Gathering of the Disappointed / Jeovany J. Vega

Work by Yordanis Garmendia

Within Cuban society there is a sector, for lack of a better name, which I wouldn’t dare to cite statistics for. I’m referring to the thousands — or millions? — of Cubans who because of the most varied life experiences have migrated from the ultra-conservative camp, that of the most orthodox party supporters of revolutionary intransigence, to situate themselves in the center of the dial where the more moderate and realist frequencies resonate, without this always implying — I must clarify — a clear break with the strategic tenants of “their” Revolution, conceived from this moment as a more personal concept.

The liveliest people converge at this gathering of the disappointed in the most diverse ways. I’m not talking of the laid-off who, crawling to ascend the Establishment came across obstacles they couldn’t overcome, nor of those who embezzled by the fistful but didn’t get enough; but of those who capsized from different experiences: the one who spoke a sincere word on an “inopportune” occasion, the one who didn’t lie, even the one whose charisma carried him upward toward power and who tried to be consistent faced with the undeniable reality which didn’t allow him to be. Between these types there is an abysmal moral difference: the first, spearheads of the lance — disposable material tossed out at the end of their useful cycle — in their ultimate act of finally taking off the mask and revealing the camouflaged opportunist who was always there inside; the latter, the authentic traitors, carrying a sincere pain, a frustration they can barely carry; but among all of them they form a pool that at this point in the novel has already emitted its final verdict.

How to treat of a mass scattered across the diverse social and generational strata, without a precise location, is difficult to define, sociologically, especially because this process of re-tuning with reality is frequently produced, unconfessed, for fear of reprisals from the environment or of betraying of one’s own love with the passing of years, and this is turned into an unfathomable phenomenon, because to try to decipher it — if such a thing were possible — something that transforms that convulses and matures the soul of a man.

Ruminating on their disappointment in silence, moved those who ran from the left to the left, to a more objective posture, and who previously defended their positions loudly and beating their chests, they are seen today with the verve of old deadened, lowering their heads faced with the evidence and keeping a coy silence when yesterday, they shouted, veins bursting. But this only applied to the ashamed man, he who is still under the most mistaken concept, defending his principles from a true faith. For those whose shouts were nothing more than vulgar fakery, the new reality poses no conflict of conscience, because for them the issue is as simple as before: they only need to change their chameleon’s skin and swear with the exact same hypocrisy, the same mimicry as ever.

So, we Cubans go, in this rare symbiosis of opposites: joining the grotesque with the admirable, the sublime with the petty, the most authentic with the most refined fakery; tilling the entire spectrum of spiritual passions and virtues, from the miserable ruins, the beggar’s smallest crumb, to the dignity that would rather die than sell the desecrated host. Meanwhile, continuing the perpetual replacement of pieces in the base of the machinery, other peons with new energy, new spearheads of tomorrow, stepping up to their inevitable turn in this cycle, also having a safe place in this gathering of turnover and oblivion.

September 16 2011