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I see on TV the demonstrations of immense joy of Miami Cubans and I must admit that have conflicting feelings. I share that joy, I am fully with them, with all the Cubans in exile. I am also with the Cubans of the inner exile, who are many more than the Cuban politicians think, but I feel an immense sadness for all the time lost, and for the devastating consequences that Castrism brought.
Fidel Castro (1926-2016) is now what he always wanted to be, a subject for the history´s judgment, a transcendent being, a character who put his country in the newspapers around the world, a myth for some, an invented being for those who wanted to see him as a messiah, and a furious dictator for the majority who have no ideological prejudices. The Cuban New Trova forged with its notes the epic rebellious song, until the New Trova ceased to be so new and began to glimpse something more staled than fresh about the Cuban revolution. In the early 1960s, Castro used to discuss with university students about what to do with the brand-new revolution. He argued with them until he grew tired of discussions, and then he cut with the ideological diversity and sent those critics to the labour´ fields, and the island to the real socialism, to remain a totalitarian, dogmatic and unique thought.
Already since his puberty, Castro showed the authoritarian and egocentric features which are described as “narcissistic” by the specialists. Fidel was narcissistic and besides, he felt someone special, capable of trying and performing the greatest feats. It was his great self-perception. He was a radical revolutionary, anti-capitalist and anti-American, temperamental and fascist. In the 1960´s midst of the Cold War, his character could only lead to the Soviet communism´ model, because only the USSR could make sense of the disorganized and chaotic band who had taken power in Cuba, and protect them against Washington.
After the revolutionary triumph, Castro promised to the then Vice President of the USA Richard Nixon, that his Government was not communist. But after the Bay of Pigs invasion´ attempt, he declared the socialist character of the revolution. Since then, his diatribes against the American presidents and policies, their interference and contradictions, made him won him many sympathies. “If I am considered a myth, it is a merit of the United States,” said Castro in 1988, with his usual cynicism.
I know Cuba well, from Viñales to Santiago. I have visited the island on many occasions, and I love Cuba and the Cubans. I found once love there, and I keep great friendships, of those all-life´ kind. Cubans are entrepreneurial people, bright and endearing, whose wit, wisdom and sense of humour is something very big which they carry inside them and as a Spaniard, I recognize it. They have a lot of Spaniard inside them. At first, I was struck by the romantic idea of a place, a country where the time seemed to have stopped. That coupled with the Caribbean exoticism, it had an attractive halo. The charm lasted until I began to know in depth the Cubans´ real-life, their poverty, lack of freedom, fear, “the daily anguish to solve,” as they say there.
On the island and in the exile, it is said that every Cuban has in the family either a prisoner, an exiled or a mortal victim of the Castro´s dictatorship. In a country of little more than eleven million inhabitants, there are hundreds of thousands affected by it. No one who knows about this tragedy can deny the magnitude and horror of the last 57 years. Per the political spokesman Juan Carlos González Leiva, Executive Secretary of the Council of Human Rights Rapporteurs, the balance of victims is “incalculable due to those who have died at sea, but it could exceed of 50,000 dead.” Whereas during the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista were in Cuba about fifteen prisons, there are now about two hundred, fifty of them of maximum security. The exact figures will never be known, but the tropical utopia accounts for at least 25,000 deaths and 2 million exiled. A shocking balance that nullifies any justification of the dictatorship. Castro has portrayed himself as a tyrant, devoid of any epic.
Castro turned the Cuban revolution in a treason to the Cubans which lasted for 57 years. Between violence, denunciation and lies, it crosses a stinking trail of pain, disenchantment and frustration. Cuba is a neglected island, where all the bonfires of the legend have already been extinguished. What Cuba could have been from January 1st, 1959, it has been frustrated because Fidel turned the illusions of a people who believed and trusted him. He sacrificed the democracy. He silenced and imprisoned all those who opposed his designs. Almost 60 years later, Cuba is today the paradigm of the oppression. A ruinous island deprived of freedom and food, administered by a leading oligarchy who aim to become dynastic, in the style of North Korea. A dictatorship with capital letters which has achieved the collective destruction of any hope. Cuba is the memory of a disloyalty to the people dreams, people who believed in the bearded myth that arose from the Sierra Maestra. The same myth who he did not want to leave the island since 2000, for fear of what happened to Pinochet, might happen to him.
It is difficult to guess about the future of the island. The regime seems to be betting on a Chinese-style´ capitalist regime. Capitalism without freedom. The future of Cuba must to go through the reconciliation of all Cubans, the island and the exile, the communist party and those who suffered it. Cuba has the difficult task of redeeming itself and looking ahead. To do this, it must first bet with ambition for the open and democratic society which could never be because of a betrayal. Now, at last, it might end, thanks to the unwavering will of a wonderful people who will know how to live up to the great historical challenge.
Fidel is dead. Is there anyone with a minimum of political decency who can mourn him? He has caused much harm and collective disappointment which are irreparable. It is his most personal legacy. No, the History will not absolve him.