FREEDOM AND FRATERNITY FOR CUBA.
“The Greek Democracy had conquered for the citizen the right to participate in public life. Modern democracy inverts the relation: the State loses the right to intervene
in the private life of citizens”.
To change but not to change the essence: This could be the diagnosis of what is happening in Cuba. To regret in the middle of the disappointment and the indifference or to bring the future forward: they are two of the doors through which we continue living.
In order to get out of the structural immobilism it is better to think and bring forward the future we want for Cuba. A significant number of Cubans ask for greater degrees of freedom in its diverse manifestations: personal freedom to be ourselves without fear, freedom of conscience, of expression, freedom to meet and associate ourselves, economic and political freedom, religious freedom, freedom for artistic, literary and scientific creation, freedom for communication and access to Internet, freedom to travel inside and outside the country and many other ways to exercise individual freedom.
However, freedom not only has the personal dimension to satisfy the needs and rights of human beings but it is a way to break down the walls of selfishness, rivalry and violence as a solution to diversity and discrepancy. It is the freedom that helps the egos and the fake divisions of the only and plural human family to transcend.
Freedom cannot be a trench to take covers one in front of the other or to lock up to otherness and much less to attack, discredit or violently confront the others in the name of a freedom without boundaries or ethical regulations. That’s not personal freedom but barbaric licentiousness. That is not human right but offensive wildness ethically unacceptable when it’s about some citizens against others and even worse when it’s about the State against the citizens.
Individual liberties as all human rights have their dialectical pair in duties that are inseparably correspondent. For example: to the right to express ourselves freely corresponds the duty to respect the others when we express ourselves. To the right of economic initiative, the duty of sharing and redistributing the richness obtained through the tax system contribution corresponds. The right to religious freedom has a correspondence in the duty to respect the right to profess other religions or the respect for the atheism of the others. The States have the right to look after the order and the gobernability but their duty is to protect and take care of their citizens as well as to guarantee its right to its own governance. That is what we want for Cuba in the present and in the future.
Likewise, the rights of the modern States can only reach the public range and never the scope of the private life of their citizens. To control the private life of the citizens is not only an abuse of the rights of the State but a flagrant violation of the rights of persons, even more if the way of organizing the State intends to control all dimensions of the human existence: the family, the neighbourhood, the friends, the associations, the labor and the public one. This is the extreme way to exercise the rights of the State and the worst way to violate the rights of citizens. This is called totalitarianism, precisely because it tries to control everything and everyone in every space of life. To take care of the privacy of citizens is not only a duty of every modern State but the guarantee of its ethics. We want that for Cuba in the present and in the future.
Living Together Is More than Tolerance.
In short: the liberties and the rights of an individual reach the limits of the space where the liberties and the rights of others are. This is the secret of the pacific and civilized coexistence. We want that for Cuba. However, this is only one first step: the step of tolerance; but coexistence is not the superior way of human and social relations. The superior way is to live together.
To live together is more than tolerating and more than coexisting. It’s more than to exercise our own rights and liberties and even more than to respect the freedom and the rights of the others. To live together is more than to live in a State that respects the liberties and the rights of its citizens, that takes care of them and protect them from every violation to their physical existence and to their dignity. Living together is more than to live in a State that does not interfere in the private life of the citizens and protects that personal sphere of ones and the others preventing, through order and right, that the citizens attack one another. Living together is more than the regulations and the subsidiary services of the modern State that only exercises its power of service in the fields where persons and the different ways of association cannot do by themselves.
Living together is to achieve harmony between our own freedom and the freedom of the others. It means to complete the exercise of the liberties by respecting unrestrictedly the rights of the others. But, above all, to live together is to go beyond the rights, liberties and State structures: to live together means fraternity.
Indeed, if we believe that it’s time to leave the complaint and think of the future of Cuba, we wish a future which is not restricted to freedom, human, social, economic and political rights. We wish for Cuba the fullest way of human relations which is the inseparable communion between freedom and fraternity. It’s the supreme vocation of man and woman. It’s the dignifying fulfilment of the human family with a universal and inclusive dimension. For centuries, in the world and in Cuba up to the present, many have fought, lived and died for freedom and rights. And that inheritance of martyrdom must be honoured. For centuries, humankind have been growing and maturing in its aspirations until 1789 when humankind reached that formula of the western culture that the French revolution brought: freedom, equality, fraternity.
Two have been the systems that came afterwards: one of them was capitalism which put emphasis on freedom, above equality and fraternity. The other one was socialism which put emphasis on equality, above freedom and fraternity. The results of both systems are well known, with their lights and shadows. The great loser in both systems has been fraternity. The historic lesson could be summarized like this: with freedom without equality and without fraternity, man becomes a wolf of man. Likewise, with imposed equality, without freedom and without fraternity, the State becomes a wolf of man.
We wish not any of the two experiments for the future of Cuba. We wish not any exclusion of that civic trinity: we should not leave out freedom, equality and much less fraternity. Our flag, just like the French flag or the Chilean, the Croatian, the Panamanian flag or the flag of the Netherlands, carry the three colours that marked that step forward from the absolutism of the State to the sovereignty of citizens. This step was the end of all absolute powers but only ten years later, in 1799, the new formula that organized the power service was hit for the first time by Napoleon. Such has been the advance of humankind: zigzagging. There is no historic materialism which makes the human genre to advance in a mechanical and irreversible way.
A New Way to Organize Society: Fraternity’s Primacy.
There is too much violence: among persons, in the families, socially and internationally. The culture implanted is the following: if you attack first you strike twice. The perspective that there is always an external or internal enemy is fostered. The media encourage the culture of exasperation, threat, the trench, the war against the enemy. The language is that of battle: to crush the opponent, to eliminate the adversaries, to discredit anyone who does not think or act the way we wish him to do. All of this, through the media, promotes violence, exasperates the mood, induces people to revenge, foments hatred and educates badly for confrontation. Let’s stop the culture of confrontation among human beings, all of us are brothers:
We want for Cuba the equality of dignity and the rights of every human being before God and before the law; we also want the equality in opportunities to progress personally and in the community. The lack of equality before God and before the law has provoked all kinds of injustices. On the other hand, the egalitarianism by decree has already generated the anthropological, economic and social disaster that we all know. The systems that put this value as a centre failed when they disregarded or crushed freedom and fraternity.
We want for Cuba the freedom inherent to every human being; the freedom that nobody can bestow or violate; freedom from all physical or moral limitation; freedom that do not violate the freedom of the others; and freedom of the soul, of the spirit so that anybody be asphyxiated inside. The lack of inner freedom and the lack of social liberties is the civil death of persons and peoples. On the other hand, the licentiousness without ethical regulation has already caused every kind of violence and abuse inside and out persons and countries. The systems that put this value as a centre failed when they disregarded or postponed the social justice and the living together.
We want for Cuba the fraternity which is the natural way of living among human beings in family and in the community. Fraternity is the base for living together and the result of the combination between equality and freedom. Fraternity promotes virtue and love in every man and woman. It brings out the best characteristics of the human spirit and it has been able to write the most notable stories of generosity, dedication and solidarity. None of the political, economic and social systems has put this value as the centre of their programs. Only religions and fraternal or philanthropic associations have fragmentarily experienced the results of fraternity.
But societies are not organized as churches. That would be a return to theocracies, an involution which we don’t want. Society has its own nature, its dynamics and its means. The very French trilogy was born out of the civil society against the absolute powers which subdued the human person whether they were monarchical or ecclesiastical. It’s about the rescue of the French revolution values or the religious values without using violent methods or the sacralization of society. Thus respecting the autonomy of the temporary realities and their own dynamics, it is possible and desirable to plant and cultivate values and virtues in the political, economic and social systems so that the human person be the subject, centre and end of the State structures, the Market and the civil society.
The human person’s primacy results in the consideration of two of his structural qualities also as primary: freedom to be different and unrepeatable and equality in his dignity and his opportunities. That personal freedom and that equality in his human condition make possible that all men and women in the world be a true family: “Every man is my brother”: so stated the slogan of one of the World Journeys for Peace held by the Catholic Church.
Proposals for a Fraternity Culture in the Future of Cuba.
The practical and daily consequences of this political, economic and social philosophy could be:
1. Fraternity would place peace and dialogue as a way of life and violence whether it is among persons, groups or nations would be banned: To attack is to violate the freedom, the equality and the fraternity of the others.
2. Fraternity would consider the participation of citizens as a natural exercise of every human family without exclusions, in a more democratic political system in which the partisan diversity would not be considered a crime but a richness of plural living together.
3. Civil and political liberties would encourage the sound competition for the development of persons and the progress of peoples.
4. The economic, social and cultural liberties would be moderated by a grater equality of opportunities and by the respect for the equality and dignity of the ones who work and create.
5. Equality would be reached not by descendant, egalitarian decree but by being all of us, even the ones in power who serve their people, under the law, with equal rights and duties; this would prevent a few to be “more equal” than the ones excluded or discriminated for being different or disagreeing.
6. The equality of all citizens would be the possibility to have access to the same economic, work-related opportunities and the opportunities of association and expression in order to show their capacities and merits as the two components of the holistic human development.
7. The family and the school should be the first educators in this new model of living together. Fraternity which is the result of freedom and the diverse equality of each member of the home paves the way to social life. The school cannot be partisan or sectarian or exclusive in its pedagogy or in its methods or in its ends. A participatory and liberating education is indispensable to mould citizens for pacific cohabitation and civic empowerment.
8. The market would be a means and not the end and would give opportunities for development: free, equal and fraternal opportunities. Businessmen and employees would not only defend their own rights but in the process of respecting each others’ rights, a climate of class-struggle would not be present but a climate of cooperation to reach the good of the local, national or global community.
9. The State would be a public server and not an authoritarian father or the fool son of the family. The State would guarantee the legal framework for gobernability and the capacity of governance in which each citizen is able to rule his own destiny, the destiny of his family and his group.
10. The well structured civil society would be the school and work-shop where the civic education and the experience in the range of small initiatives would empower the citizens so that they can learn and exercise their rights and duties by themselves.
We are determined not to succumb to frustration and escapism; living behind the 15 minutes for criticism and complaint, it’s time for each Cuban citizen, each family and each group of the civil society to start proposing, suggesting and contributing the truly new elements and the best for Cuba.
It’s time already to propose what each one of us consider to be the best for Cuba, without delay, without exclusions, without repression, without discredit, without fear. Because there is no freedom if there is fear. There is no equality if there is fear and much less there is fraternity. Fear is the best barometer to measure the social pressure. If you feel fear inside yourself there is something very wrong in Cuba. If you feel that your neighbours and friends live in fear too, something worse is happening in Cuba.
Fear can only be beaten through transparency in life, serenity in the actions and the conviction that what we think, feel and do is good. Fear always loses before the truth and the kindness of our actions.
To overcome fear and to continue proposing ethical and possible solutions for Cuba are the best services to the sovereignty of citizens, to the national identity and to the economic and spiritual progress of Cubans, men and women.
To propose the truly new things and do it in the range of the small initiatives can be one of the keys to the future of Cuba.
Let’s do it.
Pinar del Río, may 20th 2011.
109th anniversary of the birth of the Republic of Cuba.