cuba as matriarchy

In the world in which I lived, the mother had a patriarchal role. The father was an adventurer who would simply conceive you and disappear (as happened in my case) but the mother was always a constant: the one who kept watch over you, rocked you, nursed you, punished you, criticized you, praised you…in sum, the one who would forgive you or condemn you. And that is evident in what I have written. I also believe that there is an oedipal character…between Cubans in general and their mothers. The mother embodies, in the end, absolute power. In the various forms that dictatorships have had in Cuba, the dictator partly takes on the role of the mother of the people. There is, as a result, a kind of sentimental blackmail: an authority almost maternal. That is what we see at present: how the dictatorship becomes a maternal power that manages us, guides us, organizes us, tells us how we must comb our hair, how we must dress, how we must speak, what we must do, what we must not do.

— Reinaldo Arenas



It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails at least fails while daring greatly.

–Theodore Roosevelt