Photo: Luis Felipe Rojas
Halfway between parodies and absurdities, Cuban life can also be described with parables.
This ruinous structure is named “The Impulse”, and during its moments of major splendor (if it indeed ever had any) it provided some sort of gastronomic service. Once, at a pizzeria named “La Fontana de Trevi” I ate spaghetti with pepper sauce and ground…pork? beef? chicken? The water was a bit more than room temperature — I would say it was nearly warm. The forks and knives were tied down to the table by a small string. A lady would come and clean them in a tray, to later place them back on the table. I have seen stores named “Prague Fashions”, “Moscow Restaurant”, “Hotel Pernik” (a Bulgarian flower), and “Leningrad Theater”. The participation of foreigners in any daily Cuban event ups it to “world-wide” range, not just international. Debuts of any sort of dance, theater, or musical works are always w-o-r-l-d-w-i-d-e debuts.
Though we still have no rights, we are still referred to as citizens and our society is described as civic and civilized. Groups of paramilitary soldiers who respond with beatings when they are called upon by whistles, and always ready to dish out savage beatings with sticks and clubs against anyone who expresses themselves differently. Those are the ones who make up the supposed “civil society”. A federation of women with very little rights, committees of citizens who keep watch and snitch on each other, and farmers who dedicate themselves more to shouting government slogans than to working the land. These are the profiles that make up a sick country.
Translated by Raul G.
29 April 2011