The writing today stems from a telephone conversation with a good friend. While we were both born in Cuba, I was born early enough to recall a prosperous Cuba, a joyful Cuba, an economically progressive Cuba, and a free Cuba in most respects. And yes, I use the term free despite the historical allegations that erode the notion of liberty during the Batista regime deposed in 1959 by the Castro feudal clan. In comparison, anyone who did not outwardly and with deliberate acts of aggression attempt to tumble the dictatorship was left alone to promote his/her own version of free will and the pursuit of happiness creole style. In essence, as long as someone didn’t attempt to promote the fall of the Batista regime, he/she was left to live his/her life unhindered. Definitely, Cuba under Batista was not the Dominican Republic under Trujillo.
My friend, on the other hand, was born barely a couple of years before the Cuban Revolution turned the former republican form of government in Cuba into a feudal society with a single, non-benevolent despot, a feudal lord reigning over his subjects, turning the nation into his and his family’s personal plantation with now twelve million slaves who must do what he orders or face dire consequences. He grew up under the current feudal system that has plagued our native mother-land for over fifty-five years now.
He received his education under feudalism. He studied after our History was re-written to suit the malevolent schemes the mendacious system wants to project as authentic to ensure sympathizers across the globe as it promotes its nefarious goals to remain in power. He achieved his age of reason after the system had engaged in the country’s economic destruction. He witnessed growing up the systematic erosion of Cuba’s social fiber at the hand of its current slave-owners and their sycophants, whose bread is buttered by playing the game of their feudal lord lest they and all those they love face horror and dismay, the same horror and dismay faced every day by the other poor souls whose only remaining ambition lies in an eventual flight out of their hell hole. In summary, he grew up after Cuba was anachronistically transported back to the Dark Ages, a moment in time before the Renaissance opened the world to the Age of Enlightenment and its progressive outlook on democratic representation.
My friend worked hard to think clearly. He strived to find sources of inspiration and reference in works of importance that slipped through the cracks and served him well to understand the world outside the Cuban Holocaust in which he was raised. He’s a self-made man of great intellect and an impeccable clarity of communication. Yet, he still finds it difficult to blanketly repudiate all those who play the game that retains in power in Cuba the feudal lord and his merciless control of everything and everyone on the island.
My friend fled the regime as a young man, freshly graduated from the university, ostracized over his religious devotion, and nauseated from his experiences. I left at the age of 13 with different experiences and a truncated childhood. This difference in our upbringing and our age difference at the moment each of us fled the repression on the island brings me to question many important and pertinent issues today, raising awareness over important social and ethical concerns.
In essence, I question how a political system that destroys individualism and every fiber of a social structure could ever be trusted to forge mentally healthy individuals; individuals able to adapt to less stressful conditions away from the repression; acting favorably in situations that require higher-order thinking, those beyond struggling with essential day to day survival needs; situations where we are expected to make the right choices for us, our family, our community, our country and the world in absolute freedom. How is an individual able to understand the obligation ethical principles present, after growing up knowing that in order to survive a person has to hide his authentic feelings toward the society that engulfs him/her as an individual? How is a child who witnesses his parents hiding behind a façade of acceptance able to discern truth from fiction? How is a generation growing up without ethics, unacquainted with ethics and ethical expectations ever evolve to understand what ethics connotes and how ethics are essential in a free society? How are individuals able to tell the truth and face the consequences of truthfully stating their mind when they must lie to survive the hostile system that shaped them? How is a whole nation immersed in totalitarian feudalism able to move forward under any system of government less despotic than the one the people grew up with and is used to? How is lying as a way of life ever repudiated when people grow up thinking lying is worthwhile as hiding the truth in public and thinking something else privately becomes a way of life in order to survive?
These questions are difficult to answer. It’s also difficult to understand how individuals today play the feudal lord’s game and milk the system abroad to benefit their social standing in Cuba as they cross the borders and return with goods to make their hypocrisy seem like an act of practicality and astute convenience. How are individuals who own property in Cuba, rent their properties to tourists who pay them in US dollars in the US, all while receiving US government benefits in the US not make every hard-working, ethical individual’s blood boil? How are feudalist sympathizers able to dismiss their contribution to the regime by invoking their love for relatives who remain behind as they go back to visit them barely a few months after obtaining political asylum in the US?
Something is rotten and it’s clear to many that the regime through the years managed to infiltrate with sympathizers and collaborators pivotal positions across different government agencies in the US, its universities, colleges, states, cities and municipalities, enabling other ethically-deprived individuals collaborating with the feudal lords to benefit today from the largesse of the American people. The spooks promote other spooks by finding them government benefits, scholarships and remunerated positions where people of other nationalities and natural-born Americans themselves are denied similar opportunities.
How do we defend ourselves against this ongoing onslaught of infiltrators when the Cuban system has benefitted from fifty-five years of collusion and determination to bring about an end to the American social fiber that nourished us and made us strong and open-minded enough to fight for the inalienable rights of all around the globe? How is an ethical society to defend itself from unethical barbarians out to pillage all the resources others have compassionately put in place to save the weakest of its members?