Luis Felipe Rojas, Translator: Raul G.
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