Between rebellion and brazenness
This reflection begins with a true story: in a certain pharmacy in the capital, a patient asks for the medicine that will take him out of the crisis in which his digestive system has fallen and out of an almost unbearable pain that has caused him to go out into the street despite the fact that the doctor has ordered absolute rest.
The needy person, who has to update his or her home address papers, carries a certificate with him or her where the word “transit”, written by the doctor, can be read, but the pharmacy technique explains that the term is only applicable to transfers between provinces.
The dialogue between the needy and those who can help becomes a dead end. At some point the technique says vaguely: “Let’s see if we understand each other, let’s see if we can “solve…”. The patient gets confused and just asks, “Will they give me the medicine or not? Suddenly someone remembers that there is only one box left with the pills that they are urging and that are destined for a very critical case in the community. The patient feels almost guilty, and without having solved his problem he leaves with a bitter and surprising memory of the phrase in which he had hinted at the possibility of a solution.
Among Cubans there are terms that allude to our incessant effort to make our way through multiple difficulties: the “battle” or “struggle”, for example, serves to remind us of the enterprising eagerness, often positive, of the children of this island. But there are words that speak to us of less clean attitudes – such as the “search” – or of invitations to “solve”, to mediate in circumstances that, so humanly delicate, do not allow the inclusion of intentions of sale and purchase.
This last word is often disconcerting to the listener, who does not know the language of “help me, I will help you”: No one who has in his soul an ethical protocol in which cheating and pillaging add to the list of anti-values will be able to comfortably assume that complicity in which “aid” has a price and in the end the feeling remains that, to the right, solutions either arrive late or never arrive, unless there is a commercial option.
To tell the truth, the desire to “seek” (i.e. to find monetary or material advantages where there are resources), or this desire to “solve” – whether from the person who charges or from the one who pays – could find multiple explanations in reality: In three decades of increased economic and social difficulties, we have seen a lot of weeds grow in the shadow of emergencies and needs; life, like water seeking to run its course, has become for many a long-distance race in which almost everything is done against the clock, desperately, in a context marked by a lack of resources, bureaucracy and inefficiency in providing services, in a country that for much more than three decades has suffered the handshake of the empire through a commercial and financial blockade.
To these known and accumulated problems we must add the new challenges arising from the reconfiguration of the country in the economic and social spheres – a stage that, as a friend told me, is reminiscent of the movement of the bowels of the Earth, that rearrangement in which many customs and moral compasses seem to be dislocated while the scenarios, like the flakes of the planet, are being rearranged.
The fact that “resolving” lives among us as a style places us as a society, since it reminds us of the importance of the right-wing paths – that is, the entities that are responsible for the well-being of all – working together and doing so with agility. The other thing is that everything we design in terms of the necessary control must implicitly bring about the natural flexibility of life: rigidity and excessive restrictions are overwhelming and lead many to wonder what to do to “resolve” problems, and how to do it.
There is another inescapable aspect to this: even the ugliest attitudes can find an explanation, which does not mean that they deserve to be justified. Therefore, even if the most diverse distortions fuel the search for shortcuts, it would not be good for the dream country to wait for everything to go well in the target world to start looking inside. To rebel against brazenness and unscrupulousness at this moment seems to me to be an act of responsibility insofar as it limits the denial of virtue; it even seems to me to be an act of faith in the best possibilities for our fellow beings.