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They Rule Because You Obey

"They Rule Because You Obey" / Angel Santiesteban

Angel Santiesteban, Translator: Unstated

I read this phrase that I chose as a title on Facebook, and in the

background were photos of Fidel and , the brothers who have

tyrannically ruled Cuba for more than fifty years.

It's true, those Dictators rule because we Cubans on the island obey,

because to confront them is to fear losing your life; we know that we

are waiting for hordes of mercenaries with machine guns and tanks that

will mercilessly drive over our bodies. What is also true and also sad

is that those who publicized it were other Cubans whose only rebellion

was to abandon the national territory. It's as if they have forgotten

their sufferings and their fears, as if they don't remember their past.

It seems unjust to me that those who saved their lives by putting

geographical distance between them and this island, now push us to make

decisions that could end in our deaths or in long terms, as

Cubans know well what awaits those who dare to challenge the Castro

brothers. It is dishonest that after putting the sea between them, they

now demand attitudes that they themselves were not willing to take.

On other occasions I have said that, for the most part those who have

emigrated, whom I unconditionally support for having taken this

decision, complied until the last possible moment and in a disciplined

way with all the laws and requirements of the regime. Most did not

renounce their membership in the Committees for the Defense of the

Revolutions (), nor the Cuban Workers Union (CTC), nor the

Territorial Militia (MTT); intelligently they remained mute so as not to

attract the attention of the authorities and so they were granted the

"White Card" — the permission to leave the country — an action I don't

criticize, nor would it go well for anyone who did otherwise.

But for these same reasons it does not appear just or humane that they

now ask for self-immolations from those who, like them, at least desire

and need to survive the totalitarian system that rules the Cuban


As it is also true that if all of us had remained here, the country

would have exploded in a popular revolt like a pressure cooker, from the

pressure of the terror, freeing ourselves from these dictators whom we

have suffered for such a long time. Some would repeat the popular

phrase: it's easy to push without hitting.

To reach such conclusions is offensive, because to humiliate those on

either shore is useful only to our enemies. Better they should suffer

for their compatriots left inside here, and try to care for them,

because in the end most of the dead and the prisoners are those of us

who stayed from the conviction that we must find, together, the road

that leads us to the democracy that Jose Marti dreamed of in the century

before last, and that we still have to conquer.

I always say that those inside the island and the outside create the

perfect scream. Without them — without you — we would be only half, our

pain would find no echo, nor, therefore, any receptors. Our pain comes

from the mouths of those who are in the lands of , those who are

not persecuted by censorship, and those who have no henchmen waiting at

the doors of their homes to silence them with blows.

And so, both sides, the exile and those of us who inhabit this island of

ghosts, we need strength, we are the perfect chemistry to oust the

tyrants of this place that belongs to everyone equally.

August 24 2012

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