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    “American-Philia” Conquers Cuba

    “American-Philia” Conquers Cuba / Cubanet, Miriam Celaya

    Cubanet, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 29 June 2017 — Ten days have passed
    since Donald Trump announced his “new” political strategy toward Cuba,
    and while the official Cuban press monopoly has wasted gallons of ink on
    newspapers and on dozens of reports, interviews and TV programs to show
    the world the indignation and rejection of the Cuban people at the gross
    interference of US imperialism, which attempts to undermine the
    portentous social and economic achievements reached in almost 60 years
    of Castro rule, national life continues its boring course at ground
    level, far from the rhetorical battles.

    If the US president’s speech has had any palpable effect in Cuba, it is
    in the possibility of clearly confirming, on a daily basis, the enormous
    gap that exists between the olive-green power elite, as an eternalized
    political class, and common Cubans. Oblivious to the political and mass
    organizations at the service of the gerontocracy, which these days have
    shown discipline through the obligatory task of drafting their
    declarations of repudiation of the Empire of Evil, the people remain as
    alienated from the old “revolutionary” epic, and from its ideological
    disputes as is possible. Particularly when the enemy they are fighting
    is none other than the endearing monster in whose entrails so many
    thousands and thousands of Cubans yearn to live.

    A breach that has become all the more visible because the majority of
    Cubans today increasingly identify less with the official discourse and
    is more irreverent in relation to the State-Party-Government and with
    everything it represents.

    If anyone were to doubt this, all he would need to do is to walk the
    streets of the Cuban capital and check the number of American flags that
    proliferate every day, either as articles of clothing worn by numerous
    passers-by, such as caps, sandals, head scarves, etc. or decorating the
    interior of private transportation. It is like a contest in social
    irreverence towards everything that stems from the government and its
    colossal propagandistic and repressive apparatus, a phenomenon that was
    unthinkable only a few years ago.

    Thus, the more the official voice shouts itself hoarse calling for the
    union of national sovereignty and the reaffirmation of socialism, not
    only does American-philia expand among the population of the island –
    with even greater strength, although not exclusively, among the younger
    generation – but it also adopts multiple variants of expression. It is
    not limited to the open display of the US flag, but also has well-known
    trademarks originating in that country, signs of official US
    institutions on textiles (including t-shirts labeled: USA, DEA, or FBI,
    for example), as well as images and names of famous US cities.

    It is like an effect of funny magic, by virtue of which everything
    having to do with that country draws me near. Or, to put it another way,
    to think intensely about a thing is a superstitious way (like “I hope it
    becomes true” while crossing one’s fingers) of preparing the ground for
    the pleasure of enjoying it.

    But if, in the daily routine of the city, the American symbols continue
    to mark the pace, as if mocking that dreaded label of “ideological
    diversion,” presumably fallen into disuse, on the beaches the phenomenon
    constitutes a quasi-apotheosis. This can easily be seen at the beaches
    east of Havana, where coastline areas from El Megano to Guanabo in the
    extensive sandy stretches where – despite Trump’s bitter declarations
    and the strong patriotic protests of the Cuban government – the stars
    and stripes constantly parade in the shape of towels, men’s shorts and
    lightweight children’s swimwear, caps, umbrellas and even inflatable
    rafts or infant’s lifejackets.

    It must be torture for the Castro clan and its claque that no
    regulations are in effect, (especially not now, when diplomatic
    relations exist between the two countries), that prohibit the use of the
    US flag in clothing or in any object created by the human imagination.
    Would it be justifiable to quell those who wear a symbol that represents
    a friendly people entirely, and not just their political powers?

    But this is not about a new phenomenon either. It turns out that this
    epidemic of a taste for everything American and its symbols had been
    manifesting itself in a more or less contained but constant way for
    several years, and was unleashed with marked emphasis at the time of the
    reestablishment of relations between the governments of Cuba and the US,
    especially during and after President Barack Obama’s visit to a Havana,
    until turning into an unstoppable cult to the chagrin of the hierarchy
    of the geriatric elite and its ideologic commissaries, who try in vain
    to tackle a hare that is like the mythological hydra, spouting seven
    heads for each one they cut off.

    And while all this intense American mania continues to be sharpened in
    Cuba – the historical bastion of the continent’s radical left – the
    nationalist affectation of the regime recently chose to prohibit the use
    of the Cuban national symbol in a similar way. In fact, Cuban laws
    expressly prohibit it.

    Consequently, not even the fiercest prospects of their pack of
    repudiators or other similarly-minded halberdiers can counteract the
    growing “Uncle Sam” effect on Cuban society, since they are barred from
    wearing the Cuban national flag as a way to counteract those involuntary
    “traitorous” ones, who, without hiding it, continue to publicly display
    their admiration for the crème de la crème of evil capitalism, which, it
    was taken for granted, had been banished definitively from Cuba since 1959.

    Personally, and begging the pardon of the more ardent and sincere
    patriots of fetishistic spirit, I am not tempted to worship symbols,
    whether from my own country or from others. Even less would I think to
    wear a flag, although those who do so – with the vocation of flagpoles –
    does not affect me. It is their right. But, strictly speaking, the flag
    is nothing more than a rag that many years ago someone designed and
    chose to represent us all and that, ultimately, has been used with the
    same zeal and passion for the best as for the worst causes, also
    supposedly “of everyone.” Ergo, I’m not excited about the flags, but nor
    do I feel myself to be any less Cuban than anybody else.

    Nevertheless, a flag, as a symbol of something, evidences the feelings
    of the individuals who carry it towards that “something.” That, in the
    case of the American flag in Cuba, symbolizes exactly the paradigm of
    life of the Cubans who exhibit it. An aspiration on a national scale.
    So, for those who want to know what Cubans really think about the US, do
    not look for the statements published in the official press or the
    boring speeches at events: go to the beach. There, relaxing by the sea,
    sheltered by a good umbrella and perhaps savoring a cold beer that
    protects them from the strong tropical heat, they will see, parading
    before their eyes, the mute response of the Cuban people to the Empire
    that attacks them.

    Translated by Norma Whiting

    Source: “American-Philia” Conquers Cuba / Cubanet, Miriam Celaya –
    Translating Cuba –