Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tempering Dad

Tempering Dad / Yoani Sanchez
Translator: Unstated, Yoani Sanchez

For Marino Murillo, Cuban Vice President and father
who, a few days ago, saw a daughter leave into exile.

"Daddy, you're not getting involved in this stuff," his daughter advised
from the other end of the line. The same daughter who a few weeks ago
sent him some money and a package with medicine and clothes. She who
emigrated a decade ago and who, from Berlin, is the principal support of
her family back in Havana. Her father swallows hard every time his
firstborn tells him — by phone — not to involve himself in the work of
the Communist Party, nor that of the Committees for the Defense of the
Revolution, much less to allow himself to be used in any repudiation
rallies against opponents. "Listen, that's about to collapse and you're
the one who is going to get muddy," repeats the insistent young woman.
Such that the obedient retiree has significantly reduced his ideological
intolerance, moderated the rage he harbored for those who were against
"his Comandante" and even hidden his Communist Party membership card at
the bottom of a drawer.

He looks a changed man. When someone talks about politics he changes the
subject to the weather or baseball. To his dissident neighbors, whom he
used to refuse to greet, he now offers a wink of complicity. Old
soldier's association meetings now seem so boring, the newspapers so
empty, the slogans so false… he doesn't even turn on the television any
more to watch the official speeches. What happened? A mix of
frustration, annoyance at his very low pension, the corruption and the
indefinite postponement of dreams. But in his case his children have
been the main catalyst for discontent, the most emphatic denial his
ideology could receive. Most of them live in Europe and the youngest
crossed the Straits of Florida on a raft. None wanted to stay and wait
for the fruits of the system "Daddy fought so hard for."

After the departure of his "babies," he's discovered a more moderate man
in himself, capable of accepting that other people's children also leave
without having to throwing eggs or insults. He doesn't allow anyone to
call his offspring "traitors" and has learned that the English spoken by
his granddaughter born in Arkansas is absolutely not the language of the
devil. In addition, the vitamins they send are so good, the gel for his
back pain of such good quality, the dollars via Western Union so
opportune… In short, he is a different man. This October he will fly to
the United States to visit his family and he has no plans to return. He
will go quietly, without saying goodbye, without even resigning from the
only party he belongs to. He will leave without publicly recanting
anything, without apologizing to any of the dissidents he insulted, spat
on, denigrated, for decades. He will leave.

28 August 2012

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