Collera and Capote, Second Rate Agents / Angel Santiesteban

For some time I’ve wanted to talk about the media series on the Cuban “agents”, a completely carnivalesque show where they invent records with long years of service, unfortunately I was damned surprised to recognize the two of them.

I recognized him from being part of a fraternal organization to which I belonged for twenty-four years, and despite his reaching the highest levels within the organization, and his recognized facility with language to communicate, I never maintained a close relationship with this person. Something strange in me, that I’m given to fraternize with the majority of my brothers, but something in his particular case made me uneasy. Without explanation, I was unjustifiable overcome with a rejection of him, until his obvious anti-Masonic acts began. Ultimately, for his disdainful underestimation of the fraternity, he was first sanctioned for several years to lose his Masonic rights and be separated from the organization, and later he was expelled by the Supreme Court of Justice, confirmed by the Most Serene Upper Masonic House. He was the only Grand Master ever expelled from the organization. Quite a feat!

José Manuel Collera Vento

We knew that Mr. Collera Vento had businesses, illegal in the eyes of the government, and he survived in this way, because not even he himself remembers the last time he treated a baby in his pediatrics office. What can one infer from the fact that he was sought out by State Security, typical of their modus operandi, and blackmailed to cooperate for whatever they offered him. Once you respond affirmatively, all is lost. And Mr. Collera thought, like the great manipulator he is, that he could emerge unscathed from this blackmail, and they were squeezing him, threatening him until he was filled to the brim with excrement.
Not only did he sell his Masonic family when he sowed division among his brothers, but he betrayed his son, also a Mason, and they say that he now hides, for shame or for fear, in some part of the United States and doesn’t want to hear any news of his father, not forgetting that he deceived his mother and ex-wife, who left for Miami. Mr. Collera lied to his brother Masons through the oath that he took with his hand on the Bible, and the worst thing is that he betrayed himself. The final sad thing about this gentleman is that he has run out of land, they don’t want him over there and much less here.

The other “agent” I know is a fellow writer whom I called more than a friend, brother, supposedly, a gift life had given me. Mr. Raúl Capote also had been caught at some point, or he just gave up. Several times he wore me out asking to take his kids in my car to high school, where they were harassed over the counterrevolutionary activities of their father: they weren’t given credit for tests even though they passed them, they marked them down for misbehaviors they didn’t commit, they stole their things, obviously with the knowledge of the school officials, among other abusive practices.

It seems to me that therein lies the weakness of Capote: his children. Through them they conquered him, broke his will. We parents know that we don’t have the right to ruin our children’s future, who hasn’t felt the same? The biggest shame was that they lived off Capote’s mother who, from the United States, kept sending them remittances, at times ignoring her own welfare to give them a decent life.

Raúl Antonio Capote

Capote never thought he’d end up like this. Knowing him, he thought he could play both sides with State Security, and take one side and the other without ever knowing their treachery. In fact, he sold me my laptop for five hundred dollars’ possibly it was some donation, because he told me that he had received several for his Cuban Pen Club project.

His daughter was baptized by Dagoberto Valdés, then Director of the magazine Vitral, and I can still hear the sweet sound of the girl calling her “padrinito” who loaded her up with presents and attention purely from his feeling and particular affection for her, because to my son, who participated in the same activities when we worked on the magazine as jurors of its contest, he never felt obliged to go beyond his duty as a friend and host.

For both “agents,” their greatest punishment is their conscience, above all at night when they lay their heads on their pillows and remember that they are cowards and mercenaries.

A shot in the temple would be their only relief, only to do it they would have to have what they couldn’t find when they should have said “no.”

May 25 2011