To be or not to be

Cuban society is run by different committees: the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution, the Young Communists Union, the University Students Federation, etc. What seems to many a multi-faceted system, is for us, just pure control.  All these groups create unnecessary interferences in the private life of the individual.

There is a file assigned to each Cuban, since early pre-school, in which any family or personal incident is recorded. Parent’s involvement in revolutionary activity, involvement in patriotic-military activities like “Sunday Defense Training”,  “Pioneer Stronghold”, “The May 1st March”, etc.

At student centers and work places, moral-political assemblies complete evaluations that go into the file.  Is a kind of meeting where each individual is evaluated and expected to do their own self-evaluation. Usually this is done to find the military’s front line for the year. The prize is awarded to those who pass the socialist morality parameters.

Positive remarks certify, tomorrow, the ability to receive a college education. We cannot forget that the university is only for the revolutionary. Such endorsements guarantee a job position that matches personal goals.

This is the ideal way to “voluntarily” enter the citizen into the system. You may well criticize or not. Do voluntary work or go to a march at The Anti-Imperialist Bandstand if you want. They’re not mandatory activities, but everyone knows it is for their own good.

If there’s anything negative on the record, or no revolutionary prospect, there’s no reliability. It doesn’t matter if you’re an excellent professional, there are no rewards for you. No foreign missions, no “subsidiary stimulus.” The best case scenario is to be condemned to the margins, live in the shadows.

But the control does not end there, at each block there is a committee. If you want a job position, you need recommendations from the President of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, from a member of Cuba’s Communist Party, and from representatives of social organizations in your neighborhood.  In every sense, you must keep, at least in appearance, the conduct of a revolutionary.

Being a revolutionary is to step forward any time you are needed, even if you lack the means to do so. To sacrifice at the personal level, to live in deprivation, to wait for something to come some day, although when is unknown.

Keep your position at the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution meetings, or walk at the square with the crowds. Watch, listen, and inform your superiors whenever you are ordered to.

Give your dues the organizations you are involved with, that is, with all of them. And most important, shut up.

That is why there are no voices, just murmurs. You can yell, but then you’ll have to accept the consequences. There is no way to escape the control. At most, we can just ignore it.

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