A Lonely "Cauldron": A CDR Party Lacking Enthusiasm

There is not much enthusiasm left in the neighborhoods to celebrate around the “common pot” of the poor. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 28 September 2019 — This Friday, September 27, was the date when the members of the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) prepare a party, on the eve of the founding of an organization that over time has lost power in the neighborhoods. But, unlike other years, in 2019 the streets were almost empty and the famous “cauldron” (the soup of the poor, some call it) was only cooked on a few blocks in Havana.

In the El Cerro neighborhood, a huge and lonely cooking pot placed over a fire and planted in the middle of the street constituted the entire celebration, in which only three men and one old woman took the opportunity to remember “the old days” when the 28th was the scene of dancing and eating. There was no music, no rum, no snacks, cake or croquettes like in other years. Nor was the Cuban flag hanging from the houses, nor were there decorative paper chains or public events to deliver certificates to the outstanding cederistas (members of the CDR).

Some justify the lack of enthusiasm this year by the fact that in 2020 the organization will celebrate its 60th year and they want to “save all the energy and resources” for that moment, a cederista who also works as a cameraman at the Cuban Radio and Television Institute (ICRT) who is part of the audiovisual filming team to commemorate the six decades of the organization told this newspaper.

This is how this party imposed by decree was experienced in Havana, at a time when the whole country fears the return of the worst years of crisis after the fall of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc. (14ymedio)

However, the little enthusiasm on this evening seems to point more to the lack of resources and the tense economic situation that the Island is going through. “Before they gave us a pig’s head and the neighbors contributed garlic, onions and some vegetables to make the soup, but this year nobody wants to give food or money,” says El Pinto, who lives in a 12-story building in Centro Habana.

“When I went around asking a lot of people what they could contribute, they responded by saying that ‘given the situation’ they could not give anything,” he explains. “Besides, what were we going to prepare the soup for if the people in this neighborhood are for something else. You couldn’t get the young people to come to a CDR party even if you tied them up.”


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