28 06 2013


Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

The Tucumanian night of Miami seizes me with hunger and with no desire to leave the hotel. I am alone. They have already forgotten me, luckily. I have already forgotten myself. Love is not waiting for me outside. Not yet. Not today. Tomorrow we’ll see.

I turn on the internet. A bit of crazy videos. A bit of Cuban culture. Some music I don’t recognize. I prepare my next month here. I hear the Metro that runs on the elevated track. I hear the moon rotating, and it is not the northern moon that I know so well from the United States. We’re not there. I hear the “shipwreck” tone from my AT&T smartphone.

Some friends of the barbarity are calling my mobile. It’s past ten o’clock. But barbarity is always about to knock on my door. And I hear them, having fun, über-Cubans, repeating the wonderful and filthy jokes from two decades ago. They are Erick and Nelson and already they are coming, driving over for me. In the Palmetto sports car. There is no option. I tell them “Don’t show up without a good plate of spaghetti.” And fruit.

My luxury hotel is a boarding home. I do nothing. I am homeless in Miami. But still not exactly out on the street. I make contacts with the so-called “counter-revolution.” What a privilege. I make myself intolerable to State Security, the guarantee that my criminal red Lada* will take my life in Bayamo or in Boston or in whichever of these hotels transparent to the Havana mafia. I wonder how still there does not preside in this country an agent of Cuban intelligence. I do not doubt that they have placed a hidden camera in the room to blackmail me when I return. Or a radioactive pin to guarantee me cancer, as the Cuban subsidiary of the KGB. Poor little assassins.

It’s a question of waiting. For the moment, I type. I go down to the lobby and finally I swallow the spaghetti with desperation. Fuck, was I hungry. It is beautiful to go hungry. Don’t feel too bad for Orlando Luis. In Cuba he was weary of swallowing and swallowing. There is a surplus of Cuban food today. It is needless. Hunger is an invention of the dissidence movement, when it doesn’t know how to have another vision, when it doesn’t think. I came to the United States to see if I could stop eating in Cuba. And I’m achieving it since March 5, when I set foot in a beautiful New York park.

We talk with Erick and Nelson about our work there on the Island. We were scientists. We were excellent. We were a disaster.

It was all comical and Machiavellian. We leave the hotel as we left Cuba. We buy stuff to drink. The city looks like a deserted airport. At these hours of the night I continue still more convinced that it is not at all about Miami. This is West Berlin and we, the newly appeared from the barbarity, we are going to upset its urban logic with so many Cubans fleeing towards here.

The man who serves us is an Afghan. The guy does not know Spanish in Miami. For nothing more than that, he deserves an automatic deportation. To Guantanamo, of course.

For a moment we seriously consider turning him in. Not for any specific motive. To screw with him.  So that something more than exile happens in our lives.

We continue talking of the Biotechnology Era in Cuba. My friends cannot stay past twelve. In the morning they work. I’m just a witness. This was why they took me out of the hotel. So that I could give testimony about their lives. I’m a hostage.

Half of Havana now is now passing through Miami. This will be the final evidence of Castroism as the measure of all things, as a criterion of truth. One of the two cities does not exist. They would annul themselves by coinciding at the same time. One of the two cities will have to die. And I want to be in it at that moment.

Nor are any of our thousand and one lives here. We all leave a very important phone call that is left for us to make. Or it gave us a busy signal and for that reason we need to try again. None of us has fully arrived here. Nobody deserves the thousandth-and-first death of returning there.

The laughter has given me a little indigestion. They drive me back to the hotel and in the bathroom of the room, I attempt without result to return the spaghetti with  my head stuck in the bowl. Not even that. I digested it too fast. It’s called vertigo. I wish that none of this would have happened to us. I wish that we were all awake, but the nightmares stick to us like a bad slogan. I would not like to leave it unsaid here and now, that impossibility.

 *Translator’s note: Lada: A Russian-made car common in Cuba and used by the police, among others.

Translated by Hombre de Paz

5 June 2013

My Patriotic Papito Who Rests in Peace

21 06 2013


My papá never saw the United States in person. But he spoke of this country with idolatry. I suspect papá was a natural annexationist.

His patriotism did not believe in the good will of the nation, and thus aspired to save the Cuban people from some historical horror. Papá bet on the Law, but — and this he experienced in his own flesh, then, and now in the flesh of his flesh which in some small part is me — he sensed that the law in Cuban is a noose that Cubans put around the necks of Cubans.

In the Republic or the Revolution (Papá was born on April 8, 1919, a year that I love as much as mine: 1971), that gentle man with green eyes and parents who were cousins in Cudillero, Asturias, collected commercial information about the United States. Magazines from the fifties, pocket-books stolen from the National Library, letters and accounting tomes, and a thousand little things from his family exiled so quickly that even another son he lost, in 1962, Manolito Pardo Jr., who wrote to us from Miami until my father died on August 13, 2000, eaten up by undiagnosed cancer but without the slightest wince.

One had to hear how my father said, at breakfast time, after coffee with milk in the wooden house in Lawton,, and before lighting the first cigarette of the universe: “The United States …”

He was called Dionisio Manuel. And he was my papá.

Today the United States is a wasteland for me.

And not just for me.

If you don’t have someone to give a nicotine-smelling hug at dawn, if there is no one to fight with over his radical democrat nonsense, if disease took away his belly and then his son’s heart (he didn’t pay attention to it when he asked me on his deathbed to be quiet until the last of the criminals of Castros’ Cuba died of old age), if a simple or battery-operated Father’s Day postcard does not have any meaning to you, then all the fathers in the universe are missing from our souls.

I’m sorry for those who can still be comforted.

I can’t. Nor can many others.

Not to mention, me, I don’t want to.

The memory of death is our best talisman.

15 June 2013

Please Help Me to Take Cuba Voices to Every Academy in the USA. Thanks.

4 06 2013
OLPL at Committee to Protect Journalists, NYC

OLPL at Committee to Protect Journalists, NYC. Photo by Brun0 L’Ecuyer

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4 June 2013