Message from Paquito de Rivera / POLEMICA: The 2007 Intellectual Debate

Message from Paquito de Rivera to Marta Valdés

Dear Marta (Valdés):

I congratulate you on your brave insertion into the group of Cuban intellectuals against the sadly famous ex-ex-ex cultural leader Luis Pavón, who, by the way, has been for a long time a perfect non-entity (pun intended). I hope this is just an introduction before you engage, with full force, him and those who physically conducted that bloody repression against those long-haired/short-skirted youngsters—as Zenaidita Romeu accurately calls them; no one has ever seen Pavón, or that moron Papito Serguera, or any other cultural leader, scissors in hand, go on to cut that long hair or cage those “foreignizing” youngsters at Coppelia, am I right? And given your renown sense of timing, I think I am right to be sure that you already have prepared a song to commemorate the UMAP, that shared idea between Raúl Castro and Che Guevara (maybe the song could have a che-che-che beat, right, you naughty one?). Pablito Milanés should add its first verse (the left-wing gay community would be grateful for that [truncated text in the original]

I patiently await that day when I will be able to support you on your next protest against the higher powers that caused so much pain to us (not moribund rams like Pavón and Serguera). The same goes for Antón Arrufat, Jorge Ángel Pérez, Zenaidita Romeu, Desiderio Navarro, Arturo Arango, Reynaldo González, César López, Norge Espinosa, Abelardo Estorino, Ramiro Guerra, Jaime Sarusky, Monseñor Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, Nancy Morejón, Ambrosio Fornet, Luciano Castillo, Sigfredo Ariel, Marta Valdés, Ena Lucía Portela, Waldo Leyva, Enrique Pineda Barnet, Jorge Luis Sánchez, Senel Paz, Rebeca Chávez, Reina María Rodríguez, Luisa Campuzano, Carlos Celdrán, Pancho García, Adelaida Fernández de Juan, Aries Morales, Magaly Muguercia, Pedro Pérez Sarduy, and the rest of the “protesters” who have “heroically” made firewood out of the fallen tree. This is your time to revindicate yourselves. The two big “R’s” are waiting for you: Ramiro and Raúl. Let’s just see if you have what Tito Puente had, and in excess!

From here to the Victoria (the neighborhood of the happy girls), always!

Paquito de Rivera

United States

Message from Paquito de Rivera to Fefé Diego

Hello Fefé:

Yes, it is true that we do not know each other personally, but you are quite familiar to me, because I always have heard good things about you on the part of people like Lichi, Rapi, Felipe Dulzaides, and especially my old and good friend Sergio Garcia-Marruz, who, out of that whole Vitier-Garcia Marruz-Dulzaides family, I consider—for many reasons—the best of them all. With Sergio I never had much of a friendship in Cuba, but he was the first one to destroy what never made sense from the time Marx wrote his first letter in his big book of German jokes.

I have neither the time nor the desire to immerse myself in all this “pavoroso” (horrific) gossip, but I have read with lots of laughs the stupidities written by our—or, better yet, YOUR—”brave intellectuals.” One whose name is Jiménez wrote, plagiarizing the dissidents (and I am not a dissident: I am a gusano—a worm—mind you): “Revolution belongs to all”… Oh save us all! Such shame, still today! Even your own brother Lichi had the nerve to say, from Mexico, that “no matter what happens, there are still revolutionary writers in Cuba.”

Also in Germany there are writers who still yearn for Hitler, and countless idiots in the United States who belong to the KKK, and not because of that will we cease to despise them and boycott their filthy ideas, my dear Lichi. It’s just like my grandma used to say, “the leopard doesn’t change its spots,” except that in some cases (a few) the earth’s springs DO NOT entice them more than the sea*. Especially the sea of bliss that Chavez talks (or rather barks) about. The damage and the wounds have been indeed huge, but this damage didn’t start with Pavón and Serguera, and Quesada didn’t act alone, dear Fefé. Everything was coming down from “higher up.” Or is it that perhaps you too were also fooled with that idea that the Crook-in-Chief had no idea about UMAP and the cocaine traffic?

Believe me when I tell you that—as Argentinians put it—it bursts my balls to waste my time talking about foolishness, but you and everyone else know that the “Special Period” began very early in the twentieth-century, and that these “mistakes” that were made, and this cultural, economic and social disaster—and disasters of all kinds—started a long time ago. What nerve these cheap intellectuals have to claim they didn’t know about the purges of Stalin, of Socialist Realism, of the dark cultural Maoist revolution and of the how cruel, bloodthirsty and homophobic Che Guevara, Breshnev and Ho Chi Minh were!

In regard to the absence of my name from the cultural circles of this country, I am in very good company, and I am quite happy about that. I don’t want my name to be used like they have used Lecuona’s name or John Lennon’s name. Neither am I interested in having as colleagues and fellow travelers those Cubans who have irresponsibly supported such a vicious regime: the writers and artists. On this side over here we have Cachao, Bebo Valdés, Carlos Alberto Montaner, and many others who fill us with pride, personally and artistically.


Paquito D’Rivera

*Translator’s note: A reference to the Jose Marti poem from which the lyrics for the song “Guantanamera” are based.

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December 31 2009