[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: United in Purpose

Monday, June 13, 2005

United in Purpose

Recent posts at Babalu and Cuban American Pundit, and the comments that followed, focused on unity - or lack thereof - within the Cuban community, both on the island and in exile.

As a proud product of Cuban culture, one of the biggest flaws which Cubans AS A GROUP seem to exhibit is a lack of a united voice - something which is ironic considering our reputation in the U.S. as monolithic and unwavering. Cuban-Americans all over the world, and I would imagine most in Cuba, want one thing - to see fidel castro and his regime disappear. That much is clear. How we accomplish this is a different story. We have some conservative "hard-liners" accusing moderates and liberals as "dialogueros" and "comunistas". We have some moderates and libs calling hard-liners "intolerant" and "fascist". Too bad, because the vast majority of these people have a common cause and purpose which, if channeled properly, can make a difference. That's why I am particularly amazed and proud of this phenomenom known as blogging, so perfectly illustrated by the range of comments on display at the above-mentioned blogs. People with diverging opinions on specific topics, but agreeing on the main goal, and reaching out to thousands of people all over the world.

There's no shame in having this weakness, after all we are humans. Other cultures exhibit flaws which can be analyzed ad nauseum. What separates thriving, successful cultures from those that languish in oppression and misery is the ability to look past differences and embrace and promote a common cause.

A few months I was watching "A Mano Limpia", a Miami Spanish-language evening talk show, in which acclaimed Cuban journalist Carlos Alberto Montaner said that Cubans as individuals have made great accomplishments in business, the sciences, and the arts; but as a collective have not displayed the necessary maturity to achieve greatness as a nation. Considering what Cuba is today, I couldn't agree more with Montaner. This is in contrast to the United States, where people of different ethnic groups, with all their strengths and weaknesses, have overcome their differences in order to foster and promote a fair and strong democracy.

The reasons are many and highly debatable. Perhaps Cubans have gone through too much hurt and suffering to allow others who think differently to have their way. Perhaps it is part of our nature to "resolver" - we can find a way and manage on our own without anyone else helping us. Perhaps it is our stubborn streak which we inherited from our Iberian ancestors. Or maybe we overestimate our power and influence, after all, 2 million Cubans can't compare with several million Jews, for example.

If change is to come about in Cuba, it will have to have contributions from all facets of Cuban society. Cubans on the island must play the leading role. Cuban-Americans, with their financial and entrepeneureal savvy combined with democratic sensibilities and technological know-how, must play an important role as well. This includes this phenomenom known as blogging, as so perfectly illustrated by the range of comments on display at the above-mentioned blogs.

For this to happen and for fidel to disappear, we must be willing to "bury the hatchet", as Cuban American Pundit poster Songuacassal said, and become united in purpose.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

sadly, this is easier said than done.. lots of hypocrisy, lots of double standards.. the same person who outwardly advocates the embargo casually will let slip of what they saw the last time they were on the island.. what? they didnt spend one dime the whole time they were there? there is a need for cooler, calmer heads.. but say the word castro and it all goes nuts.. i made a similar reply, but since part of advocates easing of restrictions well the baby gets thrown out with the bath water.. when a hardliner says it (but somehow elsewhere recounts of what they saw the last time they were in cuba) its gospel.. how about practice what you preach.. oh what great beautiful sentiments, yet still oppose and bash anyone who dares speak against restrictions.. id love to see this happen, but im not holding my breath.. btw look at vals blog for my new email i have no idea what happened to my other one it got locked up,,

4:36 PM, June 13, 2005  
Blogger Robert said...


Another character flaw we sometimes possess is to get over-emotional (how could I forget that one). Hypocrisy is another wonderful human trait all of us have been guilty of at some point in our lives.

As far as how it pertains to Cuba -like I said...there are too many raw emotions out there. Too many years of suffering and too many bad memories. Since I was born here, I do not have that hurt that those born in Cuba and gave everything up to come here must possess inside their souls. That's why I am slow to criticize those who yell and scream, although I may feel that a better approach is needed.

5:04 PM, June 13, 2005  
Blogger The Universal Spectator said...

I'm always happy to start a refreshing conversation about ideas and issues that matter! This paragraph is so right it's scary. And coming from one of our greatest writers it has authority with a capital A:

"...Cuban journalist Carlos Alberto Montaner said that Cubans as individuals have made great accomplishments in business, the sciences, and the arts; but as a collective have not displayed the necessary maturity to achieve greatness as a nation..."

The problem is that the ones who want dialogue and rapprochement with the monster think they are the mature ones.

8:36 PM, June 13, 2005  
Blogger Robert said...

I wish I could find Montaner's exact words, as I can only paraphrase what he said that night. Still, I'm 100% sure I did not take his statement out of context, as what he said resonated in me.

Thanks for taking our mind off the ridiculous Jacko verdict!

10:13 PM, June 13, 2005  
Anonymous Val Prieto said...


Two years ago, when I started blogging, I often felt like Don Quijote, battling windmills, all alone and screaming at the top of my lungs in an empty arena.

This post of yours, this post and its simple lucid meaning, is an incredible source of pride for me personally.

Gracias, man, for allowing me to stand side by side with you.

8:44 AM, June 14, 2005  
Blogger Robert said...


I should be thanking you for allowing me and the other newbie bloggers to stand side-by-side with you.

You and Babalu Blog inspired me to stand up from the crowd and make my voice heard, and your generosity and support have provided me with the drive to continue working to make a difference in our cause.

Val..gracias a ti.

9:39 AM, June 14, 2005  

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