Political centrism has monopolized the attention of the Cuban web. An ongoing debate — mainly in the blog Segunda Cita [Second Date] kept by Cuban singer/composer Silvio Rodríguez — has spread to other online outlets and social networks.
In addition to Rodríguez himself and the many habitual visitors to the blog (which has great symbolic meaning), other participants have contributed their opinion: Zaida Capota, Lady Fernández de Juan, Víctor Casaus, Vicente Feliú, Jorge Gómez Barata, Fernando Rojas, Iroel Sánchez and Elier Ramírez Cañedo.
In the wide-ranging exchange, different positions are stated about the Cuban reality and the so-called political centrism that has emerged in Cuba, a topic that has filled numerous spaces in the state media. Some describe the center as a “right in disguise” that attempts to dismantle the Cuban Revolution. Other understand the center as a position distant from the political extremes and validate it as an option to which Cuban citizens are entitled.
Above all, the discussion involves the future of the country we love at a moment when debate, as we understand it, is more necessary than ever — the debate and also the palpable actions and results that the Cuban people urgently need. To that point, everything that has happened has been fruitful.
Perhaps what binds the people involved is the fact that all of them, in one way or another, have staked their position against the return of capitalism to Cuba and in favor of a search for an exclusive path that’s especially viable for the country and its people. Nevertheless, the issue at hand lies in the political positions (even from a theoretical standpoint) assumed by each one of us and in which we place others.
There has been no lack of accusations and disqualifications in that exchange. Lamentably, on occasion there has been a lack of arguments and proof for serious accusations. It is not necessary to repeat an idea insistently for it to become a truth.
Socialism is a process of creation, complex not only because it changes structures and institutions but also because it needs to be a collective task. This characteristic makes it even more complex. Wisdom lies in the capacity to integrate the existing reality into the most solid unity possible. This, knowing that unity differs from unicity, which is a practice of the élites and has never been a good counselor.
We believe that to debate aspects of the Cuban reality is extremely important these days, but it would be healthier if this encounter of different postures were broader and if these opinions were available to the majority of the Cuban people through the public media.
Which of the people involved would be willing to sit in front of a camera to hold a civilized debate with people who think differently and others who perhaps have been unable to access the online platforms utilized so far?
The tradition of debating in long lists of e-mails or spaces in the Web, which has greatly fomented a clear confrontation of diverse opinions, should not be the model to follow a priori, because we don’t live in a society that’s even 50 percent connected.
Debates are part of the political formation of the citizens of any country. But, so far, what’s shown on the public and state media represents only a single position in this debate, which raises questions about any presumption of inclusiveness previously raised. And it is not a question — we strongly believe — of exclusion a priori.
The fine practice of confronting thoughts has existed abundantly in the history of Cuba, even during the early days of the Revolution. We can say that a political tradition exists. But the fact is that, in this case, few of us can pinpoint who the participants refer to when they talk about “the centrists” or when they talk about the promoters of a campaign against centrism.
A healthy exchange of ideas could play a central role in the process of updating Cuba’s economic and socio-political model — if it is allowed. On this issue we can hardly find anyone who is not in favor of changing once and for all everything that needs to be changed. And if such a person exists, it would be encouraging to find out why he thinks so.
The other issue is the level of concrete and active commitment, which is what interests the people when it comes to effecting the changes, by systematically publishing on the public media the advantages of the reforms. It is not a question of words; it is a question of the commitments assumed when we see, feel and participate in the proclaimed changes.