Martes, 15 de Octubre de 2019
Última actualización: 10:47 CEST

The poet says...

Poets, they say, are usually noble people. They write of beauty and pain, rise above the banality of everyday life, and turn the simplest elements of the universe into magic. Poets, they say, have sensitive souls. But I'm not so sure that this necessarily translates into an eternal defence of the helpless or an incorruptible love of humanity. At the end of the day, for every bard with a thirst for justice, there is always a buffoon who reveres tyrants, whether out of fear, wealth, or vanity; in some cases, a mixture of all three.

I am writing about them - not about poetry - after reading two texts written by poets. In one, a former defender of human rights, now an official serving the dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro, seeks to fudge his spineless refusal to denounce repression unleashed in Venezuela. In the other, a Mexican friend invokes Neruda and Che Guevara to justify his silence regarding the situation in Cuba. "I condemn all violence," says the former, as if the savage attacks by police and paramilitary forces were analogous to essentially peaceful marches by citizens. "Cuba is something personal to me, believe me," says the latter, as if political imprisonments, the repression of thought, and the country's fleeing youth, yearning for a future, could be resolved through his psychoanalysis sessions.

After a 20th century rife with horrors - labor camps, genocides and invasions - in the name of liberation, it is hard to believe that there are still people like this, who call themselves poets and militants at the same time. People who subordinate a prosaic truth to an abstract idea that is never realised. People who refuse to condemn with the same disgust the young people killed in Mexico or Caracas, those who have been forgotten in Guantanamo, and those condemned to Havana's dungeons. People who celebrate, at the same time, the freedom of Óscar López and the imprisonment of Leopoldo López. People who applaud us when we march together against Donald Trump, but who anathematize us when we denounce their false utopias. People who justify their complicit silence before the abuses committed in the name of “the Revolution,” invoking ideological loyalty and past heroism.

No, gentlemen, nothing excuses you. Your attitude is not - as occurred in Stalinist Moscow - the result of remoteness and ignorance. It is conscious and calculated. There are piles of evidence right before you, but you refuse to see, to read, to feel. You choose to be bards of an intolerant sect and, given the chance, you would be the censors of a new despot. Your notebooks and readings, since you chose to abet oppression, are stained with a blood every bit as red and wasted as other bloods, like the ideas you claim to embody and defend.


This article originally appeared in the Mexican newspaper La Razón. It is published here with the author's permission.