dead bodies of revolutionaries”, in spite of the fact that the Cuban opposition is a peaceful opposition, as has been amply demonstrated.
Those who dream of a free Cuba do not want any deaths, but if there are any, on either side, the responsibility will fall on the Castro family, on Miguel Díaz-Canel, on the Ministiry of the Interior, on the Armed Forces, and on the official press, which continues to deny what is blatantly evident and thus would contribute, through its unethical conduct, to the killers’ impunity.
Inside the island, the people will continue to take to the streets, with a Nation’s pain, and a Nation’s pride. It is vital and urgent that they not be left alone.
Read in spanish here.
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