A Very Brave Guy, or a Brief Sketch of a Cuban Story / Miriam Celaya

Carlos heroically confronts a gladiolus. Photograph from the Internet

Once upon a time, there was a very brave guy. His name was Carlos Serpa, and he was so reckless that he even risked his life by infiltrating the terrible Caribbean amazons known as The Ladies in White, who had the very dangerous habit of taking long walks through Havana’s streets wielding their deadly gladioli and threatening everybody’s existence and the civic peace because of the simple and whimsical misfortune that their husbands or sons had been locked up by a kindly old ruler who only wanted the best for the slaves at his service… sorry, I meant for his people.

But Carlos (aka “Emilio” in “real life”), courageous beyond reproach, never daunted. He was not going to shrink in the presence of the Ladies’ fury, who insisted again and again on demanding freedom for their frightful relatives, magnanimously held in tactful withdrawal to prevent polluting society with their crazy ideas of that scourge of humanity called democracy. No sir. Such evil would not go unpunished while he could prevent it.

So it was that this popular hero pretended for years to be the spokesperson for the awesome Ladies who caused so much damage. He would report how the Ladies never had the courage to retreat before the just indignation of the people and how they would cowardly insist on marching every Sunday. They are so scary! Carlos also wanted to show that, in addition, they would make public pilgrimages because they received funding from a nearby, powerful, satanic empire that never ceases to envy the prosperity and happiness of Cubans.

The Ladies are so ungrateful. They have all the opportunities of this regime, with the privilege of a generous ration card that guarantees your power, with the most spanking-new health care system that any country has ever had, and with all the advantages that being a relative of a political prisoner in Cuba entails! They, who most likely refuse to offer their services to agriculture or house construction, while the leaders of this country are in charge of the complex issues of its administration and make sacrifices in their lives by traveling the world over and exerting themselves staying in luxury hotels to denounce, fully aware of the consequences, the vices of capitalism.

Those ladies, I repeat, should be ashamed to be getting help and support from abroad, from that same capitalism that our leaders insist on unmasking by pretending to be bourgeois, and having to waste in those grand purposes enormous resources that could well be utilized in other of the country’s needs. Damn the imperialist embargo!

Fortunately, Carlitos’s sensitivity has no limits, so, with the heroism that the action called for, he didn’t hesitate in propagating fallacies through enemy radio, in order to demonstrate that such a malevolent radio station and its malevolent financiers are liars. I don’t think I need to comment here on the lack of solidarity of that radio station’s journalists, who sometimes took as much as two minutes in responding to the desperate claim of Carlos Serpa (they are such criminals!) while he waited to put in a claim for the imaginary damage he received from the national Revolutionary Police and for the fake threats that the political police made. It is well-known to independent journalists, political and common prisoners in this country, and even to the terrific Yoani Sánchez that those nice boys are incapable of causing harm to anyone, not even with the petals… of a gladiolus.

Perhaps due to the lack of space, or because for that proverbial modesty that characterizes our valiant fighters at the Interior Ministry, Carlos –- who didn’t waver when he declared that the enemy empire finances the insurrection inside this Island — never told us how much money he had been paid in his capacity as spokesperson for the financed Ladies. He also did not state how we would be able to confirm the information he provides. Because it is clear that we are not going to fall into the same vices as the enemy radio, which encourages fabrications without verifying the truth of the information, and blames the errors on the reporter (as if a mere reporter were under the obligation of being responsible for what he reports). What’s next! This was probably one of Carlitos’s mental lapses. Poor baby. Either that or the haste with which the material to keep our people informed was prepared. Because, without a doubt, this material is directed at our people, and only at our people.

I don’t want to overwhelm my readers with any more details of this fantastic story. Such was Carlos’s glorious media success. Not only have the newspapers here published an interview with the long-suffering defender, now emotionally penitent after facing so many deadly dangers, but he has also appeared and reappeared on TV repeatedly, in a documentary about his covert activities in which he made great display of pretending and cold-bloodedness. That’s why many of us are left with the wish to know more.

We wanted to know, above all, what reasons our brave leaders had to “dismiss” now such a valuable employee who had climbed so high and hard on the podium of subversion, and who seemed to enjoy the full confidence of the enemy. He even had a valuable US visa, which he could have used to reach the very belly of the beast and become the sixth. He would have been infinitely more useful unmasking such powerful opponents.

I don’t know. I tend to think that our paternal government feared exposing him so much and losing him. But, at any rate, it’s a shame that they have unmasked him now, when so, so many uprisings of ungrateful agitators are being produced in the world, who also receive financing in exchange for being massacred: we must keep the bad guys in the crosshairs. I think we were better protected when our veteran agent “Emilio” lost sleep for our benefit inside the very same den of this kind of postmodern jellyfish, the Ladies in White.

Let’s hope to God that, this time, it’s not like in 2003, when a small group of agents of the Ministry of the Interior, captured inside the ranks of the counterrevolution itself, was presented to the public. At that time, the political guard worked so convincingly that it even succeeded in converting a pervert into a combatant; however, with the show of heroes throughout Cuba, they could not prevent that, incomprehensibly, after incarcerating the most dangerous internal enemies, groups of dissidents proliferated within the country. This multiplying of enemies has no explanation, for almost each of the infiltrated agents that have been unmasked, ten hostile reporters have surfaced. And, apparently, the pool of mercenaries is guaranteed; Carlos Serpa himself tells us so when he assures us that “there will always be an Emilio.”

Translated by Norma Whiting

1 March 2011