While some imitated the exploits of Errol Flynn, others were startled with the reality of a man who is saddled with, even today, more legends than names. They call him the Antillean Gaddafi forhis eccentric arrogance; Donatien, the Marquis de Sade, for his sadism, perfectionism and radical atheism; The Goatee, for his sparse beard look; The Master of Censorship; The Prince of Terror; The Cuban Dzerzhinsky; … and in his native district he is known as the Butcher of Artemis.
Cuba continues to be an invented reality where the good was lost in search of the better; too much reason was destroyed in the souls of many. So, continuing with this parade of cynicism and shame, today I am commenting on Ramiro Valdes Menendez, born April 28, 1932, with very peculiar characteristics. Combining near perfection, patience and persistence, with an enviable willpower. Rigid, obsessive, secretive and inflexible, he is reluctant to change. He is stubborn bordering on alienation, he speaks softly and pauses, where everyone has to shut up; and those who don’t, are silenced. The cause always surpasses even the value of human life.
More than an illustrious figure, he seems like a satanic and dark character from a thriller. The guilty are released from prison, the victims do not escape the cemetery. Some may not know that after the Moncada attack, and during his time at the Model Prison on the Isle of Pines, Ramiro was diagnosed as a psychopath and confined to the ward for mental patients. Political manipulation? We have no certainty. There are photographs showing him in the Sierra Maestra with the rank of commander wearing a typical Russian hat.
He questions candidly, breathes fire and does not feel the pain of others; he propagates power with a terrifying force that some find attractive. He travels in business class and loves the charm of luxury; he’s not a man to be easily carried away by feverish amusements or showy indiscretions. He only asks questions when he knows the answers. Force is not always an advantage, so he often make the mistake of underestimating people who have nothing to lose.
For Ramiro, power is passion, drama and amusement, a portent of adventures, a unique temple where few deserve to enter. Therefore he shares the same code, the archetype of organized crime, “An adversary who does not surrender must be exterminated.”
With an athletic body, he exercises with Prussian discipline despite his advanced age. He has no known addiction, does not drink more than two glasses of red wine that is neither expensive nor exclusive, though famously French. The list of people he trusts is short.
Commander Ramiro and General Castro Ruz — unlike what many believe — are not enemies, they are rivals who show their teeth sharpened for ripping and smiling. It is said that, like revolutionary consanguinity, both share the existence of the chromosome 47 XYY, which is attributed by some genetic studies as the origin of criminal behavior. Clearly, when specimens like these are on the loose, we should be concerned.
December 31 2012