14ymedio, Havana, Miriam Celaya, 18 December 2016 — I’m clueless as to what they are called in other cultures, but for Cubans here and abroad, the word “sapo,” which literally means “toad,” is a term applied to the typical individual who always shows up in a situation where there is fun, optimism or joy, for the sole purpose of ruining it, spoiling the fun, souring the wine, in short – using the verb form of the word, sapear – acting like a toad (or in English, like a killjoy, a drag, a sourpuss, a wet blanket).
In Cuba, hedonistic and smiling despite adversities, being a killjoy is one of the many ways of being a drag, which, among us, is the worst of defects. Understand the subtlety: you can be a drag without necessarily being a killjoy, but it is irrefutable, that absolutely all killjoys are drags. That is why the killjoy can earn the dislike of everyone present in a second, in any setting and circumstance. “Don’t be a killjoy” is an expression of resounding rejection among us, against the individual who sabotages pleasure in any of its manifestations.
That is why it’s all the more curious and contradictory that in Cuba the killjoy has been inflated to become an institution and State policy. In fact, in the last 60 years the Power has been in the hands of a small group of green batrachians who systematically and by decree, are committed to put down any hint of popular happiness.
In the last 60 years the Power has been in the hands of a small group of green batrachians [toads, as in killjoy] who systematically and by decree, are committed to put down any hint of popular happiness
If anyone has any doubts about this, suffice it to list a few brushstrokes of the unrepentant olive-green killjoys: the proscription of traditional festivities like Christmas, the rationing of food and everything that meant prosperity and comfort, Volunteer Work to ruin the workers’ Sunday rest, the exclusion of a lot of very good foreign and local music from national radio stations, the imposition of mournful commentaries of the calendar of “communist saints” list to the detriment of religious holidays (Holy Week, among others), and many other examples too numerous to list here.
In these final days of 2016, another thorny and barren year, and after barely surviving the recent novena of the Deceased in Chief (Killjoy par excellence), Cuban workers have been informed that traditional Christmas festivities will not be held, festivities which in many State labor centers are practically the only celebrations almost devoid of political nuance. And I say “almost” because it is known that, at least officially, Cuban workers do not celebrate the birth of the Baby Jesus or the advent of the New Year, but the glorious anniversary of the triumph of the revolution. (Lowercase letters are intentional).
Only that mourning must seem like a spontaneous expression of the people, that is why it has not been decreed by the government nor divulged in the official means, but it has been ordered from each Ministry to the directors of its different institutions
Anyway, there will not be any hullaballoo. “We are in mourning,” according to the secretaries of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) and the directors of each state work center, minor killjoys responsible for revealing the bad news, which is in addition to the already known suspension of festivities and popular celebrations in the towns in Cuba’s interior.
But the mourning must seem like a spontaneous expression of the people, that is why it has not been decreed by the government nor divulged in the official media, but it has been ordered from each Ministry to the directors of its different institutions, who in turn have “indicated “in writing to the Directors of Companies subordinated to them, that this time the celebration should be “simple” through “political activities that can be in the framework of a lunch for all workers.” And, though the official document does not express it, the order is that there will be no alcoholic beverages in the aforementioned lunch. Mourning is mourning, which means that one doesn’t really need to be sad, just look like it.
The reference comes from the Business Group of Design and Engineering of Construction (GEDIC) and the Superior Organ of Business Management (OSDE), both of the Ministry of Construction, to which more than thirty companies are subordinated at the national level, including those responsible for supervising the construction work of the Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM).
It was in one of these subordinate companies where the Director, after successfully fulfilling his mission of killjoy in office duties and announcing the non-holiday party, went to the office of the superior chief where, according to stupefied witnesses, the killjoy-directors gathered there toasted with a generous drink of Havana Club Reserve to the memory of the Main Batrachian killjoy.