The Last Corner / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo #Cuba

A devotee of Saint Lazarus. (EFE)

A devotee of Saint Lazarus. (EFE)

Every year is a little more decadent than the last. Religiosity in Cuba has become a thing of barbarians, even to the point of a medieval superstition of the masses, repressive and cruel, out of pure fear of death in the midst of the apathy of a claustrophobic and inefficient country where poor animals and the best of human beings pay with their lives (in ritual sacrifices and sneak attacks). 2012 was no exception, rather it was the climax.

The procession of those payers of promises of the last two days to the shrine of El Rincon is a national scandal, a carnival that makes the flesh crawl of anyone who conserves a minimum of intellect and morality (these two utopias that no socialist handbook bothers itself about). With miles around seized by the army and the political police, the remnant of God on this Island, incarnated in the democracidal demagoguery of our Catholic Cardinal, must feel happy attending the apocalypse of a nation. ApoCubalypse.

Ever more misery and materialism to the point of idiocy. People crawling and clawing at their innocent children, as if to assure another half century or another half millennium of horror. Rocks, ropes, bricks, chains, torn sacks as clothing, a rotten stench, peeing in the gutters, trafficking in holy water as if it were a miraculous balm, dim lighting inspired by Dante, people barefoot on a collage of wax and the pandemic of spitters, drunks or raving lunatics or both, cripples and idiots, undoubtedly violent types, tropical theatrics with  attributes worthy of a satanic bible, without clearly remembering who the Lazarus of the crutches might have been and the dogs that never licked his sores as props. Increasingly selling more and more crap, fried pork carcasses and trinkets that rust the next day (today), apocryphal and ecumenical Christmas postcards, cryptocapitalism of the 16th century, all to the beat of the rheumatic rhythm of reggaeton recently prohibited* by an ancestral Revolution.

From the pulpit, scolding and diatribe with a half-smile half-sneer. They dare not reject their muddy faithful, because these are the only days of the Lord when the carnivalesque mob fills the church, but they do warn them they are in mortal sin, one by one, as if it were only a dirty little secret of the confessional (and it is, a people so infantalized that they take refuge in hedonism to flee from History), and not a consequence of living in a wacko nation through decades of stubborn pathetic despotism. We are reminded, of course (and the rotting flowers catalyze the synthesia), of the merciless death that will soon turn the cockroaches to dust (the children chant it with “here comes the Boogeyman and he’s going to eat you up”), and it is this terror, and not faith in the Truth, that rudely pushes the herd to God.

Disgust, vertigo, nausea. I felt the anthropological horror and an immeasurable pity at seeing myself indistinguishable between the Cuban nothing and nobodies there, yesterday.

We already know, language exists because communication is impossible. When the lie replaces the transparency of love, that love doesn’t shine and kill, but is blind and forces a lifelong sterile existence. This I saw, this I lived. The outrageous submission into the hands of a lord more fossil than futile, the nervous glances of those who are hoping to get a family member out of prison to be able to get the fuck out of Cuba, the coarse and invasive laughter before the difference of someone like me still seeming beautiful and free in the midst of the complacency, the walkie-talkies poorly disguised like the hypostasis of a gun to my neck at the zero hour of the debacle (F-Day** or, perhaps, its general rehearsal on Ch-Day**).

Forgive them, Saint Lazarus, because they know very well what they are doing. Cubansummatum est!

Orlando Luis Pardo

Translated from and image taken from Diario de Cuba.

Translator’s notes:
*Cuba recently announced it was banning reggaeton and other music with “aggressive lyrics,” or that is “sexually explicit, obscene, or misrepresents the inherent sensuality of Cuban women.”
** F-Fidel, Ch=Chavez

18 December 2012