Friday, July 11, 2014

Festivities, Vandalism and Sarcasm in Santiago de Cuba

Festivities, Vandalism and Sarcasm in Santiago de Cuba
July 10, 2014
Dariela Aquique

HAVANA TIMES — When I got back home, after nearly two weeks in Havana
and having recovered from the tortuous journey from the Cuban capital to
my neck of the woods, I decided to find out what had been going on here
in my absence.

At around this time every year, theCaribbean Culture Festival or Fiesta
del Fuego ("Fire Festivities") is held in Santiago de Cuba. The news
going around the city, however, didn't have to do with the festival, but
with an incident involving a number of dissidents (members of UNPACU,
according to the popular version of events).

They say that, a week before the start of the Caribbean culture
festivities, a hearing at the Provincial Court of Santiago de Cuba was
being held with one or several dissident(s). I haven't confirmed this

In the meantime, I hear, a number of individuals carried out an act of
vandalism, setting on fire a billboard showing the gigantic faces of
Fidel and Raul Castro and a text about the city of Santiago de Cuba.
Naturally, they were captured almost immediately.

As you might assume, people are careful not to make any comments about
the burning of the sign in public, because no one knows who is who and
nobody wants to end up in an interrogation room all of a sudden.

Sarcasm, however, is an essential ingredient of the daily life of
Santiago de Cuba, and people had to make some kind of joke out of the
incident. Every July 9th, the last day of the Caribbean Culture
Festival, an enormous totem built out of rustic materials, symbolizing
evil and referred to as the "devil", is burned at Santiago de Cuba's
main, tree-lined avenue.

A gigantic pyre is built under the totem and, around this, people sing
and dance to the beating of drums in a sudden, convulsive ritual.
Someone with a keen sense of humor established an analogy between this
ritual and the incident involving the dissidents. That's why some people
have been saying that the "burning of the devil" was done a few days
ahead of schedule this year.

So, that's what things are like down here these days: plenty of
partying, vandalism and sarcasm.

Source: Festivities, Vandalism and Sarcasm in Santiago de Cuba - Havana -

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