Music After The Death of Fidel / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo


Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

There aren’t enough of the stupid-ass songs. Because those same songs, the ones we joked stupid-assedly about in our rage-filled adolescence, are now the only thing left that allows us to know what we were, what we are, what we will be.

With those songs, we can forget about everything and everybody. It seems like we have it all if we have them, these jingles from our bad memory. And then we don’t feel that malady we carry that weighs us down, that ruins this life we have and can’t live.  Much less do confront destiny, that deviation that destabilizes us from despotism to despotism, and from corpse to corpse, without their ever sparking in our breast that semi-magical, semi-mendacious flame of love Continue reading

Alan GGross / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

The Silence of Alan Gross

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

We live not in the civilization of media, but of the mediocre. And from there directly we inhabit the miserable.

Cubans desperately need witnesses to our tragedy. In the absence of politicians on the Island, we pin our hopes on any alternative voice: bloggers, musicians, graffiti artists, performers, etc.

Just recently a supposed North American hostage has been released. Alan Gross completed his role in the democratic-totalitarian theater of legitimization of the Castro dictatorship. He is now free, but he remains stuck in the labyrinth of his lawyers and the six-figure compensation with which they have invited him to recuperate and remain reticent. In the United States, he will not for one moment stop being a true hostage. Continue reading

Sunday: Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo at Northwestern University for a Free Cuba, Damn It!

"Get out of Cuba TYRANT" / This island is MINE"

Tempting the Cuban Transition

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo


Since December 17th, when President Obama and General Raul Castro performed their simultaneous speeches, many Americans insist on congratulating me. I wonder why no Cuban has congratulated me so far, and why I still haven’t congratulated any other Cuban, whether in favor or against the US embargo against our country, whether on the Island or in exile.

I always respond to my foreign colleagues with a twisted-smiling emoticon. As a writer, I’m aware that language is not enough when feelings and facts seem altogether indistinguishable.

Let’s try now an answer from the viewpoint of digital dissidence, from the initial skepticism about the Cuban alternative blogosphere to the enthusiasm of today about the achievements of cyber-activists on the Island. So that tomorrow’s disappointment doesn’t take us by surprise. Continue reading

Look at Me, Miami and, If You Value Your Death, Don’t Cry / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Alan Gross, like every North American who comes in contact with the Castro regime and defends it even from within a captivity of little lies — attacking his own government with million-dollar demands — is a bad man. Gross’s little suicide threats, his lack of solidarity with Cubans in exile and civil society on the Island, his backward religiosity of psalms and miracle-mongering, his complicit silence as to the assassinations committed by the Castro regime while he was supposedly in prison, his lawyer subsidized by Havana, his support of the lifting of an embargo that had not appeared to be his concern when he was contracted by USAID, his servile flattery of President Obama, his admiring loyalty to the sacrosanct balls of Raúl, his suspicious loss of dentition at the record pace of one tooth per year, his (and his wife’s) insipid leftist pose, in short, what a fossil, what fealty, what Submerged States of Fidelity…

Meanwhile, the triumphal return to the Island of the 5 deadly spies, with their muscles worthy of hand-to-hand combat, their vacant stares of those who know themselves to be puppets of a dismal power that can pulverize them at any time, with their exaggerated dentitions, surrounded by a people who for decades have not been even plebes, a perverse and impoverished populace, terrified in their fear that swings from meanness to mediocrity, jabbering with the neighbors in a language that we free Cubans do not know because it is a jargon of the stable, of the State.

My Fellow Cubans, let us not kid ourselves. The stupidity of our country can be reined-in by taking advantage of this umpteenth criminal juncture in our history. We will never live in liberty. The Earth is cursed against our volatile beauty. The race that inhabits the Island is infected and cannot be decontaminated. The lucid ones, the virtuous ones, escape without ever looking over their shoulders, or else they will pay the brave price of being martyrs killed in cold blood, like the holy souls Laura Pollán and Oswaldo Payá. Continue reading

The MTA Story / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo


*Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo*
1 April 2013

Recurring dreams, dreams in the electrical night of the third rail when the moon is a cutout on New York’s clouds of smoke. Cloud-tunnels of Elizabeth Bishop. Cloud-graffiti of Rene Magritte.

I have dreamed them, daily.

I drop a couple of hours before dawn and dream recurring dreams of a Havana perforated by a maze of subways. Shelters. War of the whole people. Zero option, reconcentration. City hole, nobody is going to survive the system: this the socialist slogan of the assassins. Psycho killers.

National nightmares made of a Gruyère insomnia.

To dream is that. Short circuits. Crossed cables, like those floating supports of the bridges of this miraculous chip called Manhattan. Continue reading

Cubans, damn it! / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Total, infinite pity and shame! The teacher Odali has written Maceo (Antonio Maceo, hero of the Cuban War of Independence) with an “s” on my primary school blackboard, and I started crying. I couldn’t help it. That’s what happened. She wrote “Maseo” with her chalk and I started to cry in the middle of the classroom.

Those times were terrible and loving. The world was blue: Havana was white. My parents were living and that was a permanent certainty. Nobody got ill unless they deserved it. People laughed. Their eyes were shining, perhaps caused by tears. The Revolution still had not become fact. Continue reading

Macho Che / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Che’s Beatle Girlfriend

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

No doubt her name was Una. Or Agatha. Or Lil. Or Ide. O Brighid. Or Sinead. Or Nora. Or Tilde. Or perhaps Alaidh or Hilde. Any one of those Irish names reminiscent of other names whose etymology is tirelessly, anxiously, apocryphally Anglo.

For a native of civilized America—meaning, uncultured—her name, her names, is, are no more than hieroglyphics without an etymology, all just sounds twisted up in Barbie’s chin and the proper palate of the Irish girl named: Una, Agatha, Lil, Ide, Brighid, Sinead, Nora, Tilde or perhaps Alaidh or Hilde or all of them in one.

In any case, she’s always wearing that inert object over her head, which on camera rivaled a wet beret like his, like Che’s, in 1964. And since Ernesto Guevara is missing his emblematic beret during an interview translated by an interpreter—she literally interpreted, as in performed, his role—we can assume that Che had just placed his beret on her, like a bonnet on her hair, a colonel’s crown, the aura of a magical capture in order to allure her with his New Man smile, his big Cantinflas*-style mustache, the comically tender answers of a magnanimous conquistador. Such is the complicit tenderness of assassins and suicide victims. Continue reading

Without Cuba / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

mi amor

When did we disappear while a nation? When did Cuba stop being one? Or perhaps it never fully was one?

Nations are human inventions, impulses of our historical imagination. Cuba was the story that we told ourselves. A chronic story and, therefore, unbelievably believable.

We never had any democrats. The Republic’s great milestones are nothing more than frauds, ruses of worldwide communism in order to gain time and corrupt the remains of the social fabric in our country.

Bullets, bills, the opportunist who lives off of the fool, anything is worth more in Cuba than ballots. We are compulsive demagogues, even if we’ve had saints and sages and virtue. But we were lacking fascism, that experience which Cuba might have joined in on if it hadn’t been aborted by the leftist Revolution of 1933. Then it was necessary to wait until 1959 to be able to consummate our congenital totalitarian defect: a fascism from the right with a popular narrative. Continue reading

Open Letter to the European Union About Free Cuba / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo


Please send this text to: and add your signature to mine if you wish. Thank you!

Friday 9 January 2015

Your Excellency Mr. Christian Leffler, Managing Director for the Americas of the European External Action Service

After the meetings held in Havana (29-30 April 2014) and Brussels (27-28 August 2014), Raul Castro’s government unilaterally suspended the third round of negotiations for Agreement on Political Dialogue and Cooperation between the European Union and Cuba that were to take place on 8-9 January 2015, in Cuba.

The previous rounds were described by you as “fruitful and construction,” where both parties worked to “advance the confidence, respect and mutual understanding.” Just when the theme of human, political and institutional rights was to be addressed, the Havana government postponed the dialog, without taking the Cuban people into consideration in this disappointing decision. Continue reading

Entropy of Eliecer Jimenez at Brown University / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo


Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Before Facebook, I met Eliécer Jiménez only once, in an alternative cultural debate in Camagüey, three years ago. He was somewhat shy, but resolute in his urge to be creative in cinematographic terms. No money, no contacts, no political pedigree. A dreamer in a province that looked so asleep. Hope in Cuba today usually depends precisely on awakening in the middle of hopelessness.

We were in the house of Henry Constantín, a common friend and social activist that holds the record of being expelled from different Cuban universities three times, from Santiago de Cuba to La Habana, as despotism is quite equitable throughout the Island. Those public meetings in private are still being held there, with the name of Hora Cero / Zero Hour, a concept that connects with the notion of starting from zero in a society so afraid of citizen initiatives. Zero Hour is in fact an independent space with a lot of communicating vessels with my literary generation called Year Zero, of which I have recently compiled a narrative anthology translated into English by O/R Books in New York. Continue reading

Fideless / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Last Christmas with Fidel Castro

-Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

December is a sad month, precious, blue-lit and dreamily silent. I was born in this month. And in this month, in a year not so distant as it now appears, I shall return to Cuba with a Nobel Prize in Literature, the first of the Cuban Nobels, which I will rub in the face of the dictatorship that we will still have in Cuba by that date, and of which prize money I will use unto my ruination to hasten our liberty.

December is over before it barely starts. It is an atemporal month, achronological, almost uchronic [imaginary], outside the calendar, at the border of that mystery which is the changing year.

We are others, and we die piece by piece every December. In fact, almost never do all of us who started out the year reach the end of it. We who gather together this month do not know if we will get to the next month a year from now. Death reaps the best among us. Every December there are fewer and fewer Cubans left. We survivors are the worst, we are the one discarded, even by the gods.

This Christmas 2014 is also our first Death Celebration* without the dictator, who died on us without ever facing justice. With Fidel deceased ** (1926-2014), all now seems easy, expeditious, unnecessary. The Revolution was a nightmare had by a few million. The memory is renewed at a vertiginous velocity. In a little while, the new Cubans will not know or be able to spell the unnameable name of Fidel Castro – which in a few months will barely resonate in the curriculum for the Prehistory of the Nation, dissolved by the virtue of apathy and the amnesia of new generations.

The death of the hegemonic one has surprised us all. He didn’t even say goodbye, the jerk, just as he didn’t announce his arrival but rather imposed it by death blows, lies and evil. Fidel Castro has gone forever from our nation and he has left us incredulous and distrustful, to the point that we prefer to pay attention to this historic milestone. We still do not believe ourselves to be alone, without the delirious despot. We will not believe it, either, when his brother Raúl Castro announces it to us, surrounded by his octogenarian military elite — perhaps on January 28, 2015, to make Fidel’s death coincide with the birth of José Martí.

But today once again is Christmas. Part of the lost country will gather together the best of its spirit on this date. Hope will cease to be a congenital illness, and the blue light of the child-god will warm our home-mangers, making them less awful, making us less perverse in being human zeroes who aspire to be human beings,*** after a half-century or half- millennium of multitudinarially murdering each other over nothing.

It is Christmas once again, my soul brothers and sisters, and in 2015 will shine the words that for centuries should have been spoken among Cuban, but which have remained buried by the string of tyrants that have brought about our unnecessary independence. Perhaps it is the season to grow closer to being a civilization of free cosmopolitans and move ourselves away from Slaveamerican barbarity.

It is Christmas, and I love you all.

Translator’s Notes:

*The author is making a play on words in Spanish, using the common name for Christmas, “Navidades” (Nativity) to contrast with the quasi-rhyming word for morbidity, “Morbilidades.” 

**An alliterative play on words – deceased in Spanish is “fallecido.” 

*** A play on words in Spanish – the word for “zeroes” sounds very similar to the word for “beings”

25 December 2014