Small, Ruinous, Immense Country / Luis Felipe Rojas

Photo: Luis Felipe Rojas

It’s very difficult to get used to living in a country which gives off the image that nothing is happening, when in reality everything points to the fact that were are walking down the eternal path to nothingness.

The country falls apart and the single party rises. People die of desperation and dismay while the official newspapers announce the government’s international high ranking position in regards to health and education. I mutter these words while the media presents the new political cabinet which is supposed to “ventilate” the future of the nation, but my neighbors and I know very well that nothing we haven’t seen before is going to occur. Not even the supposed measures which some dreamers had hoped for can lift our fallen spirits.

The family sitting beside me on the truck which brought me back from my monthly trip to the cyber-cafe all agree that if they miraculously sell their car, their house, and move to Havana without a special permit, then such actions will bring relief. I, on the other hand, just think it would be a drain. My neighbor, standing next to me in line to buy sweet potatoes on the Sunday before the Congress, crossed her fingers so that her daughter would be able to return from South Africa after being denied permission to return to her homeland for 6 years. In all honesty, she was actually waiting for this from the Party Congress. It seems as if the grand communist meeting is functioning as a sort of “open sesame” for all the national ailments. The worst part is not what they expect, because in the end people are owners of their own ingenuity. The worst part will be when the meeting is over and there is total disappointment.

In the midst of the international crisis, the country is headed downward, but the only two newspapers, which in reality function as one entity, say the opposite. The television shows images of the nation we have never been and millions of spectators await the turning point of this olive green authoritarian misgovernment melodrama which we have helped fabricate with so much silence and permissibility.

April 19 2011