Between Guilt and Fear

Watching events unfold in Egypt, I felt envious. The people took to the streets, shouted euphorically and showed the rulers whose hands really hold power. How much I wanted the citizens of my country to interpret that reality! However, to my regret, I feel that the day is very distant when something like this happens in Cuba.

Why not do the same? What prevents us from going outside and saying “Enough, this is our path”? Why not protest when they increased the retirement age, cut social spending and continue laying off workers? I wonder.

Why don’t workers go on strike over low wages and rising prices for food, gas and electricity service? Any of these events would lead to social unrest elsewhere in the world. In Cuba no, here come out with placards and loudly support the Revolution. So it seems we are not of this world.

“Work more with less” is the slogan used by leaders, who call us lazy, “kept people” and pigeons. These modern cars riding in the city, wasting fuel on account of the state budget, meanwhile workers are crushed into and hung out of the doors of public transport to avoid being the ones who are put on the layoff list.

Why not demand justice, rather than commenting in the hallways about corruption among government cadres with impunity to enrich themselves at our expense or with their mistakes and negligence, causing death by starvation of the mentally incapacitated?

Why are we silent when our leaders present a list of deficiencies and reproach us, demanding more sacrifice, when they should congratulate us for working with virtually no resources? Too many questions for a single answer, which is a debate between guilt and fear.

Who does not know the omnipotent and omnipresent machinery? Who feels the breeze and does not breathe, but knows that inhaling improperly constitutes a violation or a crime? Who does not know that breathing is a matter of survival? Who voluntarily seeks death by asphyxiation or strangulation?

Who does not steal? Who does not violate the law? Who ignores the punishments meted out to set an example? Who does not know the work of secret operatives and the neighbor’s capacity to save his own skin? Who is able to defend, above all, their own interests? “Silence of the Lambs” should be the title of the movie Cubans star in daily.

Apart from the envy, the determination of the Egyptian people forced me to question the reality of my country, but also to understand it. An island surrounded by sea where escape is healthier than argument. A place where you have guilt by obligation and also the duty to hide, where fear, the father of resignation and conformity, immobilizes.

March 2 2011

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