The taste of doubt.

My convictions regarding Cuba never waver. I know deep down that what we are doing here is the right thing to do and I never have any doubt about that. Ever.
Yet there are times when certain aspects, certain issues with regard to Cuba and how they comingle with my convictions leave a pretty bad taste in my mouth. The occassions are rare, but they’re occassions nonetheless. For two days straight Ive had that bad taste in my mouth. That little tingle inside that all is not perfectly right with me, as a Cuban and as a person.
Yesterday’s came when I first read the news of Carlos Otero defecting, having crossed over from Canada into the US. Ordinarily, Id be dancing a jig at any Cuban defection, especially one that is of a high profile nature such as Otero’s. And ordinarily, I would wholeheartedly support the defector, shower him or her with support and a hardy “Welcome to freedom” with a pat on the back.
But Otero’s is a special case. I dont know much about the man save for what Ive read and the fact that he was a rather famous comedian with a popular TV show in Cuba. I think that right there is what sets off bells for me. Cuba is a country where the media is totally controlled by the gvernment and as such, Otero’s show, and he himself as the show’s host, fall under the auspices of that control. We know for a fact that you cant do or say or write or sing or promote anything in Cuba publicly that isnt in keeping with that disastrous castro ideology.
Thus that seed of doubt is planted. How is it that Otero was allowed to remain on Cuban television for so long? Surely what he was doing all those years on national Cuban TV was allowed if not sanctioned by the Cuban government. Thus, my immediate reaction is “Can I trust this guy?” It matters not if I can actually trust the man or that he may, in fact, truly be a dissenter from the castro ideology. What matters is that that seed of doubt is there. Planted squarely and firmly in my psyche.
And that’s what leaves a bad taste in my mouth. That’s what hurts me, as a Cuban and as a person. Coño, I want to trust this man. I want to welcome him to the land of the free. I want to pat him on the back. I think we all do.
And I think we all may have that doubt, too. We have been tricked and bamboozled and screwed with too many times by the castro regime to not have that seed of doubt there. It’s the old “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me” thing. I feel rotten that I have to be prudent. I feel rotten that I have to be skeptical.
The second instance came this morning, when I was contacted by a reporter from a major newspaper for an article he was working on regarding a certain blogger from Cuba that’s openly critical of the regime from within. I found it difficult and disheartening to explain my thoughts and feelings about the person in question to this journalist.
Coño, I want to trust that Cuban blogger. I want to believe that what that person is writing is real, that all that criticism directed at the castro regime is legitimate. I want it all to be true. But then, the damned seeds. The damned seeds of doubt. The ineluctable skepticism. How can this blogger operate without reprisal so freely? How can this blogger afford the internet? How can this blogger get away with saying such things so matter of factly, so openly, so freely in such an closed and oppressed society?
Truth be told, nothing in this world would please me more than for this blogger to be legitimate. Nothing would please me more than to have that blog be the initial seed of a future forest of Cuban bloggers. I would like nothing more than to be that person’s colleague, without any doubt or skepticism or bad taste in my mouth. Nothing would please me more than to laugh with that blogger, cry with that blogger, scream with that blogger, hold my head up high with pride and solidarity with that blogger.
I suppose I could state my support for this blogger and this new defector right now, but unfortunately the doubts would still be there. The unavoidable and inescapable skepticism would stick in my craw. Blister my being with doubt. Put “Am I doing the right thing?” on replay in my mind.
And I suppose I could use liberal amounts of mental Listerine to wash that bad taste away and open up the old heart and say “Blogger, defector, come on in, make yourselves at home.” I suppose I could do my best to ignore the taste of doubt.
But I dont want to be disingenuous, and youre not really being a friend without there being a mutual trust. And yes, doubt tastes like shit and it makes me feel a little rotten inside, but its better to have a little rotten feeling with a true heart and the bad taste of doubt, than a shattered heart of broken trust.

14 thoughts on “The taste of doubt.”

  1. “…that seed of doubt is planted.”


    This is all very normal amongst us, BUT this is not what should be our concern (“that seed of doubt’). If it is, then the regime has won, AND not only in Cuba amongst Cubans, but also extended that doubt to outside of Cuba, which is what they want.

    Leave that concern to the authorities, and those responsible for our security.

    We should concentrate and hold our focus on supporting our ideals of freedom and liberty for all. Even those changing sides at this point, and up to the very end.

    At that point, all those culpable will be called to account for their degree of responsibility and culpability in enforcing the repression of their citizens.

  2. LC,
    Maybe I didnt get the point across perfectly, but that “seed of doubt thats planted” doesnt refer to my ideals or convictions, it refers to my thoughts about the defector and the blogger. trust me, I do not have any doubt whatsoever on the idelas of freedom or liberty and a free Cuba.

  3. If I were to take a guess, you were asked about Generacion Y and the writings by a 31-year old woman named Yoani.
    Yesterday I posted about her on La Primera Generacion, naively blinded by the joy that someone from Cuba was writing in such a manner.
    (Edited by Val)

  4. Cuban Banker,
    I removed the IP info you posted as I dont want to create any issues for the person you mention, who may or may not be the person I wrote about in this post.

  5. That’s cool, Val. I was debating whether or not to post it. At the end of the day, it’s public information, but I completely understand where you’re coming from.

  6. Having “doubts” about some recent arrivals is understandable (although never forget many of castro’s collaborators have been living with us in “exile” for many years!). However, our main goal has to be to free the 11 million enslaved on the island, therefore we should welcome anyone who finally joins our ranks. I have read Yoani’s blog and I strongly believe her writings are genuine and an important contribution to spreading the truth about the castros’ totalitarian regime.

  7. Val,
    Otero will be the guest tonight on A Mano Limpia, or at least that was what was said last night when he showed up to say hello. He stated that it was that program (AML) that opened up his eyes about the regime and made him want something better for his kids. I too have that seed of doubt, but I will listed to him with an open mind tonight. At least we have that choice in this great land, that we can listen to the opinions of others and make up our own mind without fear of repression. Let’s see what he says. And believe me, any regular reader of this blog would never have any doubts about your stance on Cuba and its Freedom, for you wear your heart on your sleeve for all of us to read and we have shared your tears many times. Thank you Val for your dedication.

  8. Val,
    This is a very thoughtful post. It shows how castro’s dictatorship has very effectively planted seeds of distrust among Cubans. It is reasonable to be wary. But unless there is cause, we must be careful not to reject/ostracize/stigmatize those who were merely “surviving” over there, without causing harm to anyone.
    In the very near future all Cubans will need to come together to form a new nation under law. Those who are guilty of crimes must most assuredly be dealth with. But, indiscriminate accusations and “disqualifications” serve only the dictator.
    The vast majority of Cubans have been forced to adapt to the system, withtout necessarily embracing it. They are our brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles, etc. Not everyone is a Dr. Biscet or a Dr. Ferrer (not everyone can be). But, I believe, in a new Cuba, all (but those guilty of crimes) are part of the Nation, and should be part of the future.

  9. Val,
    Great post! I’m sure that there are many out there who feel like you! I would describe it as “cautela” . . .! NO reason whatsoever to feel rotten inside!
    If you can get a hold of the reporter working on the blogger in Cuba, openly critical of the regime, I would recommend for this reporter to look into El Guinero. Who could not be more openly critical, but who has not posted anything since July! To look into what happened to Guinero & his blog, in my opinion, would be a great piece of Journalism!
    I wish you well 🙂 Melek
    “There are three things in the world that deserve no mercy, hypocrisy, fraud, and tyranny.” ~ F. Robertson

  10. Val, I understand you totally, the same concerns you have I also have, I expressed them at, of course I got a lot of info from members who seem to know about the guy, I don’t.
    Frankly I have never heard of Him of Course I’ve never watch Cuban television, but I also wonder how you keep a Job in the media for so many years without being a member of the communist party ? There are many who wants to make us believe,you don’t need to be a member of the party and go to concentrations on behalf of Cagastro, and serve In the militia, and do guard duty and all teh religious requirements in Communism.
    Well Am glad one less Cuban is in Cuba ,but I will keep my eye on him. For sure
    Peter Perez

  11. The guy may even have been a member of the communist party, but I believe we need to draw a line: it is not the same to be a regular member of the communist party than to be Randy Alonso.
    Remember, if you have a high profile job in Cuba you are eventually nominated to be a member of the party. If you do not accept, you may lose your job. Again, this all come to survival mode. Arturo Sandoval was a member of the party also, if I am not mistaken.
    Unfortunately, the regimen has been very successful in planting the seed of distrust in all of us, inside and outside the country, and we have very good reasons for the distrust, how many times they have infiltrated the dissidents inside the island? How many times they have infiltrated the exile community? I believe this is one of the key things that has kept the beast alive.
    That being said, unless someone shows some more info about Carlos Otero, besides being a very popular tv entertainer and comedian, I have no reasons to doubt him.

  12. Val,well thought on your side,and remember the saying…”trust,but verify”…in this case,we should say…”trust,but not too much”…
    people in cuba with high positions in goverment,culture,economy,etc,for long periods of time,in one way or another have colaborated with the regime,in different ways,maybe the “gestapo” tested him with questions about “sombody” not too convinced about the “revolution”,or his or her opinions about “sombodies”,co-workers,friends,etc…
    that’s the way it is in cuba,like it or not….

  13. Sorry but distrust is a time proven, brutally effective survival mechanism. It’s good to trust one’s instincts, they are correct more than 50% of the time and as long as it doesn’t turn into paranoia you are OK.
    Thinking you are giving in to castro for instinctively distrusting a 30 year mouthpiece of the regime, that was suddenly allowed to travel to Canada with his entire family without an escort, something almost no-one is Cuba is allowed to do, is not paranoia, it’s very, very healthy skepticism.
    Right now, until proven otherwise, it would be silly for anyone to give this guy their support just because he says he is a changed man. How convenient.

  14. You can never trust these people fully. You can analyze what they do and say and agree or disagree with it. But you can’t trust. Juan Amador explains that to be trusted with a TV or radio show in Cuba you have the be the biggest chivaton miserable among all the chivatones miserables.

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