29 11 2012

Brothers and Sisters,

Our (yours, mine and everyone’s) freelance magazine VOICES 17 will be launched this Friday the 30th at 7pm in Havana.

Everyone is VERY welcome to attend!

In its two years of life, VOICES depends on you as readers and authors to live. To keep from dying of loneliness in the midst of this deconcentration camp that Cuba is now. To breathe an imaginary gap of the future that may never come, but that was not less real in hears with free and beautiful people.

In the sidebar of this blog you will see all the previous issues with a link to read and download the PDFs for free.

Thank you for millions and more!

Call me on my cell phone still inside this little Isla to tell you the secrets of VOICES 17…
…at +53-53340187

Translator’s note: Orlando speaks excellent English (perhaps even better than yours or mine!)… go ahead… call him!

November 29 2012


28 11 2012




Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Every November I write this same column. Without noticing it, without paying attention, without needing to parody or plagiarize myself.

November looms and frightens. The days are short, the sun kinder than ever in Cuba. The gray begins to beautifully color the garish and flat tones of our reality. The island looks a little bit more Nordic, less despotic and more democratic. Cubislandia, Habaneijavick.

I think, of course, of Eslinda Nunez of late 1971, the year I was born. Her black hair so black, almost digitally blue before the digital age: sprays of liquid light cascading over her disconsolate eyes in the foreground of the screen. Her waist, tiny. Her hypermobile ballerina voluptuousness. Her hands of an abandoned bird in a Havana pocket park between death and love. Her seriousness to kiss, her willingness to make love without falling in a common place. Her wonder, her miracle.

I’m speaking about a musical filmed by Humberto Solas and composed by Leo Brouwer: One day in November, a work very few in Cuba have seen and even fewer remember (a movie betrayed even by the interviews that ignore its director). I’m speaking, too, of all the successive Novembers that came while the anachronistic time of the Revolution dilated, until, of course, we arrived in that of 2012, when there is nobody left alive in Cuba, but the miracle and wonder again sprout with an atrocious voracity, of life that buds in winter, if only in the case of a girl on stage for half a month, or half a year, before jumping into the empty garden beyond.

I try and I try, but not even I can avoid living life to the full in November. I become friendly, adorable, and see things with total transparency, terrifying. Like the gaze of a messiah, who borrows the binoculars of an angel or of God himself. And I hope I am not committing a heresy with this. The truth of the soul should never constitute a heresy in the face of the Superior Being.

We are already at the 27th and for me it’s like the beginning of the month. My birthday is coming, on December 10. 2013 is approaching and very soon it will turn into summer, perhaps in March or April. It’s now or now. I am determined, I want to be me. I want to return the mutilated smile of Eslinda Núñez of 2012. I want to dare to break the traps of whatever era and walk hand in hand down the avenues of this city with H (a mute, deadly letter). I want freedom not to be a right to demand, but an eternal state of mind.

Ecclesiastes lies from A to Z. Or maybe not, but almost. There will be nothing new under the sun, it is true. But under the November moon even the ruins shine like new. There is nothing old under the sky of this only night. It is useless trying not to love you now. I do not even remember the name of my city and country. Cubislandia? Habaneijavick?

November 27 2012


18 11 2012



November 15 2012


18 11 2012

Translator’s note: The collaborators and supports of Antonio Rodiles and Estado de SATS have decided to hold an Estado de SATS every evening at 6:00 PM as long as Antonio is in jail, to demonstrate that the arrest of one man cannot shut down the project. Our apologies for not having a subtitled version — readers are encouraged to contribute to preparing one… the first step is to make a transcript in Spanish and email it to TranslatingCuba – at – gmail.com. THANK YOU! (Or feel free to translate it and subtitle it and send us a link to the subtitled video!)

November 16 2012


15 11 2012

Room N. N for Nothing, Nobody, None.

I am writing in the suburban night in the Surgical-Clinic of 26th Street, next to Sports City, the flying saucer blocked by the architecture of the hospital itself.

The view, the crown of lights of the Plaza of the Revolution. From the third floor, passing in slow motion the buses and the sirens of the cop cars and the ambulances. There are ancestral trees. Crowns as the crow flies. And humidity, warm and stimulating to be seated in an armchair typing.

This I do. I am a witness. From the balcony the night is new, first-world, habitable. A night of post-socialist freedom. A night of uchronic beauty, anachronistic. A night where I remember all the people I loved, whom I will love until the end of eternity. From this free MINSAP* dive, making me want to be immortal in Havana, to live reversibly, to survive death in this time and place and, of course, never to tell. Because it would be criminal to contaminate those still unborn.

My uncle. It is not the first time I write of these atavistic uncles who suddenly fell into bed and there is no cure, caguairanes** of a communism today already without communists, the woodwork of a Marxist materialism that, before the fly-plagued pain of Bed 12, now means absolutely nothing, nobody, none. Room N of the Revolution.

His name is Felix, but we always called him Kin (as a child I would write it with an M), I suppose for some lost play on words. The spine, it seemed at first, exploded into a thousand shards of pain. A collapsed vertebra, osteoporosis and other palliatives against the worst. Then, the diagnosis put aside all benign traces . A diagnosis whispered drop by drop from week to week, to deceive like a child our patient of 80 years, according to the added tests and tests that must be resolved within and outside the hospital.

This is not the first time I spent the night here. I saw an error committed with the injections by an almost teenage nurse, that in a miracle could be fixed when the reaction of the affected seemed already irreversible, tachycardia and tremor (afterwards seeing the cover up among colleagues to justify it in the medical record). I saw a dying father hit his already adult daughter in the face, in the midst of terminal delirium, reflecting between fits that he had always been healthy. I saw the baths, no matter how hard they tried, always infected with odors (urine and blood, and little turds unsinkable for days). I saw, and I see again tonight, old men abandoned by their families, alone at least in the dark hours of the night, depending on the charity of the rest of the patients and their families (just now they look at me as if hoping to see me type stains of sense on the screen, the last light to turn off in this cubicle).

Sometimes I look out into the hallway. I see the vents with white steam of the Sterilization Department, I guess. There is a sign that says Nephrology. Some windows are missing (not as many as in other wards of this city) and I glimpse silhouettes lying in the distance, perhaps very serious patients who, I don’t know why, look to me like women. I am this, an eavesdropper in the midst of the most terrible intimacy of others.

There are cats of the roofs of the lower level, some plump beasts who depend on the food waste thrown from every floor of the hospital, sacks that burst with a greasy sound. Here I never eat or drink or use the bathroom, fearful of contracting a certain kind of susceptibility that then would force me to be admitted. The bulbs in the park are yellow-orange and give the building a dark splendor. It’s beautiful. It’s nice to watch this spectacle of the debacle, imagining that one is never tapped to be a victim, that we are safe from that.

Time moves slowly, but not too much so. With a little glass of warm milk, the canon sounds on the horizon and the doors of the room close (so as not to attract death in these hours when there are no doctors anywhere). After the usual Cuban brawls between personnel and patients the silence becomes sepulchral, barely heard apocryphal moans from under the sheets. The muteness of midnight. The gratefulness. It’s an inevitable omen, of the posthumous peace that so much martyrdom will first cost my uncle. The neon lights go off over my head and then it cools down still further.

I read a Pole, Adam Zagajewski, and his precious political prose. I drink of these atrocities in the heart of western civilization. His book oozes compassion for the human being. I want to imitate him when my time comes. I would like to be a noble European writer and not this trapped Cuban who still can’t get free.

Years ago my uncle (maternal) and my father discussed the guilt of Fidel, in a little house in Lawton during our family lunches at the end of the week (technically, the end of history). I was on the side of both of them, but not of Fidel, so ubiquitously abusive. My father was much more intelligent and cynical (which made me proud, but I was sad for Kin) and perhaps because of this he died first, sarcastically one August 13th*** (by merciful, painless, metastasis), that opprobrious Sunday of the years zero and two thousand. So, the dispute was truncated between the ballsy peasant communist and the cowardly liberal functionary. Long-lived men, both of them, who lived difficult lives in different ways. Antipodes. Now, fate seems to want to erase with a single broom the other two legs of the discussion: Felix and Fidel.

A bitter Cuban broom. How many nights like this do I wait, between sounds and moans and retching, between my memory and this secret manipulation. How many friends and lovers have I betrayed along the way, pretending not to notice that the truth is vile? Is that why nobody calls  to feel sorry for me now? Perhaps I am safe from State Security in this bunker of boredom? My Adamic writing in Zagajekski style will have its Genesis this September? Orlando Luis, 1:1.

I hear the vicissitudes of civic activism by text message, chains of mass messages. Prisoners for pleasure, acts of repudiation, unlikely charges, wholesale proclamations, condemnations that make a joke of the same court that issued them, hunger strikes with reporters, accidents of convenience, new generations of brilliant people squandered while I lose sleep here. Shielded by the tap-tap of my laptop. At the margin of Good and Evil. Lost, like the beginning of the world. Like before the first line and the charitable view of Havana. Like after the last that I demonically dare to write.

Translator’s notes:
*MINSAP – Ministry of Public Health
**Caguairán is a tree known for its longevity and strength, and is one of the terms Fidel Castro’s acolytes use to refer to him.
*** August 13th is Fidel Castro’s birthday

September 22 2012


15 11 2012


As part of the un-secular Cuban Holocaust, the un-inhabitants of this city continue to kick life to the curb, abandoning newborn beings in a corner of the city, separating children from mothers with gratuitous violence, out of sheer malice or revenge perhaps for half a century an absolute State which violated us in turn.

I’m talking, of course, and for the nineteenththousandthninehundredandninetyninth time of newborn kittens that we starve to death in Havana. That is our revenge against the Revolution. Exile or death. In the end, most of these mewling creatures I kill, collecting them without exception and trying to give them good  diluted milk, to cure their infected eyes, to give them a warm can or at least a warm look, and to wash the pee they urinate and the poop they make (in imitation of their mother’s tongue).

Of course here in Cuba death is not accidental. It is death of the Maximum Leader we somehow exorcise by killing thousands of innocent creatures (not counting the hundreds of murders that we happily cause in every concert or assault). Cuba as a morgue.

This time it’s true. The official comments no longer manage, nor will any denial or official photo of Fidel alive counteract the avalanche. Mausoleums are repaired and the military personnel removed. The ordinary people not even aware (I’m no ordinary Cuban, I am a Cuban prick).

The pixels of the Commander culminated in the best way possible, receiving the apostate blessing last March of Benedict XVI, who came to the island to incarcerate for days (and weeks, and months) countless Cubans, including me, and to initial, along with Jaime Ortega, the death always promised and long delayed for Oswaldo Paya.

The phrases of the former president, however, had better luck than his biology. He continued writing until mid-2012, and the demagogic realism ad usum became a grammarian surrealism of exception, with short circuits of meaning worthy of the avant-garde author he never was.

Now a cosmic cycle ends and with him the Castrozoical era of our small and perverse country. We kill animals at close range. At the same time we prepare the Great Collection of Theatrical Effects Transition. We take the measure of the mercy of the people and Counterintelligence specialists find that the level of piety is zero. Less than zero. From the Mourner in Chief we can move smoothly to the Holocaust of the Opposition. The ALBA of our new multinational country does not deserve to be born with spots on its uncivil citizenry.

I end up watching the last kittens die, the two I had collected from an area of embassies. Two little females. Black. Beautiful. Impoverished. Their eyes finally opened, always containing the stony pus of infection. Their bellies inflated by the lack of intestinal movement. Trembling with hypothermia despite the light bulbs and rags. In a drawer with the paper treasures of my unpublished work that never will be, like loving donations of the counterrevolution.

They weren’t given time to survive. They wouldn’t give it to us.

October 12 2012



15 11 2012


The only time I left Cuba I went to the International Book Fair in Guadalajara, Jalisco, in November-December 2002. There Mexico gave me a disheartening lesson. In Cuba, as we all knew already, we were heading towards a police state capitalism. But in Mexico I had a surprise that my restless imagination had never imagined: in Mexico, the Cuban Revolution was given daily laurels, was a living legacy, tangible theory, rhetoric of redemption.

Like a totalitarian time machine, I saw the leftist hysteria of crowds of teenagers with the most outdated songs of Silvio Rodriguez (even he wouldn’t dare to hum them in Cuba). Even the hotel’s porters tossed praised for Fidel my way. Families received me with admiration in their home (they gave me money to buy my bad books out of pity: I was always a mercenary). In restaurants they tended not charge me for the best dishes for the privilege of being a Cuban in Cuba and not a little shit in Miami. Not being one, I felt like an ambassador: or at least mayor in a city where I had gone out without much work.

I even experienced an act of repudiation lived 2002 book fair when at the presentation of the magazine Letras Libres — Free Words — there was an invasion of shit-eating choirs and, thus, a little university troop paid from Havana (perhaps by the local Reds) fratricidal boycotting the event of the Reds of universal range who would be its presenter.

Of course, there are many more examples, including assassinations, that my poor biography recalls firsthand. Now, the rapid spy brigades when and crucified a mafia threat at the door of a Cuban family who lived between Mexico City — known as the Federal District, Distrito Federal in Spanish or “DF” — and Havana (the DF, as indicated by its initials, is also “De Fidel”… of Fidel). Nailing posters: in this we are profitable in the midst of our material misery. They’ve made so very many on the Island, and now it was the terrible turn of a family of beautiful and loyal people, whose cardinal sin is to think aloud in their own words. A family whose original sin is perhaps to prefer the dark poets before the socialist sun of this nation of coercion. A free family whose beauty has vilely attracted death.

Our agents are specialists in intimidation and swindling. In undermining the body from inside  (with panic or carcinogens, they don’t care): perhaps that’s why it is essential to spend millions and millions on a Ministry of the Interior. We kicked out the truth. Bricked off future desires lock stock and barrel. Hence the  obscene hatred that removes the unnamed generals when a foreign publisher like Cal y Arena launches book of stories such as Tailwind, by Eliseo Alberto — whom we called “Lichi” — (1951-2011).

They never forgave Lichi, his uncomfortable report of the end of another century and millennium (the last of the Revolution, except in Mexico). His spiral of betrayal continues today post-mortem, despite giving up those little entry permits to his own country, despite tolerating sacred ashes on a bridge about to collapse, despite reluctantly seeking a kidney by way of MINSAP, despite the pats on the mane of the former Culture Minister Abel Prieto (now civil presidential candidate of the military junta in this atrocious self-transition). This we all know.

They filmed a movie that unfortunately forecast to be bad, after editing that novel to make it palatable to power. Lichi everywhere. And at the same time they massacre the mental health of their descendents. Letting them know that the Cuban chains are perpetual far beyond death. The eye at the tip of the pyramid of Plazatl has ever more criminals in the pay of the utopia. To live for one’s country is to die. May the heart eaten by the bearded ones now beardless on the sacrificial stone of stone of barbarism, whether you like it or not.

I read the news with tears. Of mercy. I’m a madman. In Mexico they had put a bullet in my ass and in the dick of the faggot blogger. That is globalized jargon coming your way very soon. And it will sell. They will take revenge on the nonconformists, the very few still don’t wear uniforms. On Lichi, on me and on everyone.

I reread this column with tears. With no mercy.

September 16 2012

Laura Pollan, We Will Love You Forever, Dear @DamasDBlanco…

15 11 2012

Dear Laura Pollan, Lady in White, a year without you. A year of sobremuerte* for the Revolution.

*Translator’s note: Sobremuerte — “over-death” — is a play on the word sobrevivencia, literally “over-life”, i.e. survival.

October 13 2012

Angel Santiesteban Released and We Convinced Antonio Rodiles’ Elderly Father to Abandon His Protest

11 11 2012

November 11 2012

URGENT: Manuel, Antonio Rodiles’ Father, is on Hunger Strike Outside the Acosta Police Station (53)-53233726

11 11 2012

URGENT, DESPERATE SITUATION IN CUBA: The elderly infirm Manuel Rodiles Planas, father of Antonio G. Rodilies, has just DECLARED HIMSELF ON HUNGER STRIKE outside the Acosta station, accompanied only by Ailer Gonzalez Mena (Art Director and partner of Antonio Rodiles) in the municipality of Diez de Octubre because the authorities refuse to receive or give any response in a timely manner on the legal fate of his son in prison, incommunicado, beaten, and presumed to be on a hunger and thirst strike for 5 days now.

His cellphone is (53)-53233726 and needs refills to be able to communicate with friends and family in the world, but it is feared that the state company, CUBACEL, is about to block the number.


November 11 2012