Robert C.

As Interviewed by Juan Ceresa, March 2015

Robert C: In His Own Words

[Translated from Spanish by Robert Ceresa.]

My name is Robert C., me and my family are from Cuba and we have only came to the US every recently in May 2014. I was born in 1978, which makes me 36.

One of my biggest disagreements with Cuban government is the education Cuba has received. I specifically mean the politics of Cuban education, how Cuban history is distorted, anything outside of the sanctioned story is prohibited. Education becomes a way for the authorities to control the way people think.

My second disagreement is the limitations on the freedom of speech, expression, the government is not in complete control of these, there is some freedom, but it is very constrained. There is much to lose if you speak out of what is sanctioned.

There is mistreatment of people in Cuba, but it is more psychological than it is physical. For example, people are pressured with necessities like the food that's rationed, they are pressured to think a certain way, join a political party, only to make sure that they can eat. The government can do this because they control the food supply. The people are forced to take on a double standard, you have to say one thing, to get something to eat, when you actually think differently.

You can’t really separate political freedom and economic freedom, they go together. You have to choose the kind of person you think is going to take the country in the direction you want it to go in. Robert believes that one day those are possibilities for Cuba.

I think that one contaminates the other, they are organic. For example, the fall of the soviet union affected the Cuban economy along with other socialist countries. There has been experimentation with free market reforms, what will happen with these reforms, no one knows, because they are so through.

I don't think that the word improved is the right word to use, I thinks the right word would be flexible. Cuba is becoming more flexible, for example, people who are homosexual in cuba are treated with more openness. There is more freedom for people to be who they want to be, more freedom for people who want to buy and sell things, for people who want to invest and have a business.

There are radio stations and television stations exist in Cuba. However, what is said and how it is said is controlled, the people in that industry know what is permitted and what is not, you can pay a great cost if you talk about what is not permitted. It leads Robert to believe that the news is orchestrated and what you get is one groups idea of what is reality, and that is only one view of how things are there.

I was born in Cuba, and this is the first time I have left Cuba, so I have lived there for my whole life. My childhood in Cuba was like any other childhood in Cuba, an education that was strictly controlled, that was heavily influenced with politics. This was not unusual with his generation, those who were raised out of the 1970's.

I still have family in Cuba.

The leader of Cuba was Fidel Castro. His brother, Raul Castro, has recently risen to power. There are activists, but since everything is controlled, but I don't know who these activists are.

As a boy, I believed in the Cuban government, in the revolution. As the famous filmmaker Titon puts it, “The revolution is a wonderful guide that winds up in a bad place.” This is like many things that are illusionary, what hides behind the illusion is the darker side of things.

I'm not really sure, I leave that to people who understand the way politics works. I believe that communism is based on control, and the question is what do the people that are in control want to do with that control. As far as I am concerned, communism is an alternative to fascism, another system based on control. Communism is like Christianity without Christ, in the sense that the Utopian vision of communism is one thing, but how the people in control use it, is another.

Cuba's future is uncertain. This has to do with Cuba's relation with itself and other countries. I can tell you what I want Cuba's future to be, but it is uncertain. All we can do is wait and see what will come of Cuba.