Reports from Cuba: Why Don’t I Want to be ‘Federated’?

By Yoani Sanchez:

Why Don’t I Want to be “Federated”?

The Congress of the Cuban Women’s Federation (FMC) ended a few days ago. At its closing ceremony, a man uttered the final words. But this wasn’t the only, nor the last, mistake of an antiquated organization marked by ideology.

After listening to the sessions in the Palace of Conventions, I affirm my decision not to be “federated.” Why?

Here are my reasons:

  • I reject the creation of an “eternal president” in the figure of Vilma Espín, Raúl Castro’s deceased wife, because this whole display of perpetuity in a position seems to me, at the very least, ridiculous.
  • I don’t want to be part of an organization whose flag shows a uniformed individual. I am not a soldier, I don’t see myself represented in a gun-carrying militia member.
  • I don’t believe that a woman’s organization should have as its principles fidelity to an ideology, a party and a man.
  • I suspect that a part of the four million women who make up the FMC have entered its rank purely automatically, as a mandatory process that takes place when you turn fourteen.
  • I distrust a federation that benefits from the lack of freedom of association which prevents Cuban from creating other organizations.
  • I’m aware of the double standards of the FMC, which says it rejects violence against women but which has never condemned the acts of repudiation against the Ladies in White.
  • I consider inefficient the work of an organization that, in its 50 years of existence, hasn’t managed to place women in the positions of power where the decisions that affect the country are really made.
  • I’m tired of women being reduced, in these female congresses, to beings concerned with pots and pans, soldiers who are willing to offer up their children as cannon fodder or production parts… selfless, beautiful and obedient.
  • I am a woman of the 21st century, I carry my ovaries not with victimhood but with pride, and I can’t be a member of an organization that transmits the directives of power to women.
  • Of course, when it is legal to associate according to one’s beliefs, affinities, genders and many other points of similitude, I will be there with my progesterone and my demands for a true female federation.



One thought on “Reports from Cuba: Why Don’t I Want to be ‘Federated’?

  1. Vilma Espín was a “feminist” like Mrs. Clinton: a calculating, perversely ambitious viper who owed everything to being the wife of a certain man and never let go of her meal ticket. Since she couldn’t bag Fidel, she went for his sexually ambiguous runt of a brother, who looked almost comically unmanly despite posturing to the contrary (sort of like Michael Jackson frantically grabbing his crotch while prancing around in a music video). The point was the connection and the position and power it gave her, not the man per se.

    Vilma was never about empowering Cuban women, but about subjugating them to the will of the state and making them serve it–a state, obviously, run by men. She always lived like a queen while ordinary Cuban women struggled to feed and clothe their families under miserable conditions. Her “women’s federation” was the same crock, in principle, as the one about Fidel “emancipating” black Cubans. Evidently, given that so many Cuban opposition figures are black, black Cubans don’t feel especially free, and even if they’re not actively against the government, they know they’re expected to be extra submissive out of “gratitude.” If they dare to offend Massah Castro, they could wind up dead–like the three young black men who were summarily executed in 2003 for the “crime” of attempting to escape the plantation, even though they were NOT dissidents, just tired of living in a dead-end shithole and looking for a better life. Very tellingly, two white men who were also involved in the very same attempt were put in jail, but not killed. Do the math.

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