Saturday, January 7, 2012

What Goes and What Comes

What Goes and What Comes
Fernando Dámaso, Translator: Unstated

In Cuba, the end of 2011 and the advent of 2012 had special
characteristics. In the first place, the joy and the celebrations,
officially, responded to the Triumph of the Revolution and the hosting
of one more anniversary of it. The reality is ignored and it is not
welcomed as 2012, but as the 54th Year of the Revolution, which is like
saying one more year of the Paleolithic. This, I repeat, officially, in
the official press, radio and television.

On the other hand, this official celebration is skipped for another,
citizen, one, where the great majority wish each other Merry Christmas
and a Prosperous New Year, in the traditional way. In the street,
fortunately, you don't hear anything about congratulations for the
triumph or anything like that. It seems that the times have changed
somewhat since that initial glow.

The successes and achievements, again, officially, have been, as every
year, the order of the day, in a contrived competition of over-elaborate
adjectives, each more exaggerated than the last, and with some special
programs tailored to the date, real clunkers lacking imagination and
moderation. In an inedible soup, they have mixed songs, characters —
historic and less historic — dance, humor, prefabricated heroes,
writers, magicians, hacks, spies, artists, actors, housewives, workers,
peasants, etc., all as in a great chorus, repeating the same slogans for
each new anniversary, without even updating them, as is the fashion.

In at-home environments, the reality has been different: comments on how
bad the situation is, the increasingly high prices of the items, the
overwhelming and widespread State inefficiency, the need for urgent
changes and the toast made at midnight. They missed the twelve grapes,
but uncorked a bottle or cider because, despite their tragedy, Cubans
like to celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas and welcome the New Year,
throwing their buckets of water into the street. It is a deep-rooted
tradition and, as has been clearly demonstrated, traditions can not be
suppressed by decree. Here, as in many other issues, volunteerism also
failed miserably.

With the first days of January, the waters begin to find their level,
and the daily struggle for survival prevails, with small and big
problems. A year ended for everyone, and a new one begins a new fraught
with uncertainty. The general desire is to materialize the hopes of the
majority for a better life.

January 6 2012

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