Thursday, April 21, 2011

Small, Ruinous, Immense Country / Luis Felipe Rojas

Small, Ruinous, Immense Country / Luis Felipe Rojas
Luis Felipe Rojas, Translator: Raul G.

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

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