Guillermo Garcia, a Stallion Difficult to Characterize / Juan Juan Almeida #Cuba

Comandante de La Revolución Guillermo García
Commander of the Revolution Guillermo García

The Commander smiled and said, more with an air of conviction than inclination to repentance, “Gentlemen, gentlemen, we are of a certain age, and certainly will not be returning to school; but to prisons, nobody knows.”

This true story sums up the personality of a gentleman whom I should not describe with adjectives. A man for whom yachting is an ordeal, and although he does it with the boss, sailors, servants, bodyguards, and a very heterogeneous range of escorts, as he sets foot on land again he repeats, “The sea is no place for farmers.”

Guillermo García Frías is one of the Commanders of the Revolution, a very picturesque type difficult to characterize, to describe as stupid or genius. A native of El Platano in the heart of the Sierra Maestra, Pilon municipality, Granma province, he possesses an interesting view of life.

Not long ago someone threw him a party to try to reunite his countless children. No lack of food, beverages, cheerful guateque chords enlivened with cockfighting, pile driving, a greased pole, décimas, and the infectious beat of his inseparable and legendary oriental organ. But the singular touch was when Varguitas (his loyal chief of bodyguards), presented his sons and Guillermo asked, “What about you, my boy, whose son are you, who’s your mother?”

I remember once we traveled to Las Coloradas in Bayamo in the executive helicopter. I was born on December 2 and, as a birthday present, for many years I was invited to the ceremony commemorating the landing of the yacht Granma. On that occasion, perhaps from nervousness, or excess alcohol, Guillermo did not stop talking; and taking advantage of his permissive tone, irreverent, folksy, while his conversation was passing what appeared to be an analysis of the socio-political situation in Cuba, I approached him and disagreed with great respect, “…but Guillermo, in Cuba there is discontent, there is even dissent.”

“You think so?” For a second he looked something he didn’t find, called out to his security chief and without arrogance ordered, “Varguitas, serve us some Jim Beam and tell the driver to slow this thing up a little bit so that we can look at the faces of the people in the city.”

His order was carried out ipso facto, and in the brief descent we began to discover distracted people walking with their heads down, barely knowing they were being spied on. Children playing, running happily looking at the sky, trying to reach our craft like a dream. Old men who raised their arms and toothlessly smiled saying goodbye. And at every three or four corners we could see a small group of friends gathered around a bottle of rum or a game of dominoes.

“Look, my boy,” Commander Guillermo begin to prophesy with a definite aesthetic that I still can’t place, between shameless irony or wisdom, “There will always be the discontented, but there is no dissent, just a few dissidents who share the same passion of us, the leaders: Power.”

He paused, took a breath, swallowed a sip of his favorite Bourbon Whiskey and continued, “But these dissidents are lost competing among themselves, passionate in seeking outside what they don’t want within.”

Within grandiosity he approached the window and, with more guilt than pain, passed sentence, “These people you see have not lost their values, but time has petrified them, the inertia they are used to makes them behave like oxen facing cows in heat. Smart people say this is called Entropy.”

Juan Juan Almeida

December 25 2012