• Dawer Perez Canete

What? Why? When?... and How? Can Cubans Find Common Ground?

Join the conversation! This blog provides an opportunity to explore how to resolve the deep divisions among Cubans today. Why is there no Cuban, inside or outside of Cuba, who doesn't have a thorn in the side produced by a political decision made in Havana, Miami, or the White House? Some Cubans can see social gains in their lives, while others can't. Why is that?

For years our country has been divided into several groups pulling in different directions, creating a seemingly impossible dilemma. Nevertheless, the future of Cuba depends on whether we can find common ground to make peace regardless of our differences. One of the main groups is the Cuban Government and its supporters, which is divided by the decision makers, the followers who do not question, and those who follow but criticize. All the people in this group are rebuilding the concept of the original Cuban Revolution. The other large group is the opposition and its supporters, which is also divided by the powerful main players, the followers who do not question, and those who carry a lot of pain from the past.

Until 1959, low wages and poverty were the main problems in our country. We thought that national liberation was the solution. Nevertheless, it wasn't true. For workers today, low wages are still the main problem. In retrospect, many historic events are related to this issue. The critical economic situation and the agricultural and urban reforms triggered waves of emigration. Political alliances and breakouts have attempted to redirect power from the current Cuban Government to political groups in Miami, and vice versa, by using force, persuasion, manipulation and more recently, exchange.

At this point, we have as collective memory the pride that results from perseverance and pain on both sides. And we are ready to keep this dichotomy in place because we have mastered the art of resistance. Furthermore, the future of our country is unclear. Under these political conditions, it is not possible to develop our Cuban society, because we have forgotten the principle that from these contradictions, we can find our evolution. However, we can stop using these powerful positions of resistance on both sides. Instead, we can help our peers find the weaker points of positions on both sides through argumentative dialogue, empowering ourselves with critical thinking and the principles of non-violent communication.

We need to step away from the historical pain produced by the ongoing action-reaction dynamics between these two main opposing groups. We can state our beliefs to the other side, one by one, leaving space for the answers. We can listen and honestly wonder about the value of what we get in response, accepting or rejecting that response with an argument that one can feel is the truth. Then we can offer silence, thus showing respect to those who suffer in pain, before we achieve a resolution. We must understand that we are fighting for what we believe, which is honorable. However, a resolution becomes more honorable when we can recognize the benefits or contradictions we create with what we believe. Both sides must remember that.

Now, the question is open to whomever wants to begin. You can be a Cuban or an American. You can write in English or in Spanish. You can be living inside or outside Cuba. You can be pro or against the Cuban Government, believe in socialism or capitalism, believe that Cuba has democracy or not, freedom of speech or not.

We encourage you to share your point of view. Why are there so many people that have emigrated to Miami, and from there have tried to overthrow the current Cuban Government, which in 1959 started a different social program that still finds support among many Cubans and other people all over the world?