Angel Santiesteban, Translator: Regina Anavy
The Cuban dictatorship criticizes the possibility offered by the U.S.
government of accepting Cubans who cross the Florida Straits in a bid to
achieve their dreams. They write lengthy manifestos to disguise the
reality of the island, and blame the ones who suffer the problem. Which
means looking at the result and forgetting the cause.
Of course, who in Cuba would question this required view of the problem?
Who would dare to question the "cause" when no name other than the
Castro brothers can come up? What have they done with this country?
Where is the success at the cost of the slain under their orders? What
is the price of human and material losses in the last 50 years? Why does
Fulgencio Batista now not seem so tyrannical? Who took charge of
surpassing him, to be a more extremist dictator? Who filled the prisons
and shot the young people who were dissatisfied, desperate, dissident,
and every one who opposed them? How many years in prison did they get
for attempting to leave the country illegally? They punished them with
the same sentence imposed on Fidel Castro for attacking the Moncada
barracks in Santiago de Cuba.
In 1967 my godfather received a letter from a cousin in Miami, trying to
convince him to emigrate with them, and in which he warned that a
government like Fidel Castro's could become a communist and totalitarian
one. They arrested him and sentenced him to 10 years in prison, which he
served to the day. They had opened his letter, which he never received.
When he came and saw me after almost 11 years, he started to cry for all
the time lost unfairly. He hugged my mother, and pleading with his gay
gestures, said he never wanted to see a man at his side again. He spent
10 years of being used by the beasts, he told my mother in the middle of
Who has been more of a dictator, Batista or Castro?
We know, according to the story that they told us themselves, that the
Batista government abused, tortured and secretly killed the young
people, then left them lying on the roadside. Which we considered
horrendous. But didn't Fidel Castro shoot them in front of people?!
Desperate young people who tried to steal a passenger launch in the bay
of Havana to go to Miami in order to work, to fulfill their dreams that
were more urgent than a "revolution" that didn't know how to support
them? And who were deceived, after being stranded at sea for lack of
fuel and being towed by the Cuban Coast Guard to the Bay of Mariel and
negotiating with the authorities, who spoke on behalf of Fidel Castro,
after being guaranteed that nothing would happen to them, and if they
surrendered, in exchange they would receive a minimum punishment?
Their own companions in the boat, among them foreigners who testified
that they were not mistreated nor did they understand that their lives
were in danger at some point, even if things were tense, asked for
leniency for the young men. But they were executed in front of Cuba and
the world. Without a trial. Hours after their capture. They waited for
their mothers to leave to get clothing and toiletries for them to clean
up, and before they got home they were informed that their sons had been
shot by strict order of the State Council. Of course, Cubans remained
silent, and some intellectuals and artists were left with dirty hands,
so much so that not even their own poetry will save them from Hell. And
all because of cowardice, by thinking about their own welfare. And now
they repeat like parrots that they had to do it because there was a real
threat that the U.S. fleet would invade Cuba, to complete the practice
of violating the sky and waters. That has never been proven. But if it
were true, it still would have been murder. They did not think about
their children, their grandchildren. Would they have done the same?
Intelligence at the service of mega-malignancy
We can't deny that Fidel Castro has been of uncommon intelligence, only
that he used it for personal gain, and for family purposes. Others would
say in the service of the Devil. But what would have happened if Fidel
Castro had done what he promised from the Sierra Maestra? If he had
fulfilled all those dreams of a better Cuba, without departing from
democracy and the principles of the most advanced civilization? Perhaps
he even would have accepted, in the style of King Juan Carlos of Spain,
being the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of Cuba, but without
intervening in the affairs of state. Alone he could have been in charge
of a human revolution, destined to improve the lot of all Cubans,
regardless of race, creed or political affiliation.
But those who have a bit of common sense know that Fidel Castro would
never have been satisfied with overseeing the rules and rights of the
Cuban nation. He wanted more. He always wanted more. In fact, he left
Cuba — too small, like Cinderella's glass slipper was for her sisters —
and began looking for expansion in other continents, so that he forgot
about Cuba. We alone were the means of sacrifice for his mega-dreams,
his mega-revolution, his desire to be a mega-president, a mega-leader.
To this he dedicated his life, trying to hoodwink us in his delight with
words of principles and tenderness, to deceive others and add them to
his purposes with patriotic, heroic, "internationalist" locutions. Fidel
has served as a great magician of the word, I always picture him blowing
a flute to make the snake dance, and in this case the snake is in the
mirror, it is his own image that dances with his own interpretation,
hence the great trick that he has exercised for over half a century:
And many fell asleep under his enchantment, are still sleeping, the
minority, because the majority feign sleep, but it's nothing more than
fear that keeps them pretending compliance with the orders of the
Translated by Regina Anavy
10 December 2011