Due to a series of illnesses, I only just recently saw Star Wars Rogue One. It was long enough that I had some major spoilers about the ending which ultimately I’m glad about. This is me warning you that this post is full of spoilers. But if you don’t mind or have already seen it, perhaps you’d like to read how I sat in a theater crying over Cuba as I was watching a science fiction movie about space politics.
Oh, I’m Cuban by the way.
Rogue One takes place between Episode III Revenge of the Sith and Episode IV A New Hope (or the original Star Wars). In the opening crawl of the original Star Wars, it mentions how the events take place after Rebel spies stole the plans of the Death Star. Rogue One is the movie about the Rebel spies who stole the blueprints of the Death Star. And it also explains why the thing had such a huge flaw built in (it was on purpose by a disillusioned Imperial employee).
We all know the basics of Star Wars, right? Darth Vader bad, Jedis good is the basic. Darth Vader works for the Emperor , head of the Galactic Empire, and Imperial Army. Vader murdered the Jedis who were the watchgaurds of the Galactic Republic, a democratic form of government. The whole series is about politics. Imperialism bad, Democracy good. Now, go ahead and try to argue with me that an imperialist government that builds and uses a weapon to destroy an entire culture and civilization isn’t bad. These people need to be stopped. And in comes the Rebel Alliance with Princess Leia, what’s left of the Jedi, and a small group of people who want to fight for freedom and are willing to die to defeat those who would oppress it.
So now I’m watching this movie. Fidel Castro, former president and tyrannical dictator of Cuba, has finally died after decades of gutting Cuba’s resources and murdering and oppressing the people while making himself rich. And I’m in tears because the Rebel Alliance fought and they won. And every attempt by Cuban “rebels” to overthrow their own tyrant, ultimately failed. The emperor lived out his long life in luxury, and now Darth Vader rules a wasteland. I’m talking about Raul Castro, who I’m not absolving. The man is a piece of shit too.
Fidel Castro rose to power as a rebel against Batista, who I like to describe as a gangster to make it easy for everyone to understand. Certainly, he had a lot of mob ties and didn’t want to give up power over Cuba. And I want to strangle everyone who after Castro died wrote headlines about Castro defying the US, or revolutionary, or hero. Fuck all of you. Seriously, fuck you. Because Castro’s “revolutionary” legacy ended in 1959. The rest of those years, 57 years and counting, the legacy of Fidel Castro is death, economic collapse, loss of civil liberties. He was a rich communist.
The reason I’ve always hated the embargo against Cuba is because I know that the only people that suffered were the Cubans. Fidel Castro and his buddies were fine. It’s my family in Cuba we had to sneak medical supplies to. You hear that all you people talking about free healthcare in Cuba? Fuck you.
I’m getting away from the point. Which is, I don’t want people to think that the Cubans rolled over and took this kind of abuse. Some ran, but some stayed and fought. They lost. And unlike some rebels in other countries, no one seems to care enough to fund arms or any assistance to Cuban dissident movements. Which means those who work to oppose the Castro regime now only have their will and their words to fight with. I also want everyone to know that when you opposed Castro, he went after your entire family. So perhaps you were more hesitant to fight when picturing your 12 year old sister being forced into labor camps because of you or your 60 yearl old mother in jail.
The Rogue One team went in to steal the plans with little hope and without assistance from the rest of the Rebel Alliance. And they would have most likely lost had the Rebel Alliance not shown up midway through to help them. I don’t know what it will take to help Cuba and its people. But history tells me, tells us Cubans, that we are on our own.
What did my family do? They fought. Some of them died. Some went to jail. Some went to labor camps. And some were able to run. Slowly one or two at a time, those who came to the US were able to get most of the family out of Cuba. But I still have blood there.
For quick info on Cuban dissident movements, try Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuban_dissident_movement