Carromero’s Book and Death / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

The most sinister part of Death Under Suspicion is that it is the testimony of a man condemned to death, because Ángel Carromero reports that, before finally being deported to his homeland to serve the rest of his sentence in Spain (in December 2012), a Cuban State Security official warned him that if he ever told the truth, he would also be extrajudicially executed, like Harold Cepero and Oswaldo Payá.

You can believe Ángel Carromero now or not. It doesn’t matter. But there are thousands of dead for us to believe this horror of the Cuban official.

The Castro regime only lies in public. In private, never.

Read the entire article in English here.

2 April 2014

Me in Venezuela’s “El Nacional” / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Yesterday, the OAS voted for much more than the silence of María Corina Machado. Yesterday the OAS sentenced her to the murderous loneliness of nasty socialism, which is the only one that germinates in America. Yesterday the OAS made itself an accomplice to a crime against morality which, like the coercive quotas of Venezuelan oil, muddies the miserable hands and tarnishes the reactionary faces of half a continent. Read the entire article here.

23 March 2014

For You, On March 9 / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Washington, DC reminds me of the William Soler Children’s Hospital which, in my early childhood, was on the outskirts of Havana, until I got older and the city annexed it.

The buildings here, in places, have the same curved mystery of clinical solitude. They are made of glass instead of windows. One can look inside each room at the patients of the great little American capital. From the street, I would say that in every home here there is an oxygen tank over-illuminated to the point of sterility, like in the William Soler Hospital in Havana

The buses remind of the English Leylands from the seventies in Cuba. The Metro reminds me of the trains that back in the eighties were called “specials.” The girls in Washington are insanely beautiful. A certain Casablanca power irradiates every corner, especially now that winter is already dying and there are still enough green leaves and doors where we can find casual shelter for our hearts.

The world of the United States continues to be like an O’Henry story.

Forgive me. The truth is that it’s four in the morning and I assume it will be another sleepless night. We Cubans have provoked a massacre in Venezuela and the worst part in this sister nation is yet to come. Moreover, I am not in Cuba and so there are weeks when Havana always makes me cry at this hour.

The sky is red in DC, like that of my city illuminated by the threat of rain and the exhaust from the Nico Lopez refinery in Regla. A blazing chimney hijacked from Shell or Esso or Texaco more than half a century back: from owners who have already died at supposedly more proletariat hands, but today they, also, are dead. The refinery, like me, we have been left very alone, listing in a corner of the bay, two ghosts of insomniac smoke, inertial.

I don’t want to stay in this country. Here I’ll never watch a movie in context. Here I will never be able to stand on a corner and understand my position without turning on the GPS. Here Castro’s political police could murder me, like so many Cubans before and Venezuelans today, but at least they can’t harass or arrest me, if I’m  entirely missing the body is me. I’m tired of not being Orlando Luis. It’s even hard to write well, don’t you notice?

It’s twice as hard to be me here. The prize is that, when with you I write in Cuban, I’m back in my free Cuba mind, the same in which I was exiled these last five years, when I opened my blog in 2008 and the former Minister of Culture Abel Prieto immediately announced that I could never again publish on the Island.

Many planes fly in Washington, D.C. This is something new in Havana. Since I’ve been in the United States my asthma is cured, but every night I need air a little more. I’ve lived precisely in the air, borrowed, as in hospital rooms where there are no oxygen tanks nor memories. I know my lungs are going to close up entirely, the words, the nightmares of being back among my loved ones on the Island, the patience of never going back to see my house, of not saying goodbye because I left for just three weeks, then for three months, and then for three years. And now I understand it will be for three lives.

I know I’m surrounded by the damned circumstances of Cubans everywhere. “Damned” in the sense of “mischievous,” which was the word where we were kids and the first of our parents hadn’t died. Nor the first of us.

But I will be strong and light like a ray of sun. I will never leave you alone, it is a promise of a lost country. If I didn’t leave you alone being a prisoner there in Cuba, much less will I abandon you being free here and now. Just wait a little until this vertigo passes, this dizziness. Forgive me again, suddenly I really want to vomit.

The night is deep. The Spanish readings have something of a talisman. Every book now turns out to be a sacred object, like in childhood. A bible of truth. I believe I am more free. Expect anything from me. I love you.

9 March 2014

Venezuela Yes, Castro No / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Venezuela, Life or Abyss: Let’s Not Abandon Them Now

Left-wing dictators never step down. Thus says a killer subject called Universal History.

Left-wing Latin-American dictatorships have no reason to be the exception. They institute eternal systems like the Castro dynasty to the humiliation of the Cuban people. Or they impose their feast of outrages before and after being deposed from power, such as in Chile with the radical regime of Salvador Allende. In both cases, the price of any change is criminally high.

Today, Venezuela is struggling in the streets between these two limits. They have already gone beyond both.

Translated by: M. Ouellette

8 March 2014

Let’s Go Venezuela / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Beautiful Venezuela, so weighed down for such a long time with your own revolution. Is that what you wanted? No! That’s why we are going to save ourselves.

So much left wing higher education, so much nostalgia for Silvio Rodríguez and so many other dogs’ breakfasts of patriotic poetry, so much Castroism disguised as uncomfortable intellectualism, so many arms smuggled from Havana (the scroungers were previously the guerrillas), so much of our parents’ out of date Marxist social criticism. Is that what you wanted? No! That’s why we already saved ourselves.

Thanks, Venezuela.

Fidel Castro hates the Venezuelans as much as he hates Cubans a much as he hates human beings. Much more now, because he will die soon. And he hates the idea that millions and millions of people should live when he doesn’t.

The Venezuelans resisted Fidel too much, since January 1959 when the Commander in Chief proposed a diabolical pact to President Rómulo Betancourt: Venezuela will give Cuba all its oil and also its land as a trampoline for expanding the Revolution: in return, Fidel held out the promise of the destruction of the United States in a few years’ time and the damned imposition of the dream of Bolívar and Martí (he almost managed it in October 1962, at the cost of the Russian nuclear missiles, which showed that Bolívar and Martí, far from having dreams, had terrible nightmares). Continue reading

MY NAME IS WILLIAM SAROYAN / Orlando Luis Pardo Laza

Down K Street

My father had died, the good Armenak (1918-1998).

They laid him out at the funeral home at Calzada and K Street, not far from the municipal maternity hospital: the América Arias hospital.

Chapel K: it was my mother who chose the letter. It reminded her of her homeland, Armenia, which in native Armenian is actually spelled Armenika. It reminded her of my own father, the recently turned-into-cadaver Armenak. It reminded her of herself; a sudden widow named Takuji. In both cases, Saroyan.

My parents were cousins before being lovers. The Saroyan family excommunicated them: they did not tolerate such liberties within their clan. But they insisted.

Later, it was the occupied Armenika who excommunicated them: they didn’t tolerate liberties either within their false frontiers imposed by the Russians, the Turks and the Iranians. They insisted.

They crossed the continent and the ocean in one thousand and two layovers, until their ship wrecked by chance in another little homeland called Havana, bringing along with them Armenika as a stowaway, folded one thousand and two times along with the worthless currency in their pockets.

They insisted. But this time death at last excommunicated these two cousin-lovers from their so insistent passion for freedom.

At the most luxurious and lonely funeral home in Vedado, Havana, Cuba, my mother Takuji warned me:

Do not cry for your father, the good Armenak – she said. Cry for me, for not knowing how to die with him. Cry for you, for the shame that your parents have brought upon you; first, without a homeland, and now, without a family.

My mother Takuji pronounced it all in Armenian smooth and fragile, like her, a language that could not be any more dead even if no one in the world remembered it. It is the language of forgetfulness and of frustration as home: the same in the homeland as in the family, we no longer knew anything of our fate, uprooted with a country but without a destiny. Continue reading

Communique from the Venezuelan Resistance / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Sunday, February 23, 2014

OFFICIAL COMMUNIQUE NUMBER 1 FROM THE VENEZUELAN NATIONAL RESISTANCE

Resolution concerning the position of Venezuelan citizens who continue street protests against the Castro-Communist regime that operates illegally in Venezuela.

WHEREAS:

The noble people of Venezuela, sick of the treason by the militaristic cabal and Castro-Communism agents who control power, went out February 2, 2014 in the state of Tachira to protest against insecurity, inflation, scarcity and plundering of Venezuelan resources and were repressed and attacked by the repressive forces of the regime, causing dozens of injuries and several detentions.

WHEREAS:

The national discontent, in the face of the oppressive economic crisis unleashed by the Castro-Communist Agent Nicolas Maduro Moros, after the devaluation of the currency, permitting the monthly plundering of a billion dollars in order to maintain and reconstruct the economy of the island of Cuba, attacking and destroying Venezuelan enterprises, subjecting the people to outrageous shortages that keep them demoralized and frustrated in long lines in order to obtain basic products, caused the rest of the country and some 50 cities to join a national protest today converted into a RESISTANCE. Continue reading

Free Enterprise Without Freedom / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

FREE ENTERPRISE WITHOUT FREEDOM

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

“Invest in Castro, it does not matter: Castroism will condemn you. . .”

Cuban exile mogul, Alfonso Fanjul, has traveled to Cuba several times between 2012 and 2013.  Recently, he has declared that there’s a “soft spot in his heart” and that he has an “open mind” towards the prospect of investing his fortune in the Island. Given the “right circumstances”, and “legal grounds”, and on the basis of an “appropriate framework.”

That’s only one example, of course, but it is far from being the only one among millionaires in the Cuban exile. And it wasn’t long before this caused a media outrage, including at the highest levels of American politics. Republican Senator from Florida, Marco Rubio, said he was “surprised and disappointed” with Fanjul’s change in perspectives, a person who for decades supported many initiatives that were forthrightly anti-Castro.

The key question at the current historical juncture would be the following: Do human rights violations in Cuba even remotely concern the economic interests (whether foreigners or Cuban exiles) that loom over the island?  First of all, Havana’s government doesn’t even allow Cubans living on the island to invest or associate peacefully in their own country. According to foreign interests, it seems we don’t even deserve it. We’ve already waited half of century a despotism, we might as well wait out one hundred years of impunity.

European politicians take advantage of the circumstance to start asking for the same. Let’s give our support to Castro, and let Castro deal with the Cubans.

And just like that, they aim to place themselves on the best possible terms with the dictatorship, with the idea of eventually “democratizing” it through gradual blows of solvency.  They bet on the miserliness of the Chinese model based upon Raúl Castro’s stagnant reforms, supposedly with the idea of not upsetting the Moribunds-in-Chief, and avoiding radical tendencies that could end up turning the Island into a Caribbean North Korea.  Ha!

 

But this is a false argument, the demagoguery of the Castro lobby complicated with donations to the presidential campaign every four years. In practice, Cuba has already shown the voracity of the markets of Beijing, as well as the criminal despotism of Pyongyang. Perhaps through this justification these tycoons expiate their totalitarian guilt of ending up talking about profits with former Castro supporters and former Castro enemies, indistinguishable from each other in the face of post-Castroism.

What’s surprising is that the international entrepreneurs insist on not acknowledging that  in Cuba their investments will be more than insecure. Unless they’re all moles of State Security since the beginning of the Revolution, or they had been lured/blackmailed by it (like the Catholic Cardinal). In fact, more than a few investors have ended up being accused of corruption and had all their assets confiscated. In the best case, they were deported to their country of origin without indemnity rights. In the worst, they’re still in prison (without trial), or dead just like the mafia that was left behind by the thug Max Marambio in his stampede-like get-away.

Amassing wealth through the humiliation of others is a feudal formula. Above and beyond the rule of law, decency is the source of all legitimacy.

John Stuart Mill’s phrase is well-known: “One’s own freedom ends where the freedom of the others begin”. In the case of the foreign business dealings with the Castro regime, that quote can very well be re-inscribed as followed: “One’s own freedom ends right where the freedom of others is ended.”

 Translated by W. Cosme

10 February 2014