Goose Stepping / Yoani Sánchez

My neighborhood is experiencing a small shock, a change that comes in the form of new asphalt, the workers are removing the pavement and adding a black sticky layer which, in a few days, will once again be solid under the tires. We’re all amazed. The happiness would be greater were it not for the reasons behind this road restoration, the impulse that underlies these works. The whole Plaza of the Revolution and the “frozen zone” where I live is getting ready for the big parade on April 15. A sea of military power seeking to dissuade all those who want change in Cuba.

For weeks, the parking lot at the Latin American Stadium has been the practice site for soldiers testing their goose step. Forty-five degrees of extended leg calling to mind a puppet pulled by its strings, by a cord that is lost somewhere up there in the immensity of power. I don’t know how a military parade can be beautiful, what emotion can be found in these synchronized automatic beings who pass by with their faces turned to the leader on the podium. But the resulting effect I know well: Afterwards they will say the government is armed to the teeth and those who take to the streets in protest will be crushed against the same pavement that is being repaired today. The marching of the squadrons will be a warming to us that the Party not only has militants to defend itself, but also anti-riot troops and elite corps.

The choreography of authoritarianism is what I would call it, but others prefer to believe that this will be a demonstration of independence, of a national autonomy which, in reality, resembles Robin Crusoe abandoned on his Island. But beyond my doubts about uniforms, my allergy to a procession of squadrons marching in unison, today I’m concerned about the tar, that recently-laid asphalt that the tracks of the tanks will damage.