10 06 2010

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

A terrible book is circulating in XXI century Havana. Terrible. Dark. It is one of those capitalist texts that surely forms part of the “Anti-Cuban media campaign.” It’s about SPECIAL OPERATIONS, the deadliest memories of Sudoplatov, an ex-Soviet spy who, during the whole of the Russian Revolution, razed everything to the ground, convinced he was doing GOOD on behalf of the world proletariat.

In fact, our man inspires pity, claiming innocence at the end of his literally bright red autobiography. Like millions of patriotic sons of bitches, Sudoplatov was only “obeying the orders of the high command.” So he was just a state-salaried executioner (an official as respectable as any other, scavenger that he is) and not an orthodox perpetrator of genocide. Ballad or blahblahblah of a soldier. Hooray for the magpies. Materialistic Manualito of sociocriminal realism. Lyric of the Lubyanka. Moscow, in fact, did not believe in tears and much less in blood.

I witnessed the Stalinist purges. I was responsible for the assassination of Trotsky. I got the secrets of the atomic bomb. I directed espionage during the Cold War. I poisoned prisoners in hospitals (preferably foreigners and hostages). But I also am, no one will forget, a victim of the time, so I should be immediately rehabilitated. End point of perhaps 666 pages (Apocalyse MADE IN CCCP).

And yet, SPECIAL OPERATIONS is not a complex testimony. Its simplicity is breathtaking. Call a spade a spade. And the fatherland, a fatherland. In fact, this is a proud story, pointillist in technicalities. Cold cooked slow, like every mission executed not by a fool, but rather by a professional of secret crime. And it is after all a travel book. Grazing for tourists titillated by the guillotine of absolute power.

From Mexico to Spain to the United States, Europe and a half to mid Moscow. Living by cutting. Sudoplatov is prolific in passports, but very terse in style. Sudoplatov is a fatal Grim Reaper (no one creates the story that he has already died of old, men and resurrected by scores in each complete revolution).

Recently Leonardo Padura has inadvertently fictionalized this book a little. His novel, The Man Who Loved Dogs, reconstructs the same 20th century of the supposed Great Patriotic War and the theoretical or theological confrontation between capitalism and communism.

But it seems there was none of that. The Cold War was no less false than the War of the Galaxies. There was, yes, much of Sudoplatov manipulating the elusive strings of reality. There were intolerant guys treacherously helter skelter. So were forged the steel and the other mortuary metals of the Periodic Table, whose unethical etymology indicates everything: per-hatred…

The literature of violence or the grotesque or the absurd or the cannibal or the splash or the gore or the dirty realism or the psychopath or the decadent, in any of its cult authors (or sect post), is of a laughable imagination next to this tome. The little intellectual evil next to this factual inferno. The morality of SPECIAL OPERATIONS can be no other than “jump in the time of porridge, little citizen, because, even though you take off for distance places, if the State wants you it can always get you.”

There is less time than life. Bravo, Sudoplatov. Without you, Russia is an orphan of another lasting and delusional Nobel Prize in Literature, or perhaps a posthumous winner of the Peace of the cemeteries. Don’t despair, litter of comrades, in another life it will be.




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