Viernes, 29 de Mayo de 2020
Última actualización: 17:28 CEST

Santa y Andrés and 'revolutionary intransigence'

Scene from 'Santa y Andrés' by filmmaker Carlos Lechuga.

The bureaucratic decision to disallow the screening of the film Santa y Andrés by Cuban filmmaker Carlos Lechuga at the 38th edition of the New Latin American Cinema Festival in Havana illustrates the continued predominance of absurd and narrow-minded "revolutionary intransigence," and that Cuban culture's new parameters are not so new after all.

People will see the movie, sooner or later, with all its compelling human content – not "counter-revolutionary," as the inquisitors of the official reaction wish to portray it, who strive to suppress those who defy the country's bureaucracy, dissenters who embody the human energy harbored by every Cuban and that "the revolution" has sought to crush, to keep the people divided and sustain the hegemony of a ruling class that has claimed a right to decide what others ought to think and do. And that is the real cause of the ban.

Lechuga's film, which upholds freedom, simply shows how two people with feelings and values apparently making them very different, even opposite, end up recognizing and understanding each other, thereby flouting official policy's predesignated parameters, rules handed down by ideological guardians seeking to erect insurmountable barriers between "revolutionaries" and "the others."

With a "clear sense of the historical moment" (the ultimate champion of revolutionary intransigence just passed away), the custodians of reactionary anti-culture, ensconced in their "revolutionary" superstructure, argued that the film would not be presented in order to "defend a people and a great cause." 

While the film defends freedom, friendship, love and human relations above policies and ideology, these new inquisitors must believe that the people and that great cause – which is not defined– are actually opposed to these universal human values. Hence, it is clear that their conception of the people and of that cause is nothing like that embraced by revolutionaries, democrats and socialists throughout history, but rather corresponds to Manichean, extremist, antidemocratic and Machiavellian ideas that underestimate and demonize all those human values as "subversive" and non-functional under the totalitarian system.

This is nothing new. It has been part of the sectarian approach present throughout "revolutionary" discourse on human and interpersonal relations, to keep the Cuban people fragmented: revolutionary/counter-revolutionary, natives/foreigners, believers/atheists, homosexuals/heterosexuals, Havanans/easterners, the educated/the uneducated, whites/blacks, old/young, and so on, always seeking to keep the people squared off rather than united by human values.

This is the way of carrying out a stratagem as ancient as the Roman Empire: divide and conquer.

It is also a sign of the regime's unwillingness to engage in the kind of dialogue that Cuba so direly needs.

Cuba can hardly emerge from its current quagmire if these inquisitors, enemies of dialogue, of human convergence, of reconciliation among Cubans, pursuers of revolutionaries, opponents, or simply thinkers, still wield this kind of power – which is, incidentally, arbitrarily granted.

I trust that sooner rather than later Cuba will open up to democratization, and the values of humanism and freedom espoused by Santa and Andrés will prevail among Cubans.