Friday, January 6, 2012

Who Will Kill the Commander? / Luis Felipe Rojas

Who Will Kill the Commander? / Luis Felipe Rojas
Luis Felipe Rojas, Translator: Raul G.

The socialist labyrinth consists of so much injustice that even the
functionaries joke about being trapped in it. The beauracratic skeins
of the tropical Cuban creature have been designed to hinder citizens, to
make their daily lives harder, but it is not always possible to
demarcate the frontier between the most common of passer-bys and
bureaucrats, as infallible as they'd like to make themselves seem.

A group of workers from the TransNet Base, dedicated to cultivating
sugar cane, have been suffering for months because they have not been
paid their salary stimulus which the sugar company owes them for the
2010-2011 pay period. Today, as the new period is beginning, the
correspondent organisms are not complying with the salary they owe. In
the sugar production plant of the municipality of San German, Holguin,
the mentioned workers (as fed up as those who protest on streets of the
United States) lashed out and deposited their confidence in a social
valve: writing to national newspapers. Only one of them publicly
responded- Juventud Rebelde ('Rebel Youth').

For some time now, Cubans tend to their pains by writing to the
Open-Letter section of the mentioned newspaper. There, the colleague
Jose Alejandro Rodriguez, whom one can clearly see really wants to break
away and carry out a free form of journalism without chains, dedicates
himself to dissect the anatomy of home-grown bureaucracy.

In the Open-Letter section of December 18th, the journalist explained
the indignation of these workers. He also mentioned the letter sent by
Eliecer Palma Pupo, who was thrown around however they wanted from the
transportation base, the municipal union, the organ of Social Security
and Work, and all the way to the Provincial Direction of the Sugarcane
Industry. Immediately, the workers were called to testify. "Who wrote
the letter?". They said it would be fixed, 'damn it', that was all…

What the Juventud Rebelde Newspaper did not know was that Palma Pupo is
a worker, who has worked as a driver for 27 years, and is branded as a
counter-revolutionary for speaking the truth. He has also been locked
up in the dungeons of State Security on the 22nd of October 2011 so that
he would not hinder the visit of Jose Ramon Machado Ventura to the
mentioned factory.

He suffered from fatigue for three days, product of a hunger and thirst
strike he carried out from his cell. But when he was released, he went
straight back to his work post to load up a truck for the sugar
production process, and his coworkers asked him to denounce the absence
of payment for 20 CUC which the plant owed each of them.

Before exposing the case to the independent press and the international
press, they opted to send the message right back to the aggressor. The
letter has been read by thousands of Cubans, among them hundreds of
functionaries, who although they have not responded have been contested
by their own propaganda system which is kept afloat by screams, lies,
and acts of mob repudiation. I have spoken to some of them, with Palma
Pupo himself, and although they have not been paid they still feel the
sweet taste of vengeance.

Palma told me that they have returned to the Union Direction Center
(against them) and even against some workers, who are alarmed by his
rebellious condition and fear they will lose more than just the steering
wheels of his old sugar-cane loading trucks.

From afar and from outside, one runs the risk of seeing this as
something pointless, but these men told me this as if they had been
victorious, as if they had discovered that "all as one" they could tear
the rags off of the old Fuenteovejuna* commander.


*Fuenteovejuna- A play by Spanish playwright Lope de Vega. The work of
art is about a peasant uprising in a medieval Spanish town.

Translated by Raul G.

5 January 2011

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