Grammatical Ambiguity / Reinaldo Escobar

Young people in Camagüey are faithful to his/their* ideas.

My friends tell me that lately I’m getting to be too “Camagüey.” In my previous post I put two audacious (imaginary) delegates at the First National Conference of the Cuban Communist Party, hailing from two little villages: Piedrecitas and Magarabomba, both near the town of Florida. Some — pointedly and thoughtlessly — asked me if this “closeness” didn’t imply some kind of grammatical political ambiguity, suggesting in a veiled way that our solutions will come from the peninsula of the same name.

To get even with them for this thrust I offer you a photo of this propaganda billboard, located a few yards from the Camagüey Train Station. This is definitely a grammatical vagueness of profound political ambiguity, typical of the imprecise use of the third person possessive.

To whose ideas are young people from Camagüey faithful? Their own? Or to those of the gentleman represented in the drawing? I can attest that those with whom I have spoken have their own ideas, appropriate to their time and their interests.

*Translator’s note: In Spanish the third person possessive pronoun agrees with the “thing possessed,” not with the “owner of the thing.” Hence, it is not grammatically clear whether the young people of Camagüey agree with their own ideas or with Fidel Castro’s.

17 January 2011