"Some of the artists [at the exhibit] are exiles, others are nationals." -- Monica, "Unbroken Ties: Dialogues in Cuban Art," Babalú, April 25, 2008
Babalú's youngest contributing writer, Monica, is always a source of amusement. Young people never draw my anger. I am glad that they have any interest in Cuba, let alone devote any part of their lives to her behalf. What if they do use the spurious names that Castro has given to Cuba's provinces? The fact that Cuba is a tabula rasa to them, at best known second-hand, covers a lot of territory, or, rather, excuses any number of errors that they might commit in an honest effort to understand our country. Cuba is, of course, their country, too.
The Constitution of 1940, still Cuba's only de jure fundamental law, grants the children of Cuban parents citizenship, and those children, having claimed Cuban citizenship, can pass it on to their foreign-born children, and so, unto all future generations born in exile. Which is to say, that not only the children of Cubans are Cubans, their grandchildren and great-grandchildren to the last generation are Cubans too. This should be a comfort to all of us: Fidel Castro has not been able to rob us of our nationality nor our descendents of their patrimony (or matrimony, since under the 1940 Constitution the children of Cuban mothers born outside the national territory enjoy the same citizenship rights as the children of Cuban fathers, which was a rare concession for those patriarchal times).
That much said, and in the spirit of instruction rather than chastisement, let me say that Monica has made the biggest "boo boo" in Babalú's history (as Henry once dubbed his own monumental gaffes). There is no distinction between Cuban exiles and Cuban nationals. Cuban exiles are Cuban nationals no less than Cubans who reside on the island. If the art exhibit which Monica reviews has as its object to highlight the "unbroken ties" that bind us, then that is the firmest tie of all: our shared nationality.
I oppose alike Cubans in exile that do not regard Cubans on the island as "real Cubans" and Cubans on the island that refuse to see exiled Cubans as "real Cubans."
We are one people. Any deviation from that concept is treason.