Resistance, as exhibited throughout this unit’s readings, provides a dangerous outlet for the frustrations of Latinos everywhere. People in Latin countries, such as Cuba, often times seem to express that by sitting quietly under a dictators rule you are agreeing with his regime. They combat this phenomena in both violent and nonviolent ways, but both provide serious risk. Rules setup in countries like Cuba are severly enforced, evident by the numerous soldiers encamped on every street.In Margarita Engle’s short story, “From Singing to Cuba”, the theme of resistance looms over the story and dictates the actions of the characters.
Examples of resistance occur throughout this story, but several particular incidents provide very sufficent evidence of this. Firstly, the main character Miguelito wears a large crucifix around his neck when walking in public. This action is very taboo in this area of the world, and this fact alone plays a large role in Migelito’s choice to wear it. “He left the top button of his shirt open to make sure the crucifix showed and he walked with pride, relieved to be taking a step so bold and defiant.” This statement alone proves that not only does he wear the piece of jewelry for his love of god, but also to show his resistance towards the rules. Another big example of resistant behavior is the meer fact that the two family members converse openly throughout the story. Foreigners and natives are not allowed to speak at all in Cuba, and by conversing the two are leaving themselves at severe risk of being punished. These types of “little resistive fights” occur through the entirety of the story, one building to another.
Through resistance, the characters in this story develop an inner pride at not being the lapdogs of the Castro regime. Although not fighting to the degree of some people, such as the Mirabel sisters against Trujillo, Miguelito and his relative are certainly showing that they don’t agree with the laws. The quote about Miguelito’s pride when showing his crucifix showed a major example of what he gains from resistance; pride. This is also a major factor in what keeps citizens of countries like Cuba fighting, little moral victories that they can use to fuel bigger ones. In order for any resistive fight to be successful, a foundation of self pride must be constructed.
Despite the major positive that this story portrays about resistance, there are also many negative things that can come from it. The main one is fear. Everywhere the two walked they were followed by soldier weilding guns, mirroring their every step. When taking pictures of the soldiers they were threatened to let them know this would not be tolerated. The story also described another act that is sometimes perpatrated against resistors. An “Act of Repudiation” is performed when soldiers disguise arrests, beatings, and destruction of property as simple “progovernment demonstrations”. This act terrorizes onlookers and makes people think twice before going against government rule.
The events described above make Cuba a very tense place to live, and the text portrayed this immensely. The government, to this day, has prevented any overwhelmed form of resistance, causing the people to develop pride from minor displays. Although these acts seems small on the outside, they allow the Miguelito to build up a wall of freedom around him and keep his fight going. To this point in the writing, the regime’s acts of terror haven’t effected him. This allows him to parade the street as he does, displaying his crucifix and talking openly to his cousin.