We Are Delinquents, and Are Proud of It

Bridges of Love

HAVANA, Cuba. – The communist regime does not accept the fact that there have been and will continue to be protests in Cuba. The regime calls them “disturbances” and it wants to impose on the world a distorted narrative where Cubans who dissent, oppose the government and demand freedom are delinquent and confused people.

Personally, if there were no other choice but to choose between those two insults, it offends me less when the government calls us “delinquents” than when it calls us “fools”, for after all, that is what they say when they insist on calling by the misnomer “confused” our actually being fed up.

It is as irritating and offensive as trying to make the world believe –so in tune with the “revolutionary utopia” they admire from afar, with their bellies full- that the political crisis in Cuba will be resolved by giving people, free-of-charge, three pounds of rice and a can of Russian meat that was packaged in 2017!

However, regarding the word “delinquent”, we’re talking about the worn-out criminalization of anyone or anything that voices its opposition to them, and it takes me back, with satisfaction, to the etymology of the word.

Delinquent comes from the Latin delinquentis, from the verb delinquere which means “one who fails to perform a duty or discharge an obligation…one who disobeys.” Thus, the tens of thousands of Cubans who found the courage to take to the streets to demand freedom, plus the millions who decided to emigrate or were forced into exile, and even the multitudes that have chosen to stay here and disobey in silence, are indeed people who have failed to discharge an obligation –who have refused to follow orders- by default or in defiance.

Seen from this perspective, we are a nation with a “delinquent majority”, and one even feels proud about being labeled by the communist government with a term they consider pejorative. 

However, it doesn’t translate as pejorative because it emanates from a place where no satisfaction could be derived by the use of a “better” term, a place where any word or gesture that praises us must be seen as a warning that we are going down the wrong path, away from our intention of becoming fair and worthy men and women.

Therefore, in our peculiar context, where a dictatorship aims to disqualify everyone and everything that does not agree with it, a delinquent person is the subject that resists or rebels against all violations and, as a result, is synonymous with dignity.

Also in our context, to end up labeled within the official discourse not so much as “delinquent persons” but barely as “marginalized people”, also makes us happy inasmuch as the powers that be, with their contradictory nature, recognize as “renegades” that part of society that resists falling or being trapped by an evil and miserable system of communist privilege and blackmail. 

Thus, for the regime, “marginalized” and delinquent” people are those subjects that do not join its Mafia-like pact where loyalty is directly proportional to fear, mediocrity and opportunism.

In addition, “marginalized” and delinquent” people are above all, those who have discovered on time that the main problem is not that the system doesn’t work or that a gang of inept individuals holds the reins of power, but something worse. Truthfully, this strange thing that looks more like an orthodox sect than a political system, was never designed to involve us on equal footing, but to make us revolve around their caste till we were dizzy and confused… the very caste that proclaims itself as the highest body in Cuban society, irremovable and infallible. 

It would be difficult to be more pretentious and more ridiculous than Cuban communists, but let’s not make the mistake of underestimating them. Least of all, underestimating their ability to 

embed themselves in the seat of power, and to sow their own convenient narrative in the media, as well as in academia and other American and European institutions that have been kidnapped by the regime’s agents of influence. Their glossary of terms and phrases provokes confusion, as for example, when “Cuba” becomes a “communist government”, and the “order to fight” spoken by the president, brazenly becomes “a call to peace”.

When I hear them say “Leave Cuba in peace”, I cannot help but think about the shamelessness inherent to the phrase, and the immoral right to violence that they dare to claim as power -a repressive power- before the eyes of the democratic world. 

In that sense, I don’t regard as naïve or as “individual initiative” the impudence of those who propose “bridges of love” between Cuba and the U.S., especially when the “bricks” they will use to build such a “masterwork of engineering” –more economic than ecumenical in nature- are oblivion, opportunism, repression, and the criminalization of the opposition, the marginalization of those who think and speak from opposite sides of the ideological and political spectrum. 

Bridges of love, for what? So that it can clear the way for the adventurer who has made, or aims to make, a fortune from our communist mishap? Bridges to better educate our “friends from the North” (formerly known as “enemies and worms”) the old lesson about how behaving well, lowering our heads, and following the rules are rewarded by the right (so stated in the Official Gazette) to taste a tiny piece (and I mean “tiny”) of that great pie, filled with scams and swindlers that we call “socialist economy”? Bridges, so that the future independent press can turn into a clone of OnCuba News, or that all the small businesses that arrive here from “the brutal and turbulent North” can take their cue from Fuego Enterprises Inc.?

Bridges, of course, so they can allow you to set up a home restaurant, a paladar, where you can serve lobster clandestinely without worrying; bridges, to keep inspectors away from the Airbnb that you rent out in Havana but manage from Miami; bridges, to bring that cheap rubbish you bought in Chinese flea markets that you will sell back home at prices as high as officialdom allows you; bridges, to profit with the increase of remittances and charter flights; bridges to promote Cuba as the paradise that it is not, so that the world’s Left, more sinister by the day, can come to screw the young prostitute, the jinetera, who vowed to be like Che; so that gringos can enjoy smoking Havana cigars in front of the poor Cuban peasants who produces them, those very same Cuban peasants –confused and potentially delinquents- who can’t even buy the cheapest cigarettes because they have neither US dollars nor Euros with which to buy them. 

In that glossary filled with semantic twists and turns, the word “bridge” means “accolade”, “legitimacy”, and also “funeral”, since it aims to bury forever the hopes of Cuban men and women for radical change. Radical change so that true bridges can become two-way paths and not just one-ways with heavy tolls that we must pay in order to cross them. Real bridges that we can cross and benefit from freely, and not as privilege awarded by caste in violation of our rights as human beings.

A definitive change, so that no future government will have the audacity to label as “delinquent or confused” anyone who demands, in his or her legitimate way, the right to live in freedom. 

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