Open Letter From the MCL to Pablo Iglesias and His Hatred of Cubans / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

7 10 2014

MCL (Movimiento Cristiano Liberación / Christian Liberation Movement) in La Razón: “Mr. Pablo Iglesias, There is Poverty in Cuba and Leftist People are Repressed”

How can you deem it a campaign against “Cuba” that family, friends and colleagues of Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero demand that these deaths are clarified, deaths that even the Cuban regime has not been able to explain?

The Cuban regime repeatedly blames its problems on “lags of the past” and on the former “bourgeois regime.”

Well then, they are now the past and the new bourgeoisie.

Dear Euro-Deputy, Mr. Pablo Iglesias:

I have had the chance to read—living in a democratic country where both you and I can (yes, we can) say whatever we please—some statements of yours through which you defend the Cuban regime.

In 2002 and 2003, more than 25,000 Cubans signed a citizens lawsuit—legally and constitutionally sound, according to Cuban Law, and known as the “Varela Project”—in which they demanded the basic rights and liberties enjoyed by citizens in democratic countries.

Specifically, the demands of the Varela Project are as follow: freedom of association, freedom of enterprise (for the citizens), amnesty for prisoners of conscience, and the call for a referendum to pass a fair and just electoral law, given that, at present, there can only be one candidate per position, and one who is logically endorsed by the regime.

Many of the undersigned and promoters of this project encountered retaliation and were fired from their jobs and teaching positions. 42 of these promoters were imprisoned and subjected to exile in 2010. This repression was the trigger to the well-known Cuban Spring (“Primavera cubana”).

Their demands continue to be ignored in Cuba. The slightest dissidence against the regime is severely punished. Dissidents continue to be oppressed, their neighbors  forced to participate in the so-called Acts of Repudiation or Pogroms, which often end in physical violence. Even people who await permits to work abroad are forced to participate in these repugnant acts to prove their loyalty to the regime.

It is not possible to form associations, it is not possible to publish anything that is not in agreement with the regime, and, least of all, to organize a political party.

The regime, in a more successorial than transitory eagerness, engages itself, today, in bogus economic reforms (which Oswaldo Payá used to call CAMBIO-FRAUDE, or FRAUDULENT-CHANGE) to perpetuate privileges by those known as Cuban economic-military junta, who attempt to switch from the wildest of Communisms to the wildest of Capitalisms, where the poor will be poorer (yes, there are poor people in Cuba; so poor, that they don’t even have the right to say they are poor), and the rich (the members of the Cuban Communist Party (CCP)) will continue to be the only rich.

It is shameless, as shameless as the rebelling pigs in Animal Farm, to move away from what were their mottoes (suffice to remember the emphasis that Fidel would place on the word Capitalism; today, one of his children exhibits his wins on golf, that Capitalist-par-excellence sport according to Castro) and to become allies of any foreign interest that seeks to invest, looking for easy opportunities by enlisting an enslaved work force—there are no free syndicates in Cuba—whose salary is paid for by the State, which, in turn, retains most of it.

To top it off, Cubans cannot shop, with their own currency, in the vast majority of stores (where, only with a bit of luck they may be able to acquire some basic product) because the regime uses an absurd currency duality via the so-called CUC (Cuban Convertible Peso), whose value is set arbitrarily; suffice to give the example of an SUV vehicle, which will cost 66,000 euros while the median salary in Cuba is equivalent to 20 euros per month.

Needless to say, these poor attempts of opening of the economy are also off-limits for anyone perceived as a dissident, and there are several small-business owners who, in their utter fear of losing their scanty properties, reject any kind of opposition to the regime, hence becoming part of the repressive machine.

Long-gone is also the notion of Cuba as a Medical and Health Superpower that the regime so proudly hoisted; today, Cuba is a more-than Third World country where diseases such as cholera—eradicated since colonial times—have reappeared, thanks to the inefficacy of a regime only efficient, nowadays, in repression. For the benefit of the leading caste, the regime exports thousands of health professionals (while retaining most of their salaries), leaving several regions of the island deprived of professional assistance and resources in health services, in sheer contrast with health facilities that cater exclusively to foreigners which enjoy the benefits and resources of First World nations.

Education in Cuba is nothing more than a doctrine and control-producing process since the earliest of childhood. I remember how we were forced to shout “We will be like Ché!” and many of us wondered why on Earth would they want any of us to become assassins. The process of selection of regime followers becomes more and more severe as the schooling level increases (college is for revolutionaries, as they say), with many study topics being forbidden if they are perceived to lead to disloyalty to the regime.

Anyone can claim this is part of the nation’s past, but repression continues to expand, and the question is how can the same people who created this mess back in 1959, and continue to be in power, can solve the problem? Again, they repeatedly blame their problems on “lags of the past” and on the former “bourgeois regime”. Well then, they are now the past and the new bourgeoisie.

The comparison with other disadvantaged world zones stems from a false argument. One only needs to review the official indexes put forward by the UN regarding human development in Cuba in 1958, which were, in fact, superior to those in Spain itself at the time. It must become clear, however, that dictatorship in Cuba did not begin in 1959, but in 1952, which explains why so many Cubans fought in that revolution that was immediately betrayed by those who continue to be in power today.

The trite insistence of calling the USA the foreign enemy is no longer credible. Today, it is precisely the USA that is Cuba’s main commercial partner in food and other products. The embargo is not the problem nor is it the solution. The rest of the world has no embargo against Cuba, and yet Cuba cannot engage freely in commercial exchanges with anybody else. The real embargo is the embargo of freedom to which the people are subjected by the regime itself.

The MCL does not seek revenge, nor does hatred nor ill-feeling move us. We work for the reconciliation of a country in which all Cubans, from within or from abroad, can live, because we are one nation; for a country where all political options are welcomed (I remind you that even leftists in Cuba are repressed) and where what has positively served us can be preserved; where no foreign intervention exists; where thousands of Cubans never again have to serve as fodder in post-colonial wars in Africa; where, within the diversity of ideas and initiatives, mistrust is no longer; where those who think differently are not referred to as “gusanos” (worms). And so on.

In other words, for a country where we can enjoy democracy (even if an imperfect one) just like the one we enjoy here. This is about democracy versus dictatorship, not an ideological matter.

It is not the intention of this letter to provoke controversy, but to clarify certain issues for you, as you seem to be rather ill-informed about them.

I remember some years ago, during a televised debate with your friend Juan Carlos Monedero, some of these (and other) topics were tackled, and just like I said then, the real proof that democracy will have arrived in Cuba will be the day when we Cubans are able to debate freely in Cuban television.

To finish, dear Mr. Iglesias, I must add that there’s an article of yours in which you claim that the Christian Liberation Movement is “campaigning against Cuba”.

In first place, it seems you are confusing Cuba with the Cuban dictatorship. Cuba is much more than that and the majority of Cubans do not want it.

Secondly, how can you deem it a campaign against “Cuba” that family, friends and colleagues of Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero demand that these deaths are clarified, deaths that even the Cuban regime has not been able to explain? (see http://www.oswaldopaya.org/es/2013/12/15/una-secuencia-incoherente/).

On the other hand, you resort to a macabre exercise (due to its analysis and its origin: you place yourself in the place of the supposed executioner) when you allege that “had they been intended murders, the regime would have also eliminated their witnesses”. It is a dangerous exercise to use the reasoning of the executioner, and tyrannies have no presumption of innocence.

Like Oswaldo Payá said, in his acceptance speech for his 2002 Sakharov Human Rights Award from the European Parliament, where you now serve, “Dictatorships do not belong to the left nor to the right. They are only dictatorships.”

Last year, the European Union’s parliament voted to include an amendment, in its report of human rights, requesting an independent investigation on the death of Oswaldo Payá.

This year, we will once again petition support towards that investigation.

In the event that petition was indeed taken to the voting table, what would your vote be?

Sincerely, and wishing you the best in your exercise as Euro-Deputy,

Carlos Payá Sardiñas

Representative, Christian Liberation Movement, Spain

Translated by: T

29 June 2014

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6oices v6ices vo6ces voic6s voice6 voices6

15 02 2011

 

 

6oces v6ces vo6es voc6s voce6 voces6, originally uploaded by orlandoluispardolazo.

NEXT ON… www.vocescuba.com

From Havanada, mon amour….

(Includes unpublished dossier on The Body as Resistance and

Insubordination, as a tribute to the Cuban political prisoner, Orlando Zapata

Tamayo, on the first anniversary of his Martyrdom.)

Translated by: T

February 14 2011





This is Not the Novel of the Revolution (7)

13 02 2011

(… Chapter 7 …)

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Dreams of death. Dreams of shit. Political nightmares of statelessness.

Close your eyes and open your mind. Crack the skull. Dreaming does not cost anything. Dreaming dreams of a Havana deserted of Havana.

White matter on the sheets. Semen, brain, liquid, gel and associations of anticoagulant ideas.

The reality is diluted in unreality. The Revolution is absorbed in its own rhetoric. The images are unimaginable. And they hurt. It hurts even when they no longer hurt at all.

It is not necessary to inhale the spicy and always adulterated smoke of the sweet hemp leaf prohibited by the current Penal Code and a Socialist Constitution in perpetuity.

It is not necessary the frothy jar of mold jug shit by Cuban livestock. Nor bell-like flowers like girls’ skirts with caterpillars pedaling in their twats, suicide girls with petals and pistils and pollen instead of a penis. Cliterature. Shaman girls. Amen, Om.

It is not necessary the disposable needle and yet invariably contaminated with HIV. Human Imagination Virus. Death can be another dream of freedom.

Orlando dreaming dreams of death on the bed. Dreams of shit through the blinds that are blades to chip the early-bird sounds of his neighborhood and city. Lawton, Havana. Political nightmares of the too much country that never was. Cuba, America. Short circuits of synapses beyond State control. Cheap oneiterature.

Sweating, naked.

Tension joints, tetanus muscles. His body tries to sleepwalk. His knees are shaking. His face grimaces. He breathes badly, through his mouth. Havanitosis called dyspnea. Worse dreams the exorbitant orbits under his eyelids. In the neck, a cold that is pure lack of solidarity. REM of the Revolution. It’s called delirium.

Orlando delirious sleeping. His temples on the verge of imploding.

Dreams of Cuba, of course. Dreams where the island turns until it sinks in slow motion or is the sky spinning out of control, the stars tracing rabid circles of light in the nerves of his collapsed retinas. Orlando is in a state of shock. In a State of shock.

Dreams with Fidel, indubitably. There was a time when every dream was filtered by the sacred pentagramaton, founding work of the Cuban calendar and the rest of our vocabulary. VoCUBAlary. Everybody now:  Gimme an “F”!   Gimme an “I”!   Gimme a “D”!   Gimme an “E”!   Gimme an “L”!  What does it spell?!

Orlando no longer knows what it spells. His lips move and he hears everything in the dream, but he would not know how to say what the star says, the star of five blunt letters and even a gun, olive-gray uniform and telescopic sight and post-comandante degrees.

Dreams with his dead mother who of course still has not died. Mother and Revolution eternal. The contemporary bodies of María and Fidel. The fear of old age in both. María praying in the church in Lawton, Fidel behaving viciously in the Plaza of the Revolution. Childlessness in both Mephistophelean mummies. Orlando doesn’t recognize anyone in the dream, because it is precisely these two who are his last acquaintances. María who gives birth to Fidel. Fidel who is aborted by God.

Dreams with JAAD far away, so close. JAAD mirage, JAAD generation of writers who calm neurosis with pills, prizes, passports to think a little less of our sex every day. Pleasure rotted in lack of soul. Orlando who doesn’t remember the game of these gone acronyms of another century already. JAAD.

Dreams with Ipatria close, so far. Ipatria hopeful and ill, Ipatria truly alive and beautiful pixelated if you try to name her as if there were music in pronouncing her syllables. I-pa-tria. The madness of a trainload of electroshocks in the basement with cockroaches in the loony bin, while a mediocre technician sticks a gloved finger into the dry depths of her vagina, and then she laughs and asks softly with Ipatria eyes, please, no. Orlando his throat also dry in the dream from too strong a desire to kill or be killed.

Dreams of love. Help me, help him. Isn’t that sufficient? Enough.

Dreams of the exquisite corpse of the Revolution. Do not let him keep dreaming, do not let him go, do not leave him, no.

Dreams of his fucking death, while Orlando asks them meekly with sleepless eyes from within the dream, please, no. It is sufficient, but not enough.

Translated by T and anonymous.

February 9 2011





31 AND POSTEANTE

7 02 2011


31 and Keeping on keeping on…!

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

I remember the conspiratorial slogan. The eighties were coming to an end. The twentieth-century of Revolutionary Cuba was coming to its end. It was December. Another December. It was Robaina and his Ujaycee, spelled like that—UJC, Young Communist League—with the seven colors of the rainbow on all the rundown façades of this city. It was 1989. Another date that ended in a 9, the preferred number for any respected Revolution (reread history to corroborate it.) I had just enrolled at University of Havana to do a BA in biochemistry, free of cost, right by 25th Street at El Vedado, one of the quiet little streets that are, secretly, the most beautiful in the world. A landscape with trees and shade and small, slow-paced businesses whose shop assistants never got old, with love dripping freely from each gaze at the edge of the large avenues and institutions of the capital city.

The Berlin Wall was going down, Gorbachov was God-bachov, our god forbidden after the bullet that stoned Ochoa and half of the Ministry of the Interior (there were hundreds of detentions and sackings: soldiers have always been the first victims of that political power they perpetuate, even if unwillingly).

I was I. My name was already Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo. I was not even 20, for god’s sake. I was eternal. Skinny. Fearful. Distrustful, distant. I had not yet made love. Or hardly. Helpless and intelligent. Prone to getting sick, and healthy afterwards. Sagittariatic. I was not sure if I would have the strength to make it to 2000: so far away, so futuristic, such a lie in the official discourse of magazines shutting down in their wholesale bankruptcy during the general crisis of Socialism (that CGS — General Crisis in Socialism — no Marxism professor ever instilled in us). I was not sure I would ever be able to taste a half-syllable of truth. Pardon me. I remained silent for twenty years because of you and because of me. I was ugly. I was bad. I was another, others.

But now I turn 31. December goes by like a charitable nightmare. There isn’t a worse Cuba than that made from the same wood. Of such a little slogan on consignment, “31 and Forward,” not even forgetfulness remains. Its author was defenestrated when Fidel was still alive, like all other Cuban officials, respected or not. Faith passed away. We were left alone, faithless. It’s nice.

With all the oil of America and those enormous air-conditioned Chinese buses, but alone. It’s beautiful. Raúl as residue, as inertia, as the rhetoric of the red tape to nowhere. The Castro of catharsis. We are still so young, going on 40 and still so young. That is, if we have lived at all. They kidnapped our time. We were exiled. They tattooed our genes with “outside” kills, and “inside” redeems, and we wanted to kill ourselves. Anything to not participate in that false feast in which this country didn’t sur-vive but sur-died, funereally. We left. We rented ourselves for just a while, no more. We would come back eventually, when death had taken care of cleaning up a bit those high positions of our imaginary nation. And we also stayed behind, some of us.

We humiliated ourselves for a while, another while, no more. We would eventually talk to one another, when fear had left our bones, tomorrow or in the following millennium. Or, for example, now, when December 2010 is ending and we are sad but free, and that desperation makes us unique and beautiful like a cosmic race, somewhat comical, and each one extends blank hands to the brother who loves us from so far away, and we tell each other the exceptional experience of the horror of a history without end. 31 and going.. and going good!

2011 is the year of the newest Cuba. That Cuba where we will need to wrap ourselves in a lot of courage so we can avoid killing one another like dogs at the Tienanmenville Square Motherland. Where we’ll need to come out of the closet we all let ourselves be boxed into by too much State or Exile. Neither the totalitarian State nor the totalitarian Exile exist. It’s I, you, we, all of you who exist. Nastiness among Cubans is done with. 2011 is now or never. If we don’t deserve our motherland, our patria, then many blogs will need to be deleted and we need to turn our attention to talking about some other topic.

The twenty first-century cannot go by with us still going on with our little freedom histrionics. We are not eternal. Soon we are going to die, perhaps before those in high positions (death is petty). 2011 is to be lived from this same line in atrocious freedom. Being I, being you, being all of you, being us. Please. What mediocre vice minister can stop such a march? What tinpot premier can scold when all the words in Cuba rebel and reveal themselves like new, shiny, exquisite, sonorous light? Even pain itself will be a virgin and thrilling pasture. Long live life, Cuba! Even a life without the burden of so very many decrepit Cubas! But may I, and you, and all of you and we live forever! There is a Cuba after Cuba. There are Cubans before Cuba, and Cubans after Cuba.

Translated by T

31 December 2010





This is Not the Novel of the Revolution (6)

6 02 2011

(…CHAPTER 6…)

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

 

A Cuban woman kills herself. She leaps like a disoriented bird from her apartment at FOCSA, that dwarf skyscraper inherited from an equally dwarfed Capitalism. Alienating. The empty swimming pool gets some moistness once again after decades and decades of collective neglect.

A merchant from Nuevo Vedado adds some red hair dye to the tomato-less tomato purée that he will later sell at a State agro-market where soldiers’ wives will go with their children. The police arrest him on a Sunday. The merchant claims that there are no toxic substances, only toxic ways to employ them. He claims his innocence in regard to his dying of tomato-less tomato.

A beggar asks me for a peso. I give it to him. Every day I hand out dozens of pesos among the local destitute community.

Ipatria punches me with a closed fist. I do the same to her. I hug her. I spit blood and ask her to forgive me. I don’t really know exactly why, but I ask her to forgive me. Nothing of this should have been real.

Alive. I am alive. Like the off-key roosters in Lawton’s backyards.

To sing to him in the morning. What an image. How many octosyllables must have been rhymed in Cuba following such hoaxes? The morning announces itself with a trill. With the rooster’s song. Quiquriquí. Cock-doodle-doo. Arroz con país. Rice and country.

Everything rhymes. Everything fits inside décimas and seguidillas and slogans and headlines. Everything is ritual, rhetoric of the Revolution.

A million bees buzz in my ears. An army of scorpions in my temple. Crustaceans under my cheekbones and acid reptiles in my sternum. A zoo of tiny lies, so as not to name the truth.

I die. I am dying. Like pigs unsuccessfully challenging the neighborhood knives.

My telephone has an international outlet. 119, world. 34, Spain. I dial JAAD’s cell number.

It rings. I hang up. To hell with the Stepmotherland.

A morning smoke fills the corridor of my wooden house. Steam, dew. The beauty of these cyclical lines builds up pressure. Truth resounds in my veins. Daybreak, agony. Knock-knock, who was it?

Orlando lays down.

It’s nice to imagine him in vertigo from the male-female roofbeams, lying on the bedspread in shadows, a body so immaculate and horizontal.

A phosphorescent Orlando. The hair mat like seaweed. Medusa about to be reborn a corpse. Orlando, aphasic.

It is unimaginable to imagine him at this hourless hour, five-something in the Cuban dawn.

Orlando turns face-down. He curls up. A fetus with no consonants. Oao. And interjection with no vowels. Rlnd.

Reiterative until exhaustion. Unrecognizable.

His man buttocks, human, devouring the rest of his nudity. The remains of his muteness.

Orlando has no hands. His arms are buried under his rickety body, under his ideal-athlete biology, under his perfect skin full of irregularities. Patches, spots, crevices, pimples, scars, biopsies.

Orlando dances.

His back arches itself. His spine swells, his legs stretch until tendons burst from desire.

Orlando moans. He collapses. He makes a nest out of sperm and bed sheets. A bundle of scents accumulated under the coldness of the false winter coming in in strips through the louvers.

He lays exhausted.

It is natural to assume he is not asleep. That death is as deceitful as dreams. That Orlando has given out a slight, imperceptible whinny of pain and has magisterially stopped breathing.

Translated by T

February 6 2011





This is Not the Novel of the Revolution (5)

6 02 2011

(…CHAPTER 5…)

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

This is not the novel of the Revolution either.

How could it be, if it is I who is writing it?

How could it not be it if nobody can be writing it, except for me, here and now?

Now.

And here.

I.

Translated by T

February 6 2011





The Old Man and the Bus Trip

3 02 2011

ASHITTEDOrlando Luis Pardo Lazo

It was on a P-10 road from La Víbora to Paradero de Playa. With the night falling over Cuba, one broken under that indecisive weight of violets and depressions that remind us that there is a sky over Havana. That the world is also here and now. To add to it all, with such freezing cold, one capable of piercing bones, one that is not commonplace in Cuban literature. At the stop on Perla Street, almost at the edge of the suburban rural chord that threatens to devour our capital city block by block.

He boarded without paying. Old. Very old. An elderly man of venerable age, who should have been having dinner with his family in front of the innocuous news at this time of the night. Wearing a suit that had surely been worn for the first time way before the Revolution. He had shat on himself. The old man and his suit. Shat and scared shitless.

The stench gave him away before any glance could. I was busy writing my “Lezama Lima Explained to Children” in the Notes section of my cellphone. A very basic Nokia that works better than a machine gun (Twitter, Twitpics, Chirps, YouTube, Vimeo: the whole of the Internet almost advertises itself from my SIM card). If I didn’t go into too much of a delirium, I could surely publish the text in the Diario de Cuba web portal, now that we all have an opinion about the Fat Man from Trocadero, so pestered at the later stages of his life by the envious, the cowards and, of course, even by Security specialists (their arguments, in view of the future, are more than valid: “We were only doing our job.”).

The stench stabbed me. Damn, I thought. I stepped on shit. Or some kids threw a pile of shit through the bus window, as to appease their neighborhood boredom slightly: it is not the first time it happens to me, although, luckily, they have never managed to hit me with the dog, cow or even human shit. If it’s me, I thought, I will be dead in minutes, without time to warn anyone (Who could I ring at this hour? My mother: my last relative? A lover, second to last impossibility?) If it is I who smells like this and I have still not realized that, then it must mean my intestines have hemorrhaged. I thought of Fidel. But that didn’t make me laugh. Life is such a fragile gift. I had a sort of panic attack. But then laughter relaxed me. The coarse laughter of the Cuban people. Vulgar.

“Get off the bus, pig.” “Blow away, stinker.” “Driver, open the back door so we can throw out the old man right here.” And the P-10 route passengers began to open up a circle around the back door. They were backing up towards me. I stopped typing about Lezama Lima (in his work, curiously, there are exquisite scenes that take place inside Cuban buses, with such formidable phrases as “I am like Martí dreamed about, the succulent poetry…”) and I tried to get close to him, in my ever curious solidarity with the fallen from grace—be it the grace of the State or the grace of our own sphincter. But it was impossible. The crowd and the stench forced me to retreat into the accordion of the articulated bus. Shit had built, by simple osmosis, a material wall amid the compacted air.

The old man began to defend himself with words he could hardly enunciate and to throw out punches, like a braggart. He had probably been a fighter all his life. And now he could not even hold back his feces, voluntarily, not even for a few bus stops. Oh, but anyone who dared to come close would come out of it all messed up. Even if it was the last thing he did in his life, after such a Pantagruelian and uncivil crap.

The passengers never left him alone. Especially the male students, who kept making a racket and mocking him with cheap cabaret-like jokes to impress the girls, who laughed in their un-erotic uniforms with a terrifying lack of intelligence.

The old man resisted as much as he could until he finally jumped out from the bus, three or four stops later, still on Perla Street approaching the William Soler Children’s Hospital. I doubt that was his destination (I doubt he even had one on that late night). But he got off and started limping away. I think the shit was dripping out of his pants.

The stench stayed in the bus all the way down to La Ceguera, where I got off, now really smelling of his ancestral shit myself. More than shit, it was the postmortem molecules of biological decomposition (I witnessed such kinds of fermentation at the Faculty of Biological Science). Cadaverinas, phosphorescent gases and other such exquisite particles. I hate the scientific reproduct-ability of death (necrochemistry more than biochemistry). I hate anything that happens around my Nokia and me.

The old man lost himself into the vilified and aged Cuban night. We continued our journey between the little pale headlights of an imported bus, or those forensic light posts of a sick and tired, embarrassed Havana.

I took a deep breath of freedom. I sniffed my skin. I probed my underarms and private parts. Several times. The accumulated sweat of an insular winter. A deliciously young and human smell. Appetizing. I felt like going out hunting. I was alive. I felt like Twitting it to the world from my cellphone. Damn, what joy, what an urge to burst into tears! To be alive over the yellow line ignored by both students and buses. You get it? Alive!

Translated by T

December 22 2010