Fifty years ago Cuba stopped being a country which receives immigrants and turned into a nation on the run. It doesn’t matter so much if the exile is rough or velvet. It doesn’t matter if persons leave through a program of refugees or undertake a “revolutionary mission”. What almost everybody wants is to get out.
Cuba is a nation which is endlessly bleeding. The uprootment is maybe the most visible result of the 50 years of totalitarian government. The escape is the attitude, the method and the “solution” for hundreds of thousand Cubans.
We dare say that the unstoppable ethnic bleeding is one of the most harmful tragedies that Cuba has faced.
The massive exodus has harmed our past because the past became “exiled”, that is, the greatest effort was made to erase the past from the historic memory. Everything started in 1959 or at the most, in 1953. All the past is bourgeois, mafia, or bad and it must be erased. In case it cannot be erased it is turned into “socialist heritage” of the founders who are considered the intellectual authors of the present. A nation whose memory is thrown overboard dies as a nation, suffers from identity anaemia and endures the detachment from the present and this leads to a cultural electroshock.
The unstoppable exodus has harmed our present because the possibility of personal improvement of the nation’s children is “exiled”; because the milk and the honey that this Island might produce is placed in a supposed promised land. This Island is the most fertile and beautiful and the milk and honey could be a result of the work here: without an internal blockade to the initiative of the citizens; without turning the enterprising character of Cubans into a crime; without turning Cuba into a government strange to the normality of the international community. The ones who want to improve think of leaving and that is not normal for a country which wants to maintain its sovereignty and independence. The present is in constant exile. It escapes from our hands together with the life.
The desperate exodus has already harmed our future because the hope for progress and happiness inside the Island are “exiled”. Let’s think about the youngest people, about their sadness when they look at the future in a country which blockades the dreams, or that turns into dissident or opponent their desire of thinking with their own brains and being the doers of their own future. In a country where dissenting, expressing or having small civic, religious, cultural, economic or political projects is a crime or makes us suspicious or turns us into a source of “pre criminal dangerousness”; hope launches itself desperately into the sea. It prefers to die drowned once and for all than to die drowning its dreams and aspirations daily. The future is each day in which we can grow as persons, live together without mistrust, work for our happiness here and not have fear as a policeman repressing our dreams. If all this escapes, with the passing of days and years… some prefer to run away from this police nightmare that hunts the persistent “mosquitoes” which are the small projects of the enterprising persons and gives way to the smelly “camel” of violence, corruption and emerging mafia.
The worst of the tragedy of the run away country is that this escape has rooted in the national conscience as the first alternative to “get rid of this”. If you only have a small setback, if you are just different, the proposals and the incitements are abundant and we hear: “don’t be a fool, get out of this country”. Where is the Fatherland, that is, the land of our parents? We don’t speak about the Nation which we know is dismembered here and there by the ones who want to divide us in order to stay in power. We speak about Cuba, the geographic settlement that belongs to all of us, the ones here and the ones there. Cuba does not belong only to the communists and revolutionaries. Is it necessary to say it? Thus, everyone who incites to the escape to leave Cuba and forget it is contributing to the impoverishment of the Fatherland, to the extension of the agony, to the bleeding, imperceptible but lethal, of the suffering Island.
It doesn’t mean that everyone who stays loves the Island. It doesn’t mean that everyone who leaves doesn’t love the Island. It’s about the one who accepts in his conscience that “leaving” is the only alternative for Cuba. After all, everybody continues being the Cuban nation, in the Island and in the Diaspora. And what can impoverish the Island can enrich the wandering nation. Limited nationalism makes everything poor. Uprootment makes everything poor.
But the responsibility for the escape is not only personal. The Cuban government not only allows it, tolerates it and wishes it as a safety valve but presents it all the time as the “other” option of the ones who don’t want to submit themselves to the totalitarian control of the soul and the body. How can we understand, if not, that a regime which controls each step of the citizens cannot control the borders? It cannot control them because every day, in any coastal corner in the country the rapid launches are allowed to arrive in order to get persons out of the country.
How can we understand that a government that can control the airspace by bringing down two inoffensive light aircrafts or can sink a tug full of women and children cannot stop the growing, efficient and permanent business of the person traffic all over the country?
How is it that the simple citizens can organize themselves and manage to go into the sea on those launches and the government, with all the power and the military resources of the frontier guard has not been able to stop them? They only detain for three days, like a sampling, some persons who “manage” to escape later, sooner that later. The opinion of everybody, inside and abroad, launchers and Cubans that go to the sea, is that the Cuban authorities are not doing what they should do to watch our borders and prevent this massive exodus of low profile and sonority. If it isn’t so then why is the permeability of our coasts only one way: outward? Or else, this vulnerability is both ways? Isn’t there safety in our coasts? Or is it that in view of the fact that they cannot organize a massive exodus of high media profile like Camarioca (1965), Mariel (1980) and the boatmen crisis (1994), the new strategy is substituting hundreds of thousand daily capillary and silent bleedings for those big arterial bleedings?
Attention: The big bleedings are scandalously visible and they are interrupted and closed immediately in emergency. These capillary but chronic bleedings are much more dangerous for the life of the national body and nobody cares about them. They are not seen as emergency or they don’t want to see them as emergency. Their solution is postponed or disguised with compresses and placebos. Even with symptomatic medication. In the end when there is no cure for the social ethnic bleeding, we will lament why Cuba has impoverished itself, why the pernicious anaemia, why it died in or hands without complaint, without a healing surgery, without an agreement in the family.
So, it’s been already a long time since some voices here and there and more and more are raising the alarm and wish that leaving the country should not be considered as the solution to our personal, family or national problems.
Once more, we wish to go to the root cause of the problem why Cuba is a country on the run. Only by identifying the deep causes and using creativity for the solution will prevent this escapism to become a rooted national tradition.
We believe that first thing is to make a call to the conscience of each citizen. The problems of Cuba have a solution first here and with the help of everyone there. Father Félix Varela, founder of our nationality used to say very skilfully and with an impressive validity: “When the best children of one country abandon the public thing, this is dealt with by the worst children of the country”. It’s not about knowing who’s who. It takes all sorts to make a world and that’s not the point. The ones who have or promote a civic, political, religious or humanitarian vocation in Cuba should promote the attachment to the Fatherland and should disregard the escape from the country as a reaction to the repression and the control that such vocation leads to in a system like ours.
It’s not about denying the right to travel, emigrate, even the political exile as a legitimate resource for any person or family that making an ethical discernment goes to the extreme to consider that his life or the lives of their relatives are in real danger or he feels in such a way pursued that he looses his psychological or spiritual stability. We are in favour of the economic emigration and the political exile as a right and as an extreme resource.
It is necessary to identify the major and primary cause, which is not the escapist conscience of the citizens but the internal and fundamentalist blockade that they receive from the ones who hold power in the country. That is the deepest cause and the root cause why Cuba has turned into a country on the run after being a country which used to receive migrations.
If this is the cause then Cuba will only be able to stop this capillary bleeding by having a “surgery” on time, by removing the reason and the cause of the external and internal exile of the ones who alienate themselves and renounce their own freedom and responsibility: the blockade to the initiative of citizens.
But there is a question that arises and it could be: Is this the process of discernment that makes the majority of Cubans, women and men that desperately long for escaping to any place, taking any risk?
An expected and wished answer is that apart from the major cause, each person may be willing to stay in Cuba, to work for the transition to democracy, to the economic opening up, to social pluralism. That each person may choose to consciously stay without selling his soul and without shutting up his voice, peacefully; working for making possible what appears impossible; believing in the power of the smallness, in the usefulness of virtue, in the gradualism of the civic processes, behaving with personal freedom and responsibility.
The exile will stop. Immigration will be the other way around; the Nation will heal its wounds the day when the totalitarian structure changes; the day it frees the productive capacities; the day it fires the policeman who dwells inside every Cuban citizen; the policeman that invents the nightmares that blockade the best dreams of prosperity and happiness.
We believe that Cuba, the Cubans from all shores, have more than enough creative potential, enterprising mood, recovery capacity, love for their Island, wishes to undertake the blocked future and freely work with their minds, their hands and all their souls, for the reconstruction of the most beautiful and blocked land that a human eye has been able to see.
Let’s build, let’s conjugate the grammar of the inclusion and consensus, the political democracy and the freedom for the economic initiative and the decriminalization of social and cultural pluralism, then Cuba will stop being a country on the run and will turn, little by little into a national Home which may make the always remembered prophecy from Ezekiel come true day after day:
“For I will take you from among the nations,
Gather you out of all countries
And bring you into your own land
Then I will sprinkle clean water on you
And you shall be clean
I will give you a new heart
And put a new spirit within you.
Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers
I will deliver you from all your uncleanness.
I will call for the grain and multiply it
And bring no famine upon you
And I will multiply the fruit of your trees
And the increase of your fields
so that you need never again bear the reproach of famine among the nations.
I will inspire my spirit among you
And you shall live again.
And I will settle you on your land
And you will then know that I, Jeovah,
Say it and put it as my work.
Pinar del Río, 4th of August 2009.