Miguel Mouse, ‘Che’ Guevara and Marianao’s Jokers

For Caignet, writing ’Miguel Mouse” during the time of Gerardo Machado resulted in a brief but notorious stay in prison.

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 29 June 2022 — Félix B. Caignet, considered the founder of radio soap operas, also wrote children’s songs and was an opponent of the first dictatorship suffered by Cubans. Among his contributions is the musical theme known as El ratoncito Miguel [Miguel Mouse], which, in the time of Gerardo Machado, resulted in a brief but notorious stay in prison.

Even at the end of the 1950s, when we endured the second dictatorship in our history, those of us who were then children raised our voices on the occasion that was propitious to emphasize the verse that said:

The thing is

that it horrifies and really scares

And you’ll see

how a mouse will die of hunger

There’s no cheese anymore

much less a slice of ham

Let’s see

who is going to tear out Misifú’s heart.

Mistifú wasn’t a cat, but the repressor on duty. Tearing out his heart meant overthrowing him from power, and the “let’s see” was related to the one who bells the cat. Cross-references that are the essence of every culture.

Years later, an Argentine who believed he knew the essence of the Cuban pontificated that the original sin of our intellectuals was summarized in the fact that they were not revolutionaries. Ernesto Guevara said it in an article entitled “Man and Socialism in Cuba,” where he labeled the entire intelligentsia of a country through his tunnel vision of a classist, Marxist revolutionary.

Today there is no shortage of those who evaluate with Guevarist criteria the behavior of those who appeal to irony and sarcasm to criticize the dictatorship. They are the same ones who don’t forgive anyone who writes the word “government” where it should say “dictatorship.”

They are the ones who don’t stop understanding that, if they’re not a government, they’re not a dictatorship.

The best joke of the year, if that contest existed, would have as winners those young people who identified Marianao* as the territory where all the promises of the dictatorship were fulfilled.

Félix B. Caignet would feel a healthy envy if he found out that his little mouse has found another way to make fun of the cat.

*Translator’s note: In the linked video two young people on a motorcycle, responding to a question from Cuban State media, say everything is fine in the Marianao neighborhood in Havana — there are no shortages, no blackouts, ‘there is everything.’

Translated by Regina Anavy


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