OLPL in “A New U.S.-Cuba Policy: Did Cuba Win?”

28 02 2015


Fifty-plus years of US diplomatic stalemate and economic sanctions have failed to bring freedom to the Cuban people because they were not designed to bring freedom to the Cuban people, but to penalize a regime that started by sequestering Cuban sovereignty by violent and anti-democratic procedures (reestablishment of death penalty, radical hatred speech, citizen apartheid), by the illegalization of civil society and all forms of property (both private and public, including the press), and by tyrannizing every institutional power into a despotic State, plus the militarization of the nation to the point of demanding a nuclear attack against the United States from Cuban territory.

The 50-plus years to come of US diplomatic relations and capitalist engagement with Cuba can neither guarantee the advance of fundamental freedoms in my country, nor our liberation from the successive Castro generations, because a market economy is not a redemptive formula and it has already been implemented by authoritarian systems as a tool for tyrannical control of all basic rights. And this is a wicked word that President Obama, Pope Francis and General Castro have secretly agreed to postpone: the rights of the Cuban people.

As the pro-democracy leader Oswaldo Payá stated many times until he was extrajudicially executed in Cuba on July 22nd 2012: Why not the recognition of all our rights now? What is good for Americans since the 18th century is still not good enough for Cubans in the 21st century?

Is this about US interference, as in the hegemonic past times when the capitol of DC was the capital of the continent? Or this is only about insulting the intellectual capacity of my people, wise enough to escape in a pedestrian’s plebiscite in search for a real “normalization” of their lives far from an abnormal socialism?

Democracies seem guilty of their duty to foster democracy worldwide, but Castroism has been more than proud to Castrify democratic countries (Venezuela is the most tragic example today), as the recently liberated 5 Cuban spies in US have declared when ordered as National Heroes back on the Island: we are ready to commit our crimes again if we are ordered to do so. Sic semper tyrannis.

Why not the effective solidarity and the pressure of the international community, so that the legal claims that have already mobilized tens of thousands of Cubans be respected by our non-elected authorities? Why not take advantage of these US-Cuba negotiations to seat in the same table the historical gerontocracy with the alternative civil leaders, after we have risked so much to conquer freedom of speech and to raise awareness on human rights violations and the anthropological damage in Cuba?

In moral terms, the unpopularity of US policies given the popularity of the Cuban Revolution worldwide should be less important than the unpopularity of the retrograde regime within the Island, if a true transition is to take place in Cuba today. Unless, of course, advancing American interests in the Western Hemisphere now means advancing American interests in Western Union.

Did Cuba win?

Cuba cannot win because perpetuation in power is always a failure and the best approach to endure a fossil past, despite the faith in the future expressed by Nancy Pelosi, as the US executive branch enforces resolution after resolution, involving exclusively those congressmen and NGOs and think-tanks and press magnates and corporations’ tycoons that hurry to shake Raul Castro’s hand without asking him a single uncomfortable question, thus legitimizing he who abolished the Cuban Congress and Cuban Chamber of Commerce and Cuban think-tanks and Cuban NGOs, as well as the exercise of free press. By the way, convenient Cuban dissidents are also called into play, not for the rule of law, but for the rule of loyalty.

The rationale seems to be that, as it is impossible to hold the Cuban government accountable, the appeasement of the dictatorship into a dictatorcracy is now the lesser evil, mentioning “Cuban civil society” only for political correctness in presidential speeches, while in fact excluding us from the new status quo.

I am not sure about “what everybody needs to know about Cuba” (as in Julia Sweig’s book) but I am certain of what nobody dares to know about Cuba. Milan Kundera, maybe the best of Cuban novelists who is a Czech who writes in French and lives in Switzerland (a perfect mixture for freedom), knew that “the old dead make way for the young dead” for “the struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting”.

Therefore, even if this is a small step for democracy, it’s also a giant leap against independency. And decency. The Cuban policy of the US is the ironic victory of The End of History: from our War against Spain to the anti-Imperialist Revolution, the growing “Common Marketization” of international relations is what really counts.

That’s why for the first time in the history of our hemiplegic hemisphere it’s paradoxically in a Communist country where the cry of “Yankees, come home” echoes. In fact, you are more than welcome to try to fool our terminal tyrant with US dollars. But having dwelt in the entrails of said terminal tyranny during never-ending decades, my only remaining resistance is a sour skepticism to soothe our soul.

(Original in English)





Music After The Death of Fidel

26 02 2015

A ROSE IN YOUR HAIR PERISHES Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

There aren’t enough of the stupid-ass songs. Because those same songs, the ones we joked stupid-assedly about in our rage-filled adolescence, are now the only thing left that allows us to know what we were, what we are, what we will be.

With those songs, we can forget about everything and everybody. It seems like we have it all if we have them, these jingles from our bad memory. And then we don’t feel that malady we carry that weighs us down, that ruins this life we have and can’t live.  Much less do confront destiny, that deviation that destabilizes us from despotism to despotism, and from corpse to corpse, without their ever sparking in our breast that semi-magical, semi-mendacious flame of love, always so hesitant.

A rose in your hair would be redundant. Not stars in the sky nor medals hanging from the neck would give off more light than that which illumines the nights on our long trek — which in the wind seems the accent of a musical voice sounding at the least movement of our body as we walk. This is the danger of rheumatic rhymes. They entwine themselves ridiculously around our heart until one day we realize that our blood pump is no more than that: a mortal wound that we endeavor to heal until now all we know is what we were not, what we are not, and what we will not be.

Today the YouTube dawn of the United States is tenuous, tender and so troubled that it knocks us down.  In that word millions and millions of us Cubans will perish here. Into a countryless grave we will enter without peace a number much greater than the statistics of the Island and of Exile, because each one will die multiple times the death of his memories, but without ever coming across Eternity.

Archaeology in the United States is also a digital discovery. We click on sound tunnels that hardly fit into the interactivity of an internet navigator. They and we are hollow echoes, echoes of bones. We reproduce those miracles of bits and their intact state of preservation is incredible after having been abandoned so long after the stampede. In our escape we have spinelessly left behind the music, fossilized notes confiscated by the dictator’s delirious marshalls and his hymns at the level of history (the level history).

However, it was not the Tyrant of Pentagrams, but rather ourselves, the ones without history, who sacrificed the sonorous band of our biographies under the resentful boot of the Revolution. This is why God, who supposedly was mysterious music for the sicknesses of the soul, such as love, took revenge on us by inflicting an atrocious amnesia, with an emotional arrhythmia that makes us cry like stupid-asses at the first chords of decrepit songs from our other life.

The United States, for Cubans, are the silent states of the spirit of that other nation, so stuffed with bad verses, dreadful versifiers, decadent melodies, as is right for a real life that has made us more implausible with each new performance of those fossilized clips recorded in another Cuba just a few decades ago.

Exile is this: the betrayal of the eardrum. Totalitarianism never dreamed of converting us to socialism, but rather to deafness. He who does not hear gives his consent by not speaking. And the more we desire it amidst the decency of any country lost in common, the less we hear ourselves now among Cubans.

Oh, Love, a rose in your hair doesn’t even know what it looks like.

Translated by Alicia Barraqué Ellison

12 January 2015





Alan GGross

24 01 2015

The Silence of Alan Gross

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

We live not in the civilization of media, but of the mediocre. And from there directly we inhabit the miserable.

Cubans desperately need witnesses to our tragedy. In the absence of politicians on the Island, we pin our hopes on any alternative voice: bloggers, musicians, graffiti artists, performers, etc.

Just recently a supposed North American hostage has been released. Alan Gross completed his role in the democratic-totalitarian theater of legitimization of the Castro dictatorship. He is now free, but he remains stuck in the labyrinth of his lawyers and the six-figure compensation with which they have invited him to recuperate and remain reticent. In the United States, he will not for one moment stop being a true hostage.

Cubans therefore ask why Alan Gross does not speak to us. Does he not feel shame for his irresponsibility towards our nation? He has not asked for forgiveness–that is, if he were to consider himself guilty. Nor has he accused his olive-green tormentors who, according to him, drove him to the point of suicide and stole five of the possibly fewer years of life he will now enjoy in liberty.

Alan Gross was another of our sterile hopes for drawing attention to the criminal cruelty that hangs over every Cuban. But he has come out–along with his unhinged gaze–determined not to expend even one drop of saliva on the Revolution. He is the “sixth hero”* of this complicit comedy of trade and trickery. And he has no problem with the G-2.

Thus is perpetuated the impunity of the 56-year-old regime imposed upon Cuba by a gerontocracy and by millions of North Americans–and soon, by the “millions” of the North Americans. Except for the Cubans–including the agents of influence and the spies–socialism is loved in America. This is consummate statistics. And the month of muteness of Alan Gross is one of its most sensational symptoms.

Why does he keep silent, and what is he silencing, our USAID contractor in Havana? How was his trial behind closed doors? Was he tortured physically and verbally?   What are the repressive buildings like inside, where he was disappeared even from his biography? With whom would Alan Gross speak in Cuba, and what did he know of the world during his time on the scaffold in unreal time? While in Cuba was he threatened with death or the death of his family if he did not cooperate? And, now, in the United States, what is the retaining wall that keeps him betraying us, while saving the very regime that destroyed him?

The meat grinder will not cease even when the Castro regime falls. There is no justice that can withstand such violence and vileness which were inculcated in us, between paternalism and panic. The world will never be as scared of the Castros as we are, their executors who in turn will be executed. Among the people there are too many Alan Grosses.

*Translator’s Note: The five Cuban spies who were serving prison terms in the US and were released in December, 2014, are labeled in Cuban government propaganda as “The Five Heroes.”

 Translated by Alicia Barraqué Ellison

13 January 2015





Today: Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo at Northwestern University for a Free Cuba, Damn It!

18 01 2015
"Get out of Cuba TYRANT" / This island is MINE"

“Get out of Cuba TYRANT” / This island is mine”

Tempting the Cuban Transition

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

FOLLOW THIS EVENT ONLINE HERE

Since December 17th, when President Obama and General Raul Castro performed their simultaneous speeches, many Americans insist on congratulating me. I wonder why no Cuban has congratulated me so far, and why I still haven’t congratulated any other Cuban, whether in favor or against the US embargo against our country, whether on the Island or in exile.

I always respond to my foreign colleagues with a twisted-smiling emoticon. As a writer, I’m aware that language is not enough when feelings and facts seem altogether indistinguishable.

Let’s try now an answer from the viewpoint of digital dissidence, from the initial skepticism about the Cuban alternative blogosphere to the enthusiasm of today about the achievements of cyber-activists on the Island. So that tomorrow’s disappointment doesn’t take us by surprise.

Let me start by recalling that many people think that Cubans have already waited for democracy for so long, that we could wait for just a little longer. President Obama, with his historical speech for the “normalization” of US-Cuba relations, is also legitimizing a non-normal government that has never consulted my people about our rights to live in truth and liberty.

Obama’s military counterpart, Raul Castro, successor by blood of his brother Fidel, didn’t grant a single demand of our civil society, recently best represented through peaceful cyber-activism. The octogenarian made obvious that communism with the surplus value of State capitalism was the model to be imposed to all Cubans, whose civic leaders were left out during the secret negotiations between power elites. If many pro-democracy activists feel betrayed it is because blogging on the Island was struggling precisely for citizens’ voices to be taken into account, and to hold accountable our personalistic regime. But transparency, like heaven, can wait.

Rafael Rojas, a renowned Cuban essayist summarizes this in his book The Art of Waiting. Oswaldo Payá, founder of the Christian Liberation Movement on the island, called this self-transition a Fraudulent Change. Rojas is forbidden to live in his country. Payá, who collected more than 25,000 signatures in order to constitutionally democratize our society, like Polish priest Popiełuszko in the mid-80s, was assassinated in July 2012 after a car crash provoked by the secret police.

The Obama administration is not willing to mention deadly details like this in his New Deal with Cuba, designed so that the Revolution mutates in the Chinese way from dictatorship to dictatocracy. The White House seeks to make profits before other competing nations invest in the Island, as well as to prevent social unrest that could end in a migratory stampede towards South Florida. Since 1959, the Castros have always been using such a “human missile” crisis to negotiate with the US.

The struggle of civil resistance in Cuba is as long as the Revolution itself, which has abolished all kind of dissent. That’s why our nation is split apart, with 20% of our population residing elsewhere, in a kind of pedestrian’s plebiscite in which we Cubans say farewell to our proletarian paradise.

During the last years a small group of critical bloggers have been reporting insights behind the Cuban Curtain, most of them available at the websites VocesCubanas.com, HavanaTimes.org, and translated to English by the volunteer project TranslatingCuba.com.

Several of these independent communicators, like Yoani Sanchez —the blogger of Generation Y— have received international awards and, after the migratory reform that abolished the exit permit that turned all Cubans into hostages, many have been invited to forums that empower our impact on global public opinion, making more visible the cause of denouncing human rights violations, but also raising awareness about the complexities of day-to-day life in such a closed society, where marginalization and corruption have replaced ideology by inertia, discipline by deception, and ethics by extortion, with an anthropological damage that it will take generations to heal.

Cuban bloggers are usually not members of any opposition organizations, all of which are illegal under the rule of one political party, one press, one worker’s union, one non independent judicial and legislative system. But bloggers have helped many opposition leaders and political prisoners to reshape their communication strategy, by teaching them —in independent projects like the Blogger Academy and Festival Click— how to use social networks under the restrictive conditions of Cuba; a country that still offers no public internet service, despite the fiber optic cable that connects us with Venezuela. Although Obama has offered to let American communication companies to provide internet to the Island, Castro has declined because of national security concerns. So we are still waiting for the lifting of this other embargo of the Cuban government against the Cuban people.

Besides censorship, interrogations, threats, public repudiation, arrests, and job dismissal against independent bloggers, the Ministry of the Interior has created an official blogosphere that now outnumbers the critical voices of Cuban cyberspace. They connect to the internet in their workplaces and mainly from the infamous University of Information Sciences, where the ironically-called Operation Truth searches the web to counteract any inconvenient tendency, by distorting forums and even by digital bullying. Thus, the belligerency of the Revolution has been copy-and-pasted into the virtual space. This is why Cuba is rated as an “internet predator” by the NGOs committed to freedom of expression, like Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Given this harassment, some Cuban bloggers have ceased posting in their websites so as not to bring more difficulties to their family life. Others still publish but prefer not to be involved in confrontational events, like the photo-documentary contest “Pixel Country” or the filmed community debates “Estado de Sats” . Still others have committed exile . The majority of this civil minority keeps on organizing new initiatives like the free-lance 14yMedio.com for citizen journalism. The more fragile we become, the greater our certainty that we owe a more inclusive society to future generations. But without international solidarity we are helpless . The time to stop 21st century totalitarianisms is none other than today.

Castroism, with its dynastic style, is trying not to disappear with the original Castros and a 2.0 generation is already in position: Mariela Castro (now Deputy in the National Assembly) and Alejandro Castro (a high-ranked intelligence officer: our tropical version of Vladimir Putin). The successful marketing campaign of The Cuban Revolution is being reloaded. For example, questioning the Cuban establishment in US academies, sometimes is considered as non-progressive . At the same time, official bloggers are being authorized by the government to get training and fellowships in America, and then go back to Cuba as think tanks of our status quo.

The US Chamber of Commerce and Cuban American millionaires are eager not to be excluded from the investment schedule, despite that foreign companies can only pay their workers through monopolistic State enterprises, which retain most of their salaries. While Cuban army professionals are mutating from military to managers, in order to run our half-Marxist and half-market economy.

I’m not the spokesperson  of disenchantment, since I still trust in a Cuba with respect for universal values like life, mercy, beauty, truth and liberty —the most natural and yet so difficult to attain in times of tyranny. The responsibility of every free man and woman of the world is to stand with the Cuban people who deserve not to wait any longer for our free nation.





Look at Me, Miami and, If You Value Your Death, Don’t Cry

18 01 2015

Alan Gross, like every North American who comes in contact with the Castro regime and defends it even from within a captivity of little lies — attacking his own government with million-dollar demands — is a bad man. Gross’s little suicide threats, his lack of solidarity with Cubans in exile and civil society on the Island, his backward religiosity of psalms and miracle-mongering, his complicit silence as to the assassinations committed by the Castro regime while he was supposedly in prison, his lawyer subsidized by Havana, his support of the lifting of an embargo that had not appeared to be his concern when he was contracted by USAID, his servile flattery of President Obama, his admiring loyalty to the sacrosanct balls of Raúl, his suspicious loss of dentition at the record pace of one tooth per year, his (and his wife’s) insipid leftist pose, in short, what a fossil, what fealty, what Submerged States of Fidelity…

Meanwhile, the triumphal return to the Island of the 5 deadly spies, with their muscles worthy of hand-to-hand combat, their vacant stares of those who know themselves to be puppets of a dismal power that can pulverize them at any time, with their exaggerated dentitions, surrounded by a people who for decades have not been even plebes, a perverse and impoverished populace, terrified in their fear that swings from meanness to mediocrity, jabbering with the neighbors in a language that we free Cubans do not know because it is a jargon of the stable, of the State.

My Fellow Cubans, let us not kid ourselves. The stupidity of our country can be reined-in by taking advantage of this umpteenth criminal juncture in our history. We will never live in liberty. The Earth is cursed against our volatile beauty. The race that inhabits the Island is infected and cannot be decontaminated. The lucid ones, the virtuous ones, escape without ever looking over their shoulders, or else they will pay the brave price of being martyrs killed in cold blood, like the holy souls Laura Pollán and Oswaldo Payá.

The stampede cannot be stopped now in Miami. It is too late for us to remain so close to evil. We must run away, further and further to the north of the world. Throughout generations upon generations, the Castroites have become millionaires in South Florida. Castroism is the factual and media-conscious law in the Cuban exile community. It is the majority. The Cuban-American sensibility in itself is an insular invention: with that nostalgia bent-over and submissive to a frigid Fidelism, with that vernacular that sounds taken out of Google Talk, with those gold trinkets of 19.59 carats and eyebrows groomed to delirium. Please.

The legislators of Florida count for nothing. What does rule is the corrupting power of the mafias that Fidel has institutionalized in Miami, from the church to the academy, from the marinas to the slaughterhouses, from the swamp to the cane field, from the airport to its horrendous museums and mausoleums, with their fairs and their colleges and their constant kitsch, from the restaurants to the Revolution itself.

Miami has made its best effort, but today Miami is millions of Alan Grosses and Five Heroes. Forget all that about them being spies, My Brothers and Sisters. Miami is the pure heroism of unpunished horror. The Battle of Florida was lost. Not even Castro won. Miami won, which reproduced and grounded a kind of Castroism little by little during decadent decades. Take a look in the malls, My Poor People–take those little checkered shirts that are sold in bulk off their hangers. You’ll see the labels of Cuban State Security, My Poor Love. The tackiness and the vulgarity. It’s the dirty trick somewhere between magic and secretiveness. As in Cuba, there is not even one word said by Cubans that isn’t false. Castroism is that: the outer shell of Cubanness, its disposability, its hahaha.

My Fellow Cubans, it is time to recognize that not only do we not want changes in our nation, but that we abundantly want to never again have a nation. The experience of having been subjects of the Kingdom of Death is irreparable. Now we will all die very alone, somnolent in a peevish rhetoric that debases us. We deserve to remain dead for the rest of our lifeless biographies.

Nobody is sadder than we. Nobody is more “We” than I.

Translated by Alicia Barraqué Ellison

18 December 2014





Macho Che / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

12 01 2015

Che’s Beatle Girlfriend

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

No doubt her name was Una. Or Agatha. Or Lil. Or Ide. O Brighid. Or Sinead. Or Nora. Or Tilde. Or perhaps Alaidh or Hilde. Any one of those Irish names reminiscent of other names whose etymology is tirelessly, anxiously, apocryphally Anglo.

For a native of civilized America—meaning, uncultured—her name, her names, is, are no more than hieroglyphics without an etymology, all just sounds twisted up in Barbie’s chin and the proper palate of the Irish girl named: Una, Agatha, Lil, Ide, Brighid, Sinead, Nora, Tilde or perhaps Alaidh or Hilde or all of them in one.

In any case, she’s always wearing that inert object over her head, which on camera rivaled a wet beret like his, like Che’s, in 1964. And since Ernesto Guevara is missing his emblematic beret during an interview translated by an interpreter—she literally interpreted, as in performed, his role—we can assume that Che had just placed his beret on her, like a bonnet on her hair, a colonel’s crown, the aura of a magical capture in order to allure her with his New Man smile, his big Cantinflas*-style mustache, the comically tender answers of a magnanimous conquistador. Such is the complicit tenderness of assassins and suicide victims.

Una, Agatha, Lil, Ide, Brighid, Sinead, Nora, Tilde or perhaps Alaidhilde, sometimes looks like a pioneer. If Che laughs, she is happy and confuses that laughter with her own. The professional journalist that hired her is suddenly a nuisance in this scene of seduction.  That’s why the introverted Irishman is, in fact, treated like an idiot by Che and the girl: both answer his professional questions with mutual, intimate irony; they elude high politics and exchange practically pornographic codes on the fringes of power.

The UN, for example, is much less important here than Una, Agatha, Lil, Ide, Brighid, Sinead, Nora, Tilde or perhaps Alaidhilde. The girl addresses Che with feminine adjectives: she plays with tongue twisters perhaps to provoke him in his manliness. She pretends that she doesn’t know how to pronounce properly, that she will need to be punished in private for having behaved so badly in public.  And who better to castigate her than a castigator. And who better to violate her golden vagina than an executioner dressed in olive green.

It’s obvious that the end of this interview will be an irresistible, ridiculous, anti-biographical and extra-diegetic scene like all fornication between strangers, where Ernesto Guevara (the lighthouse of America back then), wielding his phallus of dubious hygiene in the warm air of the furnace; and in his English (which is better than he lets on), he invites Una, Agatha, Lil, Ide, Brighid, Sinead, Nora, Tilde or perhaps Alaidhilde to do the splits in a hotel room paid for by some Cuban administration in Revolution.

It’s also obvious that Una, Agatha, Lil, Ide, Brighid, Sinead, Nora, Tilde or perhaps Alaidhilde will go and she will open her pelvis and, without removing her clothes, sit atop the hero of horror. She’s not even 20 years old. She is—was—a virgin, although during her nights of childish terrorism she dreamed about being a guerrilla fighter, a decade before this phase of guerrillas and electric guitars. Now she prefers to dance to the Beatles, in spite of herself.  And that music inspires this adventure of bleeding to the point of concern between her first world thighs; and, of course, that female smell of iron is the only thing that actually excites the star commander with asthma: the blood inspires and saves this executioner, who in turn will be executed almost as young as he was in that 1964 interview in an Ireland that is unrecognizable and irreconcilable from an Irish woman’s crotch.

There’s a word she’s trying to say, but it trips on her tongue. The “twist and shout” rich girl shakes while straddling and scratches her vocal chords between her paycheck and her illusion of freedom slogans. Then Che corrects her. It’s one of those words that, from being repeated so many times, have not one but infinite etymologies: and one absolute, totalitarian meaning. The interviewer says, “government.” The interpreter stutters: “govermiento.” The interviewed censures: “gobierno.”

It’s a kind of tournament trio of word-zap, of war-zap. And the video is cut off immediately after.

Today there is no other visible trace of this interview anywhere on the Internet. It’s possible that it was never published in any newspaper or on T.V. It’s even possible that the whole thing is a montage from before or after the digital age. There was no dialogue, but rather delirium: desire that always tidies up. There is also no historical evidence that Ernesto Guevara ever loved another human being the same way—and one can tell from his homicidal, homagno** eyes on camera (more than in bed)—that he loved his Beatles maniac interpreter.

So this unmarred image must have been the only one presentable not long after that, in Che’s interview with God.

Translator’s notes:

*Cantinflas (1911-1993) was a comedic film actor (writer and producer) from Mexico who usually sported a unique mustache.

 **Homagno, a neologism, is the name of a poem and a “character” representing “man’s greatness” (homo/man + magno/magnitude) in this and at least two other poems by José Martí.

 Translated by: Kathy Fox and Alicia Barraqué Ellison





Without Cuba / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

12 01 2015

mi amor

When did we disappear while a nation? When did Cuba stop being one? Or perhaps it never fully was one?

Nations are human inventions, impulses of our historical imagination. Cuba was the story that we told ourselves. A chronic story and, therefore, unbelievably believable.

We never had any democrats. The Republic’s great milestones are nothing more than frauds, ruses of worldwide communism in order to gain time and corrupt the remains of the social fabric in our country.

Bullets, bills, the opportunist who lives off of the fool, anything is worth more in Cuba than ballots. We are compulsive demagogues, even if we’ve had saints and sages and virtue. But we were lacking fascism, that experience which Cuba might have joined in on if it hadn’t been aborted by the leftist Revolution of 1933. Then it was necessary to wait until 1959 to be able to consummate our congenital totalitarian defect: a fascism from the right with a popular narrative.

Now Fidel Castro has died. His remains have been cremated before being presented in public. And his ashes will be dispersed from the Rio Bravo to Patagonia, assuring along the way that they are not vandalized out of revenge or as a malicious amulet. Writing without Fidel in the world and knowing this is, for me, a defining, prophetic experience, something millions of Cubans no longer planned to live to tell.

January 28th or February 24th or April 17th: the liberating announcement that we Cubans will never again hear the soap opera-like voice of Fidel Castro has the regime of his illegitimate brother, Raul, terrified. Like all assassins, Castroism is a state of cowardice in the midst of his insulting impunity. Families readjust. They know blood is the way out. And they are making sure it will not be theirs that flows. In this sense, they have promoted a modest pacifism of opposition that will keep them in power.

They will probably never announce that the Commander in Chief is a cadaver. This insolent silence will probably be stretched out to the end of time by Island authorities as the only source of governance. North American newspapers are also updating their obituary notes from 10 and 15 years ago. But it will be the least read text in the world, the least current. Because we Cubans are ahead of the world in the craft of leaving Fidel Castro’s imprint behind, just as in the heart of each of us a decrepit dictator has evolved, amounting to millions of miniature fidelcastros no less lethal than the original.

When did the nation disappear? When did Cuba stop being Cuba? Or perhaps it never completely stopped being Cuba?

We only know that, while we are Cubans, we have to distance ourselves from Cubans to the maximum. We are a universe in expansion, we repulse one another. The proximity to ourselves brings out the worst in the populace. The island can’t be reforested. The desert of the soul made a desert of the landscape. I come from there: I can swear to you that today none of you will survive even half a day of “Havanity” [Havana reality]. And tomorrow will be much worse.

Getting lost is beautiful. The amnesic memory is beautiful. What we loved and what loved us emigrated with us. Let’s be worthy of that love that will not be repeated. Let’s be different in the lives of other nations. And, in some of the early hours of the universal moon, let’s allow that love or sorrow to assassinate us completely, hopefully before the state assassin on duty does so.

Cuba will never be free. Maybe Cubans still can be.

Translated by: Kathy Fox

5 January 2015








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