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Cuba, the mirage of a Revolution that ended in dictatorship


The look of the writer Juan Cruz on the course of Fidel Castro and his men. Juan Cruz 07/24/2021 13:03 Clarí World Updated 07/24/2021 1:03 PM Those born in 1948, let's say, if we had a passion for Latin America, we lived in the Canary Islands, Madrid, Cádiz or Buenos Aires, to name some of the capitals of the world, we had among our amulets the old copies of Granma or of Bohemia , the smiling photographs of Fidel Castro with the dove attached to his shoulders or t

Juan Cruz

07/24/2021 13:03

  • Clarí

  • World

Updated 07/24/2021 1:03 PM

Those born in 1948, let's say, if we had a passion for Latin America, we lived in the Canary Islands, Madrid, Cádiz or Buenos Aires, to name some of the capitals of the world, we had among our amulets the old copies of


or of


, the smiling photographs of Fidel Castro with the dove attached to his shoulders or the much more grim

Che Guevara

with that adhesive that would later seem like sarcasm: "You have to harden yourself but never lose your tenderness."

We were, at least those of us who lived near the Canarian docks, active pro-Cubans, who since the commander-in-chief won the battle of Havana we put ourselves at the disposal of his ideals, although no one knew about us among those seawalls.

In my case, I was an adolescent, almost a journalist, who had a neighbor, Paco Casanova, who had entrusted himself to Fidel as if he were his putative brother.

It was he who recruited me to the Castro faith (Castroist, not Guevarist) and made me be his accomplice in the transfer of

massive drug shipments

to the ships that came from Cuba, went to Africa and passed through Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

Fidel Castro, with Camilo Cienfuegos (right) and Ernesto Che Guevara, during a speech in Havana on January 8, 1959. Photo: AFP

On top of those ships the sailors, who were ultimately soldiers who made the Africans and returned to the Motherland, gave us books and invited us to rice with fried eggs, and spoke to us in a low voice about the achievements of

the Revolution, which to we were sacrosanct

, an emblem over which we flew like boys who had just graduated from the university of Castroism.

On one of those trips, during which Che was killed in a dramatic way in Bolivia, a sailor named Camps gave me a book by Proudhon that I took forever as a treasure, although logically what had happened in Bolivia dominated the spirit of the ship and its speakers.

By that noon when we were to continue on board, a speech by the commander-in-chief had been announced in honor of the soldier killed in one of his forays into the Bolivian mountains.

The unprecedented and surprising protest against the communist government of Cuba, on Sunday, July 11.

Photo: AFP

His death had already been confirmed by international agencies, and I had seen Che's bare foot, with a sign of his identity, on the last page of the old



, which, like the Franco regime in general, led by the citizen of Fidel, Francisco Franco, greatly respected the Republic of Cuba, whoever was in charge of it.

Cuba was already a dictatorship, like that fascist Spain

, but Cuba, our Cuba, was the center of a revolution and that revolution had won us as militants without a shadow of a doubt.

Fidel's speech was cold as a telegram, and we, so Fidelistas, but surely much more Fidelistas than Guevara, surely felt that this was how heroes had to manifest themselves, strong, always forward, not a step back until the final victory.

A street in Havana, in an image from March 2018. Photo: AFP

Revolution and literature

At that time my boss of the century, so to speak, Paco Casanova, brought to my house a book that, unwittingly, that good traveling apothecary contaminated my newly won revolutionary genes.

The book was Cuban, but it was not a harangue, but a syncopated, syntactically impeccable description of what had been the precursor to that fight that had ended with the dove perched on the commander's clean shoulders.

"So in peace as in war", that was the title, it was a set of short stories that a budding novelist named

Guillermo Cabrera Infante

had written


It was writing of salt, made not to build heroes but to give an account of the different stages of the struggle;

as the Spanish poet José Hierro would have said, “without flight in the verse”.

That book, which I keep, moved me because it was literature and not harangue or mockery, and then it turned out to be decisive for my way of continuing to love Cuba in other ways, because it kept moving me away from worship (night and day) and taught me to read Cuba with different eyes.

The Cuban writer Guillermo Cabrera Infante in an image from 2004. Photo: EFE

Denunciations and exile

Those eyes grew larger, because Cuba was not only that revolution in progress, nor its slogans;

News began to come in that implicated Cabrera himself as the culprit, among others, of a movie called PM, which was a simple narrative filmed of a night in the tropics.

As it was not to the taste of the regime that we had loved so much, some of its leaders, among others Guillermo's brother and Cabrera himself, were being

separated and sent to different degrees of exile


When the novel "Tres tristes tigres" finally appeared in Spain, which I read as a high school graduate, lying on a bed that looked like a miracle in which Havana was drawn at night, Cuba had already vanished as the destination of our trips with medicines .

The Padilla case appeared, the evidence that Cuba was nothing but a mirage, and although we were ashamed to say so, we were no longer revolutionaries of that revolution.

That is sad until today.

The procession that accompanied the body of Fidel Castro before his burial, on December 4, 2016. Photo: EFE

Some time later, in London, even the beloved writer in the vapors of a

nervous breakdown

, I met Guillermo Cabrera Infante, who greeted me speechless at the pineal window of his house on Gloucester Road.

His wife, the odd and caring Miriam Gómez, who was the actress in the movie Histories of the Revolution, did everything possible to make us understand her husband's silences.

Until, some time later, he began to speak again.

It still seemed to us that he was a counterrevolutionary, whose literature we loved but whose ideas we mistrusted.

Until I was in Cuba myself and could touch, with the fingers of my soul frozen with cold, the reality of the island,

a totalitarian dictatorship, an unmitigated cheka

, which had nothing to do with the ideals that were drying up even in the fur of pigeons.

The front page of the official Cuban newspaper Granma, after the death of Fidel Castro, on November 25, 2016. Photo: AFP

Shortly after meeting Guillermo, I read a book, Nicaragua So Violently Sweet, by Julio Cortázar, published in 1983, in which the great cronopio warned us how mean it was to hit Cuba.

We love Julio so much

and we had not understood Cabrera Infante, I could think with a confused or pierced voice in my memory.

Far from my intention the fatal mania to compare, but they will allow me to warn those who still, like us in illo tempore, loved whatever Fidel or his different classes of sailors said.

It was a lie then, and although beloved Julio denied it, it is a lie right now, to the shame of the illusions that were the light (already off, oh) of our first lives.

Guillermo liked to quote this phrase from Lewis Carrol ("I would like to know what color the light of a candle is when it is out").

In Cuba a long time ago, the light that we were looking for

in the night of the ships went out.

Look also

The US sanctioned the Cuban Defense Minister for the “repression” of the protests

Sandinismo celebrates 60 years in Nicaragua with absolute power under the fist of Daniel Ortega

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2021-07-24

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