Nemesia Rodriguez is the most famous person from the Zapata Swamp. She lives in Soplillar, which is nothing more than houses around a ball field near Playa Larga, in a simple masonry house with iron railings at the door and a comfortable sofa — a gift from by Fidel Castro — in the living room. Friendly, talkative, open, humble in her manner and her environment, she welcomed this stranger who interrupted the sewing work, with no reproach for the unexpected visit.
I confess that I sat in her uncomfortable little living room: three huge portraits of Fidel Castro, at my back and side, one of Raul and another of Celia Sanchez watched me all the time, smiling and victorious from the simple innocent victim they knew how to bring to their trench. The portrait of the mother dead in the April bombing — an amplification given by Kcho — lies amidst the Cuban presidents. When I arrived, Nemesia had in front of her, covered with her sewing work that she put aside to talk with me, a Bible.
I listened with respect. I was not there to provoke mournful memories, or discuss about the two opposing Cubas that we defend, but to know her closely. I felt it was my pain for her lost mother. I remained silent before all her words of affection and gratitude to people who, for me, the deserve the most resounding oblivion, but to her they brought some interested compassion and support.
I understand because I too have seen my mother in distress and crying every time the Ministry of the Interior (MININT) interrogates her for the crime of being my mother, and the murky emotions against those individuals and bosses are inevitable. The pain of Nemesia is of being an orphan, endless pain that no one wants to come to, it is dignified that we remain silent before it; her appreciation of those who see as protectors those who definitely damage them, and then don’t want to know, nor can they repair the damage, it’s understandable and human.
But there is forgiveness, that few attempt to cultivate in this country — and never those who should ask for it — and reconciliation among Cubans who have amassed mountains of errors, as high as the Sierra Maestra.
They encourage all of the grudges of the past and only speak of unity for the trenches and the power, not of forgiveness and coexistence, they composed this poisoned elegy of politicking and manipulation, and have made millions of children repeat, they provoke a victim to pubicly repeat their bleak history, and swell all the sadness of the victim in this last trip of 2011 in Santiago de Cuba, and they could not prevent their ending up in intensive care in Saturnino Lora hospital because the heart failed so much revived emotion, “They don’t speak any more in the suffering of the past because they kill you, not the planes,” the doctors told the MININT officials, Nemesia’s guides, those, those who enjoy cultivating bad memories in a country that needs reconciliation and to speak of the present, who are the real culprits of every open sore still on Cuban consciences.
And that, apparently, they lack.