Fidel Castro is dead.
This is a time that many Cubans have hoped for, and many other Cubans have dreaded. A time when some Cubans are even celebrating, while many other Cubans mourn. But more than anything else, it is a time when all Cubans should try to channel those emotions and all their energy towards a single common goal: unity.
This goal may prove particularly difficult to attain for the many Cubans like myself who have spent most of their lives outside Cuba, since we have a vision of Cuba that is hard to reconcile with Cuba’s own reality.
And the very first obstacle we face is to see Fidel Castro’s passing as a cataclysm that could drastically change that Cuban reality we barely understand.
It is a time to build bridges, to practice tolerance, and to search for ways in which, through solidarity and a thorough knowledge and understanding of that Cuban reality, all Cubans can come together.
More than anything, it is a time to turn our back and close our ears to the so-called “experts”, plentiful in Miami, who will insist on polarizing the Cuban people with their message of hateful division.
And I am not talking about those who are celebrating at the Versailles restaurant in Little Havana or elsewhere. I am talking about those pseudo-intellectuals whose editorial columns disseminate “Anti this or that” propaganda in order to perpetuate the polarization on which they thrive, pursuing their own petty political purposes to advance their careers, political and otherwise, specially within the United States. Those who persistently resort to demonizing and divisive messages not only further polarize the Cuban people, but other nations as well. The latest example of this can be found with regard to the Colombian peace process.
Cuban lawyers, on both sides of the Florida Straits, have their own bridge to build. The blueprints for that bridge can be found in a phrase from one of the architects of Spain’s transition from the Franco era to present-day Spain: “From the (old) law, to the (new) law, through the laws”.
The author of this phrase, Torcuato Fernández Miranda y Hervìs, became the head of the Franco government when his predecessor died in a bombing attack. He was also the Secretary General of the Falangist Movement, the ideological arm of the regime.
Don Torcuato presided over the Spanish parliament during what was known as the Plenary for the Reform, which passed the Political Reform Law barely a year after the death of Franco, an event anticipated by many Spaniards as a possible “biological solution”… But it is that phrase or concept, backed by the then justice minister of Spain, Laudelino Lavilla, that provided the real “solution” the Spanish people craved for; the biological solution is never enough.
This is THE bridge we Cubans need to move on, as long as we understand that the law in question is the Cuban law (not a law dictated or conditioned by the United States), at both ends of the bridge to be tended: the Cuban law at the time biology intervened (not any six decades old laws), and the one that will allow all Cubans to live together facing a common future.
The polarizing propaganda machine from the “anti” crowd (anti Castro, anti Communist, anti normalization of the ties between Cuba and the United States, you name it) will point out that in Cuba there is no transition to speak of, but merely a succession. As so many other talking points crafted by these self-proclaimed experts on Cuba, this one is easily disproved. The Spaniards had both a succession (Franco handpicked his successor seeking the preservation and continuation of “his” Spain) and a transition, which was negotiated by striving to find the level of consensus that would allow all parties involved to coexist.
That consensus was embodied in Spain’s Ley para la Reforma Política approved by the Spanish Parliament (Las Cortes) on Nov. 20, 1976. This barebones document (five articles, three transitory provisions, and one final provision, which all fit comfortably into the two sides of a single page) laid the foundation from which today’s Spain peacefully emerged, without excluding any Spaniard, any political parties, any socio-economic model, but opening the channels to debate any and all different ideas.
It goes without saying that the Spain of 1976 and the Cuba of 2016 are not identical, another predictable talking point the friends of polarization and the status quo are sure to bring up in order to convince us that the only thing we can do today is prevent anyone from doing anything (because their goal is to prevent both the Cuban and the U.S. government from allowing us to tend any bridges between our two nations).
It is up to us, then, to choose whether to listen to the “anti” crowd and do nothing but wait for the next “biological solution”, and then for another one, and another one…; or ignore the hate-mongerers and pursue don Torcuato’s blueprint, or even a better one we Cubans may be able to come up with.
José Manuel Pallí is president of Miami-based World Wide Title. He can be reached a firstname.lastname@example.org.