Osmel Ramirez Alvarez
HAVANA TIMES – In Cuba, the word “counter-revolutionary” means the same thing as “heresy.” For nearly six decades now, people who have not supported or fought the political system imposed by the Fidelist revolution have been branded as “counter-revolutionaries”. It means being a “worm”, “enemy of the people”, “mercenary in the service of imperialism” or “stateless person”.
It was a very dangerous stigma during the Cold War and could destroy anyone. After the 90s, the use of this term was quite hypocritical, but it is still used when someone’s reputation should be tarnished or considered hostile.
I recently thought of this derogatory term because state security agents called my actions “counter-revolutionary” the two times I was arbitrarily imprisoned for being a freelance journalist.
However, I consider myself a “revolutionary”, not at all conservative. I am always ready to change for the better and accept new paradigms if they solve our most important problems. I am also a socialist in the sense that I seek as much equality and social justice as possible and viable. I say this proudly even though I know that my movement does not have a good image in the region today.
So if I am a revolutionary and a socialist, why am I not a soldier in the unconditional service of the Cuban Revolution?
Firstly because I don’t believe that the “Cuban Revolution” has been revolutionary for a long time. To be honest, I find it too conservative. Instead of changing everything that needs to be changed, they only try to keep what can be changed, even if it hasn’t worked well for decades.
That’s why they repeatedly struggle with economic and social projects, which are the same ones that failed in the past, but with some small adjustments, but they still don’t work. And the country is sinking deeper and deeper into crisis every year, which they cannot fix. However, there is no way they can admit that real change needs to take place.
Secondly, because I am a determined and convinced democrat and the political formula of the “Cuban Revolution” is inevitably quasi-democratic. I use the prefix “almost” to refer to what I learned while studying my biology degree, that “almost” is something that is not right now but may become while ” quasi” is something that is not right now and has no way of ever becoming.
My God, I wish I was wrong! I’m serious.
Imagine that during this process of constitutional reform, Raul decided to carry out a real democratic reform, which could even be considered socialist, as a last minute legacy for all of us. Let him hand over the power of the single party to national institutions which then take on a truly democratic character.
That the social achievements that are sacred to our people (which we cannot really enjoy in these conditions of extreme poverty that we live in) can be protected by a Constitution that gives the working class “real power” to defend their rights , as well as any social class. For this to be the beginning of a new Cuba, of national reconciliation in times of social peace and economic progress.
We are told that the reality we live and suffer today is the result of a war to the death with the US imperialist enemy who wants to devour us, but that is not true. This has long since ceased to be true. It is a cold war between Cubans and we must solve this problem between civilized Cubans.
However, if the government does not accept or recognize the rights of Cubans who are not communists, there will never be social peace in Cuba. And this expression “Cuba” does not boil down to our national geography in this case, but also includes all Cubans, no matter where they are. We must internalize the wise words of the eminent American figure Benito Juarez: “Respect for the rights of others is peace”.
However, nothing indicates a change, not even the slightest. There is not a single ray of light at the end of the tunnel. They continue with the same extremist rhetoric they have used in the past and with an “iron fist” to stay in power, crushing any signs of social protest.
As if the world hadn’t given us so many lessons in history, democracy and freedom since 1917; as if humanity hadn’t changed much since then as well as a set of concepts and beliefs that seemed to be eternal and sacred truths.
It’s so absurd that they label those of us who really want to “change everything that needs to be changed” as “counter-revolutionaries.” Even journalists, while we are imprisoned or monitored so that we don’t have a different voice or the ability to travel abroad.
And it is the conservatives who are doing this today, who are still in power only because they use repressive forces and suppress basic human rights. It pains me greatly to see extremist Cubans with so much power to hurt their brothers and sisters, just because they think of a different Cuba. It pains me to see my country so twisted.