The Transition

Recently, with a friend from Spain, I watched a documentary by Elias Andres and Victoria Prego about the transition to democracy in that European nation. There were thirteen episodes, filled with details covering the period from 1973 to 1977, between the death throes of a caudillo and the birth of a plural society. Through images and the voices of important political actors in this process, they analyzed the Law for Political Reform, the death of General Franco, the coronation of Juan Carlos I, and the legalization of the Communist Party. My friend, now over fifty, didn’t get up from her chair even once during all the hours those chapters lasted. At the end, she said something that gives me strength at this time, “I was there, in many of those times and places, but while we lived through it we didn’t know it was the transition.”

I think the same thing is happening to us Cubans. We are in transition, something seems to be on the verge of being irreparably broken on this Island, but we don’t realize it, sunk in the day-to-day and its problems. Afterward, the documentary filmmakers appeared and in thirty minutes narrated what for us has taken decades. Analysts will create their timelines, laying out the events of what has happened here, what, some day, will be history. Cubanologists, for their part, will say that the indicators of the fall were already apparent, and will choose a date on the calendar to mark the end. Filmmakers will take pleasure in reconstructing “zero day” and even little kids will agree yes, that’s right, and say that they also have memories those times.

But the main change will not be the death of an old man in his bed, a person about whom Cubans care less and less, nor the legalization of some other political force to compete against ancient Communist Party of Cuba. The substantial transformation has already started to occur in our minds. A slow metamorphosis, timid and fearful, but ultimately an evolution. An irreversible process where we are leaving behind something that seemed to us, at times, eternal. When we sit in front of the television and watch the documentary about those years, our grandchildren will ask us questions and after-the-fact reflections will flourish. We will discover a great deal, only then, about those events of transcendental importance on which, for now, the official press is totally silent. But there will be others who will point with pride, “I was there, I lived it, and in my stomach I felt the vertigo of the transition.”

65 thoughts on “The Transition

  1. @#64
    “… “some kind of pragmatic capitalism”…”
    “… I mean, really … Think what you say and write because this garbage is biting you back faster than you can post it…”
    Ok, I see what is doing to u poor fool …
    LOL

  2. What a pearl from the team “yoani”:

    “Recently, with a friend from Spain, I watched a documentary by Elias Andres and Victoria Prego about the transition to democracy in that European nation… I think the same thing is happening to us Cubans.”

    Just remember that in Spain they had “some kind of pragmatic capitalism”.

    Which goes to support what I am saying: it is not the system, no matter how many times you mumble it through those bubbles and roth on your mouths.

    It is the people who usurp the system for their own benefit. And, as we all know except for the geniuses in the support brigade and “brave freedom fighters” in the team “yoani”, “some kind of pragmatic capitalism” is even worse than communism. It is supposed to be perfect, yet it falls under its own weight every 5 years or so.

    And now even faster.

    See, the end is nigh.

    It takes a lot of emty space in one’s skull to want to replace one system/any system really, with a system that is proven non-performer, such as “some kind of pragmatic capitalism”.

    I mean, really… Think what you say and write because this garbage is biting you back faster than you can post it.

  3. DONT MESS WITH THE “POSTMASTER-COPY-AND-PASTE-GENERAL” OF THE USA vs CUBA “CYBERWAR”

    REUTERS : Cuba says blogger Yoani Sanchez part of “cyberwar”- Tue Mar 22, 2011

    Cuba attacked dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez in a nationally televised program on Monday, accusing of her being part of a “cyberwar” against the communist island by the United States and other enemies.

    The program, the latest in a series called “Cuba’s Reasons,” showed Sanchez in grainy videos entering the U.S. Interests Section in Havana and European embassies.

    Sanchez, whose “Generation Y” blog is read internationally, was portrayed as part of a massive “media campaign” against Cuba, which the program said has tried to “demonize” socialism.

    In return, she has collected a total of $500,000 in international prizes for her work, the program said. Her blog criticizes Cuba’s government and the state of the country.

    “Cyberwar is not a war of bombs and bullets, but of information, communication, algorithms and bytes. It is the new form of invasion that has originated in the developed world,” said the narrator.

    Sanchez, who previously has said she was physically attacked by government agents, appeared to take the program in stride.

    “I am so happy. Finally the alternative blogosphere on official television, although it’s to insult us,” she said on Twitter.

    The “Cuba’s Reasons” series has tried to show that the United States is using new technologies to try to subvert the Cuban government.

    It has coincided with the trial and conviction of U.S. aid contractor Alan Gross, who has been jailed since December 2009 for allegedly trying to bring the Internet to government opponents.

    He was sentenced to 15 years in prison by a panel of judges in a case that has strained U.S.-Cuba relations.

    (Reporting by Jeff Franks; Editing by Eric Beech)

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/22/us-cuba-blogger-idUSTRE72L0NZ20110322

  4. FOR THOSE WHO “CLAIM” THAT THE CUBAN PEOPLE DONT KNOW WHO YOANI SANCHEZ IS AND THE OTHER INDEPENDENT BLOGGERS THINK AGAIN! THE CUBAN GOVERNMENT TOOK ALMOST 10 MINUTES OF THIS NATIONALLY AIRED PROGRAM TO TRY TO DEFAME HER AND OTHER DISSIDENTS! BUT OF COURSE, THAT IS WHY SOME OF THE CASTROFASCISTS AGENTS AND APOLOGISTS ARE HERE ON THIS BLOG! TO DEFAME, DISMISS AND THROW AROUND CHISMES AND INNUENDOS ABOUT HER! YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE! THIS PROPAGANDA PROGRAM “LAS RAZONES DE CUBA” WAS SHOWN ON NATIONAL TELEVISION!! IT HAS ENGLISH SUB-TITLES SO DONT WORRY!

    YOUTUBE : Yoani Sánchez, la hija del águila calva. Cyberwar in Las Razones de Cuba. Ciberguerra (Yoani Sanchez, the “daughter of the bald eagle”. Cyberwar episode of “The Reasons of Cuba”.

  5. WALL STREET JOURNAL : Castro vs. the Ladies in White – Rocks, iron bars and sticks are no match for the gladiolas and courage of these peaceful Cuban protesters.- By MARY ANASTASIA O’GRADY

    Rocks and iron bars were the weapons of choice in a government assault on a handful of unarmed women on the outskirts of Santiago de Cuba on the afternoon of Aug. 7. According to a report issued by the Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the beatings were savage and “caused them injuries, some considerable.”

    It was not an isolated incident. In the past two months attacks on peaceful women dissidents, organized by the state security apparatus, have escalated. Most notable is the intensity with which the regime is moving to try to crush the core group known as the Ladies in White.

    This is not without risk to the regime, should the international community decide to pay attention and apply pressure on the white-elite regime the way it did in opposition to apartheid in South Africa. But the decision to take that risk suggests that the 52-year-old dictatorship in Havana is feeling increasingly insecure. The legendary bearded macho men of the “revolution,” informed by the trial of a caged Hosni Mubarak in an Egyptian courtroom, apparently are terrified by the quiet, prayerful, nonviolent courage of little more than 100 women. No totalitarian regime can shrug off the fearless audacity these ladies display, or the signs that their boldness is spreading.The Castro brothers’ goons are learning that they will not be easily intimidated. Take, for example, what happened that same Aug. 7 morning in Santiago: The women, dressed in white and carrying flowers, had gathered after Sunday Mass at the cathedral for a silent procession to protest the regime’s incarceration of political prisoners. Castro supporters and state security officials, “armed with sticks and other blunt objects,” according to FIDH, assaulted the group both physically and verbally. The ladies were then dragged aboard a bus, taken outside the city and dropped off on the side of a highway.

    Some of them regrouped and ventured out again in the afternoon, this time to hold a public vigil for their cause. That’s when they were met by another Castro onslaught. On the same day thugs set upon the homes of former political prisoner José Daniel Ferrer and another activist. Six people, including Mr. Ferrer’s wife and daughter, were sent to the hospital with contusions and broken bones, according to FIDH.

    The Ladies in White first came on the scene in the aftermath of the infamous March 2003 crackdown in which 75 independent journalists and librarians, writers and democracy advocates were rounded up and handed prison sentences of six to 28 years. The wives, mothers and sisters of some of them began a simple act of protest. On Sundays they would gather at the Havana Cathedral for Mass and afterward they would march carrying gladiolas in a silent call for the prisoners’ release.

    In 2005 the Ladies in White won Europe’s prestigious Sakharov prize for their courage. Cellphones that caught the regime’s brutality against them on video helped get their story out. By 2010 they had so embarrassed the dictatorship internationally that a deal was struck to deport their imprisoned loved ones along with their family to Spain.

    But some prisoners refused the deal and some of the ladies stayed in Cuba. Others joined them, calling themselves “Ladies in Support.” The group continued its processions following Sunday Mass in Havana, and women on the eastern end of the island established the same practice in Santiago.Laura Pollan, whose husband refused to take the offer of exile in Spain and was later released from prison, is a key member of the group. She and her cohorts have vowed to continue their activism as long as even one political prisoner remains jailed. Last week I spoke with her by phone in Havana, and she told me that when the regime agreed to release all of the 75, “it thought that the Ladies in White would disappear. Yet the opposite happened. Sympathizers have been joining up. There are now 82 ladies in Havana and 34 in Santiago de Cuba.” She said that the paramilitary mobs have the goal of creating fear in order to keep the group from growing. But the movement is spreading to other parts of the country, places where every Sunday there are now marches.

    This explains the terror that has rained down on the group in Santiago and surrounding suburbs on successive Sundays since July and on other members in Havana as recently as Aug. 18.

    Last Tuesday, when four women dressed in black took to the steps of the capitol building in Havana chanting “freedom,” a Castro bully tried to remove them. Amazingly, the large crowd watching shouted for him to leave them alone. Eventually uniformed agents carried them off. But the incident, caught on video, is evidence of a new chapter in Cuban history, and it is being written by women. How it ends may depend heavily on whether the international community supports them or simply shields its eyes from their torment.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904875404576530302503295010.html?fb_ref=wsj_share_FB&fb_source=home_oneline

  6. Interesting. First a load of words about system being more brutal then ever now, when Yoani wrote it, change is going on. Freud is absolutely right, Cubans generally don’t give a shit about the bloggers, they don’t know who Yoani is ( maybe they’ve heard somewhere something but few of them ) and everything else is romanticising the real situation. There is no change absolutely while there is the same political system trying to “reconstruct” itself from inside. Cubans are extremely naive and ignorant about political and social issues (this is not insult it’s just a fact) because they lived too long in isolation. I have a friend who emigrated 6 month ago to Europe and he is shocked totaly, sometimes in positive sometimes in negative ways. But generally everything at last comes to material values, not political stands.

  7. Are you Castroite posters so blinded by your ideological indoctrination to see the idiocy of your logic?

    Rick, let’s not hold our breath for an honest answer.

  8. #52 So with all the predictions of the collapse of the USA as a world power and the failure of its economy the Spanish government is betting on continued returns on investments made here. Are you Castroite posters so blinded by your ideological indoctrination to see the idiocy of your logic?

  9. Cuba Libre: “They [the Spanish] have begun the construction of a major highway on the southshore of Montreal…”

    Good for them, the Cuban government invested the sweat of Cuban labor in blowing up Angolan children and in building hotels Cubans had no right to enter.

  10. @#52
    “…I suggest you look deeper into ho the Revolutionary Government you have uses all its money to help Cubans…” ???

  11. @#52
    Most mayor economies in the world spend billons helping developing economies whereas u care to admit it or not; what u conveniently neglect to mention is that unlike a few decades ago, now there r checks & balances open to the public.

  12. @#52
    “…Do you kno what all the multi-billion dollar industries in Spain are doing?? I`ll tell you. They are investing all their billions outside Spain. Instead of reinvesting the money they made from the sweat of Spain`s inhabitants, they are building highways with toll booths both in Canada and the US…”

    So they r building all this for free for USA & Canada eh? & the dividends generated r tax free as well. How r u so certain these companies don’t re-invest? do u have some kind of insider info? Most importantly where do u get off underestimating the intelligence of the Cuban people ?

  13. Once again you have picked the wrong topic to prove your point Miss Sanchez, if there is a point to prove. Do you know anything about Spain at all? Do you kno what all the multi-billion dollar industries in Spain are doing?? I`ll tell you. They are investing all their billions outside Spain. Instead of reinvesting the money they made from the sweat of Spain`s inhabitants, they are building highways with toll booths both in Canada and the US. They have recently built a bridge in Montreal and installed a fee to cross it. They have begun the construction of a major highway on the southshore of Montreal to be completed in 2012 and again their will fees to use it. They are using Spain`s money and also bulding major highways in New York State and elsewhere in the U.S. Is this the kind of change you want for Cuba. To bring in a so called “democratic” government so they will use Cuba`s money and invest it elsewhere? I suggest you re-think your urge for change. I suggest you look deeper into ho the Revolutionary Government you have uses all its money to help Cubans.

  14. UnSoricel: “soon you will tell me I kmow nothing about the society which spawned me..”

    I wouldn’t say that… but it’s very possible. After all, I know much more about Cuba than Fidel or Raul Castro… again, that isn’t saying much.

Comments are closed.