Unión Patriótica de Cuba

Emerging From Inertia to the Left or the Right? / Yoani Sánchez

Emerging From Inertia to the Left or the Right? / Yoani Sánchez
Translator: Unstated, Yoani Sánchez

12mglobalI wasn't yet old enough to go to school and I was at the park
the neighbors in the area called "Carlos III," although the maps
insisted on labeling it "Carlos Marx." My sister and I were playing in
the dry fountain, jumping from one bench to another. At some point we
glanced over at the site of the Masonic Lodge at the corner of
Belascoain and the globe on its roof was throwing out gray smoke,
slowing burning up in front of our eyes. I remember we shouted at my
father, "Papi! The world is on fire!" and the three of us ran to the
building guard to tell him. In a few minutes the fire trucks came and
from that day the reproduction of the planet ceased to turn, its
rotating mechanism stopped working… for decades.

In this same park from my childhood, the Critical Observatory* held a
meeting yesterday, in solidarity with the worldwide movement of the
outraged. Hours before the demonstrators arrived, the area was taken by
the political police as well as uniformed guards. Several activists and
journalists were detained before they got there, and taken to distant
neighborhoods so they could not participate. The event finally happened,
although with marked haste and low attendance. They were able, however,
to display a pair of anti-capitalist banners, take some photos, and
connect, from a distance, with the current of discontent shaking
countries like Spain, England and the United States. The attendees sang
the Internationale and some habituates of the place discovered — just
then — the face of the author of Das Kapital chiseled into the wall.
Fifteen minutes later #12MGlobal ended in Havana and the children
returned to take over the empty fountain, the benches, and the bust in
relief of a man born in Germany in 1818. At night, prime time news would
report the protests in London and Madrid, while remaining silent about
the demonstration on our national territory.

Despite the limited number of attendees and the narrow ideology of the
convocation, what happened yesterday is something that enriches Cuban
civil society. The official sectarianism doesn't distinguish between
nonconformists on the left or right, suspicious of all who dare to
criticize, regardless of their affiliation. In the offices of State
Security they will have an open file on Jose Daniel Ferrer as well as
Pedro Campos, they will follow the tracks of the Patriot Union of Cuba,
as well as those of the Critical Observatory with suspicion. To
totalitarianism, it doesn't matter if its dissidents say they embrace
the same doctrine as the once official manuals, criticizing alone is
enough to land them in the same sack of enemies. This country stuck in
political inertia needs to get moving, urgently needs to embark on the
path of pluralism and democracy. Like the globe at the corner of Carlos
III and Belascoaín, Cuba must begin to move. Perhaps at first it will
turn to the left or to the right, it will stumble and waffle until it
finds its own rhythm. But from now on, no one can impose a single
direction, no one has the right to constrain it to a single path.

bola_del_mundoTranslator's note: "Critical Observatory" is a group
challenging the Castro regime from the left. An article in which a
member describes the group, in English, is here
and a report of Saturday's protest from the same author is here:


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