Wednesday, April 20, 2011

In His Own Way / Yoani Sánchez

In His Own Way / Yoani Sánchez
Translator: Unstated, Yoani Sánchez

And now, the end is near
and so I face
the final curtain...

To say goodbye can be accomplished with just a brief note left on the
table, or by a telephone call where we say our final farewells. In the
preparations to leave the country, at the end of a relationship, or of
life itself, there are people who try to control the smallest details,
draw up those limits that oblige the ones they leave behind to follow
their path. Some leave slamming the door behind them, and others demand
before taking off the great tribute they think they deserve. There are
those who equitably distribute all their worldly goods, and also beings
with so much power they change the constitution of a country so that no
one can undo their work when they're gone.

The preparations for the Sixth Congress of the Cuban Communist Party and
its sessions in the Palace of Conventions have been like a great public
requiem for Fidel Castro. The scene of his farewell, the meticulous
ceremonial demanded by him and realized — sparing no expense — by his
younger brother. In the organizational excesses of the military parade,
held on April 16, was seen the intention to "spare no expense" in a
final tribute to someone who could not be there on the podium. It was
clear that the announcement of the names of who would assume the highest
positions in the Cuban Communist Party would not be read by the man who
decided the course of this nation for almost fifty years. But he sat at
the head table of the event to validate, with his presence, the transfer
of power to Raul Castro. Being there was like coming — still alive — to
the reading of his own will.

Then came the standing ovation, the tears of this or that delegate to
the party conclave, and the phrases of eternal commitment to the old man
with the almost white beard. Through the television screen some of us
sensed the crackling of dried-up flowers or the sound of shovelfuls of
dirt. It remains to be see if the General-cum-President can sustain the
heavy legacy he has received, or if under the watchful supervision of
his Big Brother he would prefer not to contradict him with fundamental
reforms. It's just left to check the authenticity of Fidel Castro's
departure from public life, and whether his substitute will choose to
continue disappointing us, or to reject him.

April 19, 2011

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