Thursday, June 20, 2013

Fear and Loathing in LASA

Fear and Loathing in LASA / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo
Posted on June 19, 2013

After three months moving from coast to coast of the United States like
an off-balance electron, finally I receive a little from dirty faces,
the smell of croquette and military comemierduría ("crap eating"). I
deserved it: I already missed my homeland so much…

Welcome to LASA 2013, Cubans.

Indeed, also after three months meeting there at the University of
Havana, as if they weren't a delegation but a Fidelista fascio about to
enter combat, I saw myself finally trapped once again in our country.
Like Chacumbele I killed myself. The scaffold is just like…

I squeezed into LASA 2013, thanks to the readers of my PayPal, who paid
so that I'd be the final member of the Cuba Section of its XXXI
Congress, in Washington DC. All my friends warned, in Spanish and in
English: "Don't appear in this lair, do not present yourself to this
insipid isle of ideologists of inertial idiocracy (the alliteration is
mine, it's beyond my control), better to continue as "homeless" with
your little columns, photos, chats, fiction and anthologies, better you
flee from our history while the post-Communist string in this other
country lasts for you."

But eventually curiosity gnawed at me. And I had to insert myself into
the dimly lit little classroom with the halitosis of the hysterically
baked left in the USA (someone would have to present a PhD on why those
who "defend Cuba" never get good dental insurance).

There inside, at seven in the evening, from the near and the far of
America, I discovered a troop of Cuban economists, technocrats that the
system uses and discards every five years, and an elite team of security
people in their guayaberas, the de rigueur shirts of the diplomats,
whose executioner muscles from the Cuban streets I recognized right
away, just like their totalitarian moron crewcuts. I realized that I was
in the capital of imperialism and had gotten myself, by my own taste, in
a Castro box, where the only thing that occurs to them is just what
happened: an act of repudiation (revolutionary imagination is very
common; the government is insolvent in everything except in the
organization of hatred as a source of governance).

The prestigious Cubanologist Ted Henken of Baruch College in New York,
an academic coerced years ago at an airport in Cuba and expelled from
the island by an anonymous big-mouth, was the victim of the revenge. It
occurred to the charismatic Yuma to become publicly interested in the
fate of the Cuban colleague Omar Everleny Pérez, evangelist of the
fraudulent-change of the Raulista reforms, recently ousted from the
Center for the Study of the Cuban Economy, with the extra bonus of
preventing him from traveling to LASA 2013, despite the fact that his
speech "Direct Foreign Investment in Cuba: possibilities and challenges"
was still included in the official program. (A colleague justified his
absence by claiming that Omar Everlany was happy, and that he had
entrusted to him to witness that no one mention his name in the USA).

The reply to Uncle Ted was with throats trembling with anger and raised
index fingers (was it in homage to the former Chief Economist?) that
were pointing like lightning rods to the ceiling of the Marriot Wardman
Park Hotel. They denigrated the poor poster of the Cuban-New-Yorker
designer Rolando Pulido, which was one key of hope to undo so much
closure (they had crapped themselves from fear with the #OccupyLASA
hashtag, because, as specialists in boycott and sabotage, they are well
aware that "from saying to doing is no stretch").

So then, with their brand-new USA visas like a rapid response medal in
their passports, they took shifts passing around the "microphone of
dignity ": Carlos Alzugaray (LOUD SPORTING APPLAUSE — like at a baseball
game), Juan Triana (LOUD SPORTING APPLAUSE), Jorge Mario Sánchez (LOUD
SPORTING APPLAUSE), and some other native, likewise the Canadian John
Kirk (LOUD SPORTING APPLAUSE), while from the stalls Miguel Barnet
smiled in sinuous satisfaction (OVATION). Mission accomplished,
comedians! (CURTAIN)

I wanted to make up a little American Airlines bag with the brochure of
the 5 Heroes, that they gave me upon entering the room (more a call to
launch a public scandal in front of the White House) and barf into it
the simulacrum of coffee that is consumed here.

I already had forgotten the rudeness, the authoritarianism, the
illustrious mediocrity, the "mustaches" of sub-socialist soup, the
copper complexion and the accompanying tummy, the sparse clothing, the
self-victimization due to the "conditions of the American blockade"
(even a petal from a free flower hurts them, these "poor-little-me"
types, because surely it is a part of a multimillion-dollar campaign to
damage the "savior of children" image of the revolution: and here
sneaking around right in the open was the activist Frank Calzón of the
Center For A Free Cuba, to prove it). My soul had forgotten the cold
scar left by the the implicit terror when they shout at you, and you
know full well that they drive a red Russian Lada, which is the end of
the rabble rousing and the beginning of the crime in a gutter in Bayamo
or Baltimore.

Fuck. I'm glad that the LASA 2013 congress is over. Go fuck yourselves,
I repeat, so you can get over with excommunicating me and no other
American institution will remember me. What a relief.

For dessert, two female acolytes from Havana's Superior Institute of Art
went about stalking us Cubans who didn't belong to the official
delegation. I was about to denounce them to the hotel guards. Ugly like
only they are, Communists with the strength of celibacy. But then I
figured that hotel security was being paid off by them. It would be the
same as typing in a password in the computers of the event, it would
have been a suicide. Like living in the United States is the best way to
come into the range of that clan, which begins with the Cuban Academy
and ends in the catacombs (so that later those same scavengers of
academia study my work and charge for their cretinous summer courses and
travel to Cuba before the season of The Fall).

You have to leave the country, comrades. Leave that nightmare of a
country. Leave this paradise of a country. You have to emigrate truly,
it's not enough to make intelligent faces or impart their spiels in any
public or private Made in USA university. We cannot allow ourselves the
luxury of triumph, that would be our most degrading defeat. We must
continue to the north, comrades of the pack, always further north like a
pack of wolves of boreal adventure. The view of the implausible glass
star that does not move in the pole, mirage of barbaric light, midnight
sun, body which crystallizes into a corpse but is not corrupted. We must
tread the lost steps on the fossilized snow where nobody has ever
pronounced the word "Fidel."

Return to Cuba, now, you despots and unlucky ones. And wait for me,
since in my flight toward the antipodes I am always going to return.

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

From Washington DC

Poster by Rolando Pulido
Translated from:

Translated by: Hombre de Paz

6 June 2013

Source: "Fear and Loathing in LASA / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo |
Translating Cuba" -

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