Hopefully Cuba Deserves It / Francis Sánchez

Photo: Francis Sánchez

Trapped by the crowd, he had his back pressed against the wall of the movie theater. Everyone was shouting, demanding an attentive response, as if he could extricate himself and easily take some phrase in that scandal with which he’d been squashed.

In the rarefied atmosphere of the night, plus the collective agitation, and the fear and horror in his eyes, it seemed like he was reenacting the scene in which the volunteers force the child Marti to say “Vive Spain!” so he won’t be killed in front of his mother.

I didn’t know now how they threatened him.

I came to him and, without saying a word, I only passed my hand over his head as if he were smaller than me.

The others, disappointed, gave me a look that is given to a stranger who has walked onto the wrong film set, before smiling with an air of superiority, turning back to the interrogation. It seemed they were torturing him, suffocating him with technical appraisals.

I had to say that this film, “Marti, the eye of the canary,” like “Suite Habana” and “Madagascar,” was humanly perfect, great, no less than a sunrise, simply a song of those gagged by pain and despair. That he, Fernando Perez, the lanky gray-haired filmmaker, was just a very special child behind his glasses, and that was considered the most relevant secret that could be drawn from the bottom of his work.

When they took him by force, I wanted to scream, so as not to go without knowing–though there was a danger that the others heard–that I received his message and retain the compromising letter, the discourse on freedom of expression, and that I thanked him for putting his ear to the ground to understand the sounds of nature that are the words of the poor.

“Hopefully Cuba deserves it,” was, in reality, the only thing I said.

From my Diary of Dreams.
Written at dawn, 11 January 2011
Photogram of the film, “Marti, the eye of the canary” (2010
Director: Fernando Perez

January 11 2011