Lauren (a Michigan university student studying at the University of Havana): What is the biggest problem that Cuba has?
S: Economy. Economic development. But with it there is another thing, the mentality. We have to change the mentality.
L: Of what?
S: Of the people. It has already changed, a little. But it is necessary to change it more. And it is not a question of changing it for good or changing it for the worse. It is not a value judgment. Simply, the way of being has to change. Doing what we are doing now, we will not solve all the problems we have and those that come before us.
One thing that Cuba needs in the change of mentality, is that it needs to be more free, the people need to be more open to the unknown. We need dialogue, in Cuba there is a lack of dialogue. We lack… literally the word is dialogue. Dialogue involves listening and speaking, but speaking without overshadowing what the others say, and in Cuba that is missing. In order to move forward, we need dialogue. To listen to ourselves, and little by little, rebuild us. And in the economy too, change is needed, strong, decisive and fast. Especially fast. We need change, but we can’t delay it and it has to be fast, because if it’s not we will lose the strength in our system and fall into a bourgeois revolution, just like what happened to the USSR. People will think that the system is broken beyond repair, and search for a new one,
which would lead to the complete reintegration of the capitalist system. In Cuba, that would be a disaster in my opinion. A neoliberal restoration would be a disaster. Because by context and situation in Cuba, it is not what would be best. For me, the road is socialism. But a real socialism. A socialism consistent with Marx, with Marxism. And not with Marxism-Leninism, not with the Marx and with the Lenin that Stalin created, which was what we assumed. The problem is this, that we call ourselves Marxists, but we stay in academic Marxism. In the street people do not speak from Marx. It’s not that people do not talk about Marxism, it’s that people do not speak from Marx. People do not understand phenomena from Marx or from Marxism. They understand from the bourgeoisie theory. How are we going to be Marxists, if our population mostly understands things from the bourgeoisie theory? It is because we have not known enough to reach people with Marxism so that they understand things. That’s why you don’t have to look for another system, what you have to do is readjust what you have. But readjust it well. They are strong changes, radical changes, but they are going to help us have a better country to develop.
L: What do you think the world can learn from Cuba?
S: Solidarity. To share. The Martian (referring to Jose Martí) humanism that we have. It is a thing that is exportable. In fact, we do export it, we send doctors instead of soldiers, we send teachers to help eliminate illiteracy, we send human capital, teachers, doctors, athletes. We help people, and we share what we have. The main thing is the solidarity of Cuba, and the kindness and sincerity with which we act before situations. When we speak we do it sincerely, from the heart, without looking the benefit, economic or otherwise. When we act, we do it selflessly. Without looking for the political gain, how to get better standing before a situation. We are not Machiavellian, we are humanists, thanks to Martí and many others who formed the nationality and the Cuban race and what it means to be Cuban. Even our diplomacy is humanistic.
: What is one thing that you are fighting for?
S: To change the forms, the conception, the focus of politics. To revolutionize the mentality, changing it and readjusting it to the current times, to the current generations. To change Cuban politics, regenerate it, give it a rebirth, that’s why I fight.
November 17, 2018
Adventures from Lo
Lauren, college student Michigan