Friday, April 25, 2008

The Battle of Ideas

Of all of the vitriolic verbiage that is hurled at Exiles and Cuban Americans, there is one that stings. Over time, I've grown accustomed to hardline and rightwing, even intransigent. And Miami mafia is laughable. What comes close to tender places is the assertion, "Face it. You lost; they won. Deal with it." That is the general gist. It comes close that spot in the psyche where the child's objection- "That's not fair"- yet lingers.

But then I came across this opinion by a Rafael Rojas, a Cuban exiled in Mexico, in El Pais. In it, aside from highlighting the reality that revolutions have a beginning and an end, despite the pretensions to ongoing process the regime has maintained for near a half century, he asks, "When is an exile over?" In this discussion, he raises an interesting notion. To look at the Cuban population in exile all over the world and compare its lot to that of those in Cuba itself is to realize that it is the exiles who have won the battle of ideas.

I realized he was speaking true. Through their achievements, by their very lives, each and every day, those in exile- who have had nothing handed to them other than opportunity and sometimes not much of that- demonstrate the falsity and fallacy of those grandiose claims of the interminable revolution.

So in part, as one writer said recently, we cannot return to the past. That is over and done. In that our critics are correct. What's lost will not be found. But as we see the tide turning against us in the propaganda wars; in the arena where it counts, that of reality we have the small consolation of knowing we have won. They have presided over not a revolution but the devolution of a country; they have been a force of destruction, and exiles have created new identities, new lives, new families, new realities.

That is little or no comfort to those who suffer under the present regime, but it should motivate us to continue the good fight, until someday our brethren on the island can enjoy the same blessings we do.

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