For three days the newspaper Granma, in its two center pages, inundated us with all the anniversaries that in 2008 have a number ending in a five. Along with the 155 years since the birth of José Martí, we could read about the 125th anniversary of the death Karl Marx and the half-century of the kidnapping of Fangio* by the 26th of July Movement. The act of collecting that data and presenting it as a compendium for successive commemorations and memorials, has made me reflect on the relationship between Cubans and the past; the excessive weight of yesterday in our lives.
All of these references and that which they evoke, contrasts with the little time we dedicate to talking about the future. The big anniversaries remind us that on this day, many years ago, something happened or someone died. Most of these events happened forty, fifty or a hundred years back, while there are almost no events from more recent periods. Those of us under forty have participated in almost nothing, but have only been spectators of the glories of the past. Passive consumers of the fattened repertoire of dates past.
I fear that this tendency to historical “archeology” is filling up the time we have to debate about today. I want to shake off so many anniversaries and so many golden dates. I propose that the present no longer be the scene to recap what already happened and that it should become the springboard to launch us to “tomorrow.”
Fangio = An Argentine race car driver who was kidnapped and released after one day; he was in Havana to race the Gran Premio de Cuba.
Newspaper headline: Principle dates commemorating anniversaries ‘closed’ in 2008 [“Closed” = Ending in zero or five.]