The other day I posted an incredible piece by Manuel Cejeiro that I found on Zoé Valdés’ blog. It was titled, “En Cuba no ha pasado nada…,” “In Cuba nothing has happened…” It was a powerful piece that I felt should be translated for those who do not read Spanish, and although it took me a while, I finally got it done. Below is the English translation of Manuel Cejeiro’s “In Cuba nothing has happened…” Special thanks goes out to Claudia Fanelli for the help she provided me in getting this translation done.
I can only hope that my translation does Cereijo’s piece justice. In its native Spanish, it is nothing less of stupendous.
In Cuba nothing has happened…
What… nothing has happened in Cuba? Now we’re all brothers? Now all of the sudden there is forgiveness, peace, oblivion? What… now suddenly we are Cubans, too? What… we should get rid of the embargo? Now? That dollars aren’t so bad? Now private investments are convenient? Now? And before, didn’t they rob us and confiscate everything from us?
And where was the forgiveness, and the peace, and the love when executions were carried out at close range? And where was the forgiveness, the love when they were tortured, they were arrested, and mistreated? But now you remember that we are all Christians and yes, Christians forgive, Christians love, but can’t Christians demand justice? And when was it necessary to wield a whip and rid the temple of the moneychangers? And the crusades? And the holy wars? And the hundreds who screamed “long live Christ the King” as they were executed? What… in Cuba nothing has happened? And the thousands of prisoners? And the hundreds who are still in Cuban jails? And the ones that die every day at sea?
What… nothing has happened here? What about the oppression the Cuban people have lived under for the past 51 years? And what about the lack of religious freedom, the prohibition of God? And what about the public, civic, social, and economic rights of the Cuban people? Peace? Oblivion? Forgiveness? Love? And what about justice?
What… nothing has happened here? And what about the inhumane situation the Cuban people have been living in? And the confiscations? And the theft of all that was earned, deserved through work, sweat, money, sacrifice, intellect, talent, creativity, risk. Do you mean to say that in Cuba nothing has happened?
And the tortures of so many young people? And the blood spilled simply for the longing for liberty and justice? It has been more than 5 decades of abuses, of irresponsibility, of disgrace, of submission, of repudiations, of acts of humiliation, of separations. What… nothing has happened here? It has been 51 years of: Or you are with the revolution or you’re not Cuban. Or you are with the revolution or you’re unpatriotic. Or you are with the revolution or you’re a pariah. Or you are with the revolution or you have the right to nothing. No, no government is the homeland. And you say that nothing has happened in Cuba?
The businessman, the capitalist, the hard worker, the creator of wealth, was called a thief, an exploiter. Now you look for his capital, his entrepreneurship. The intellectual, the writer, the scientist, the journalist, the artist, the professional, the laborer, the peasant, the student, for being independent, for wanting to be free, they were called traitors. And you say nothing has happened here?
What… nothing has happened here? Now that the regime is agonizing? Now that the system is morally, socially, politically, intellectually, and economically bankrupt? Now that they seek only to survive from day to day, clinging to the power that blinded them? Clinging to a stupid and criminal arrogance.
What… nothing has happened here? And a society, a country, that in 1959 found itself at the vanguard in this hemisphere, from education and art to medicine and telecommunications, from health to transportation, from music and television to agriculture and construction, from tourism to light industry, from the sugar and tobacco industry to the liquor industry. From social legislation to a thriving middleclass. From a dynamic and strong private sector to a productive and independent farming sector. It is an undeniable reality that in only 56 years as a republic, Cuba had reached social, economic, and domestic goals never before seen in this hemisphere.
This society has now been converted into a society of beggars, a society without faith, without hope, without vigor, that lives, or rather, survives in miserable conditions that are inhuman. And you say that nothing has happened here?
No, nothing has happened here. Only the thousands executed, only the 200,000 imprisoned during the past 51 years. No, nothing has happened here. Only more than two million exiled.
Only the confiscation of farms, industries, businesses, properties, practices, offices. No, nothing has happened here. Only the constant terror, the fear. More than 50,000 people tortured. No, nothing has happened here. Only the suppression of all natural human rights, from the most elemental to those of the highest order. Only the irresponsibility, the inefficiency, the mediocrity of a government in perpetuity for 51 years that has driven the country to misery. Only religious discrimination, philosophical discrimination, intellectual-political discrimination, nationwide discrimination. No, in Cuba nothing has happened!!!
There has always been an economic savior or benefactor. The Soviet Union, Spain , the EU, Chavez. Now they are also looking for a political savior.
It is not if Fidel Castro dies, or if Raul dies before him, if transition or succession occurs. Too many years have passed. Too many political prisoners, too many executed, too many tortured. It is DEMOCRACY AND LIBERTY. Prosperity, peace, wellbeing.
The Cuba where during the past 51 years at no level has there been free multiparty elections, independent, with electoral processes. The Cuba where during the past 51 years there has been no independent unions. Or businessmen. Or private property. Nor religious liberty.
A Cuba without faith, without hope, without humor, without friendship. The Cuba of simulation, of distrust, of lies, of hypocrisy, of crime. Of barbarism. Of savagery.
Nothing has happened?
No, you do not negotiate with tyrants. No, you do not negotiate with assassins. You do not bend to them; you pressure them, demand from them, and defeat them. There are too many dead, imprisoned, too many separations, too many tortured, too many lives shortened, too much suffering, too much misery. The end has to be a total defeat, complete, clean, and uninfluenced. The cost does not matter, nor how long it may take.