Fatherland or Death. With the Revolution Everything, Against the Revolution Nothing. The Future Belongs Entirely to Socialism. The Most Beautiful Land (according to Columbus). The First Free Territory in the Americas (according to Fidel) …
These absolutes have not disappeared from propaganda or persuasion, from the dreams or nightmares of Cubans, but it is good to know that this Caribbean island has for some years now slowly abandoned “Life” in capital letters, as well as the bombastic all-or-nothing speeches that have characterized its politics, its culture, and its language.
At the beginning, maximalism in official discourse worked, and even contaminated segments of the opposition and the exile community. For the followers of official discourse promising an epic Life in capital letters, Cuba seemed to be limited to whatever originated from Revolution Square or the White House, fortresses in charge of playing military marches that barely allowed any murmur beyond the Cold War soundtrack.
Whether as Party cadre or critics, those who uttered soundbites tended to pay little attention to the Cuban masses they claimed to represent, to those Cubans who continued to move forward and evolve within their given circumstances. That was the silent society that tried all those years to dignify survival and to relax the ironclad dictionary that defined them sometimes as mere extras in a theme park called Revolution, and at other times as perfect beings programmed in the laboratories of the New Man.
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