Reinaldo Escobar, 6 April 2015 — Recently, there came to light a chance encounter between former Cuban president Fidel Castro and a group of Venezuelans visiting a Havana school. A story broadcast on national TV gave a brief overview of the little school that the then Maximum Leader (today Historic Leader) ordered to be built in the exclusive Siboney neighborhood so that the children wouldn’t have to walk such long distances. Going to school there are the children of the staff serving the place known as “ground zero”, where today Fidel is spending his old age. From his “Castro-mobile” he waved, shook hands, asked questions and offered predictions. “He’s alive,” the excited visitors commented joyously.
A few miles from his private home, is the block of 11th between 10th and 12th n Vedado. There the commander had another site of work and repose. Those who have visited this sanctuary affirm that it features a gym and a swimming pool and, when “the boss” was enthusiastic about cattle, it came to have one or several cows for experiments. Those were the days when he was more alive than anyone and his compañera in the struggle, Celia Sanchez, shared all her concerns with him in this place.
Each time the motorcade that carried him came and went from that house, the guards turned the traffic light red at the corner of 11th and 12th. Poking out of the windows of the Oldsmobiles, the Alfa Romeos, the Mercedes Benzes, according to the time, were the muzzles of his personal security detail and one had to wait for the parsimony of the soldier on duty for the green light to appear.
Time has passed and many vultures have flown over the Plaza of the Revolution. Nobody important passes through there any more. The old traffic light, independent of the traffic network, no longer makes sense and has been retired, literally ripped down. Its supports and cables hang for no reason over the middle of the street. The checkpoint where the guards relax in the shade remains. You still have to identify yourself to enter the block. A life has become a museum piece, and no longer makes any decisions, only memories, documents, photos, correspondence, that some day will be consigned to oblivion.