Landy* and Lunacy / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

The nutcases approach me.

In Cuba it was the same. The United States need not be the exception.

Crazy. Beautiful. Docile. The sufficient causes of great massacres lie at the margins of great truths.

Cubanness, for example.

There is no genocide more perfect than Cubanness.

It began with torture on a ladder, and a poem bad and then some forged two hundred years later.  A mirror of tackiness.

Remember the slap that Antonio Maceo gave José Martí?  It wasn’t a punch, it’s written in the confiscated pages of the victim’s Campaign Diary.  It was a slap, which is how women in Cuba are hit when they misbehave or, as in this case, when they don’t shut up and they think they own all the explanations.

Martí as a faggot among the mass of mulatto machos from the mountains.

Maceo, with thousands of deaths under his belt, who, according to another war diary, killed an informer, a black woman who sold sweets in the rebel camp.  She didn’t choke from the rope, due to her rickets, so the bronze tyrant** lowered her hanging body so that he could break her neck and finish her off.

I love my country’s history.

My beautiful and lovely homeland.

Trucks drove up the Sierra Maestra with arms and drove down with coffee.  Batista’s little criminal soldiers, who couldn’t even kill flies, had to be paid 500 pesos (the ones that could kill weren’t there, but rather awaiting some declaration from the Sierra Maestra itself to go behead the leaders of the urban underground).

Things started early, don’t be fooled.

The armored train cost a pretty penny, but it paid off.

It seems that Martí too hired this or that anarchist for some selective assassinations there, in the very same metropolis that, in the end, won the war against Spain (the bloodiest that a New Yorker like him could imagine).

None of this is mine, I say it as a warning to those “democreformers” who follow my writing with guilt, trying to excommunicate me from their big bland cake of a homeland (anyway, I don’t want to chew on those scraps).

All is apocryphal and I disown responsibility among so many spokespersons.  They’re only nutcases.  Beautiful little nutcases that approach me and tell me their stories.

In Cuba as in the United States.

I still don’t understand exactly why.

Maybe they see in it my eyes.

They see that my eyes are the only eyes in the world that won’t forget their historical horror.

They’re right.


I love them so much that I couldn’t survive if one sensible day they ceased to approach me.

You, come to me now.

Translator’s notes:
Landy is a nickname used by Orlando’s closest friends and family.
**This is a pun on El Titán de Bronce (The Bronze Titan) the historical sobriquet by which Maceo is known among Cubans.

Translated by: Alexis Rhyner and Yoyi el Monaguillo

12 June 2013

The Cannes Film Festival Closes / Miguel Iturria Savon

I have visited the Spanish Mediterranean but Cannes is, for me, a futuristic city approximated by its famous international film festival. The 66th ceremony closed with awards presented by Steven Spielberg, president of the jury that awarded the Grand Prix to the film Inside Llewyn Davis, from the Coen brothers, and the Palm D’or to The Life of Adele, from director Abdellatif Kechiche—a Tunisian living in France. Mexican Amat Escalante was regaled as best director and the awards for best actor and actress went to Berenice Bejo of The Past, and Bruce Dern (Nebraska)  followed closely by the memorable Michael Douglas, largely applauded for his convincing portrayal of Liberace in Behind the Candelabra.

Before the Cannes Jury vote, as controversial as always, the name of the coastal Southern France city resounded in European television and newspapers by stealing the jewel that should have lit the female stars. They compensated the loss with their elegant and costly dresses on the red carpet inhabited by reporters and tourists; in addition to the critics’ claims, actors, directors, and producers, as attentive to the impact of their work as they are to the leading ladies’ glamour.

Judging from the critics and the comments posted on Twitter, Facebook and other social media, the film The Life of Adele, interpreted by French actresses Adéle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux, could have taken the grand prize. According to Carlos Boyeros, this film “is an intimate prodigy that searches for art for three hours in the feelings of a woman whom we follow throughout a decade of her existence…” Others, without ignoring the value of the piece, realize that the theme as well as the excessive sex scenes between the women is simply more of the same and harmonizes with the increasing protagonism of gays in Europe.

Among the numerous films presented and recognized in Cannes were the Japanese Like Father Like Son, directed by Herokaza-Kore-eda and The Past, from the Iranian filmaker Asghar Farhadi, author of the celebrated A Separation.

Translated by: Alexis Rhyner

27 May 2013

The Origin of Poverty / Ignacio Estrada

Julio César Solér Baró

Blogs at Misceláneas de Cuba

Claiming that the origins of poverty stem from politics is an insult.

Poverty has no roots in the wings of determined politicss and departing from the vast hunger created by the right-winged governments in the world, here, nonetheless, you have the example of the what the left has done for more than 70 years in Europe and the West; that which they continue to do in Cuba and North Korea, that what they did in Angola, Monzambique, Ethiopia, Combodia, Vietnam, Maoist China, Laos, Kampuchea and that which has been occurring in Venezuela.

The origin of poverty is segregation, in other words, the policies that create different kinds of development. This is fundamentally administrative rather than ideological.

The left had its opportunity to kick the “whores” to the street and take away their need for “sex” and there is the story: They did not accomplish this, Cuba, my country is a living example where the people have always died from hunger under the Castros and their damned Leftists, remember “Palo Cagao” and the “Island of Dust” in the “Marianao” where I discovered in my own flesh the acid and so many lies. We went to “free” school, voluntarily abandoning our souls and free will only to realize that in the exile of what we learned there that the rest of the world doesn’t give a damn, that we have to live this revalidating subjects and colliding with the 40-odd years with these basic subjects from which Marxism robbed all of its class hours in our 20s.

The origin of poverty, at the same time the origin of violence, is segregation. The latter is understood as the politics that create different kinds of development, the last being access to social well-being in a determined context, having today’s standard: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Translated by: Alexis Rhyner

14 June 2013