Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Revolutionary Mass is Held at Dawn

The Revolutionary Mass is Held at Dawn / 14ymedio, 26 July 2015
Posted on July 28, 2015

14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez, Havana, 26 July 2015 — The liturgy does not
change. The anniversary event for the Day of National Rebellion took
place this Sunday in front of the Moncada Barracks. A script where each
detail is repeated year after year, like a rite empty of emotion and
surprises. The only novelty on this occasion has been the hour chosen
for the start. At 5:12 in the morning National TV began the broadcast of
the event from a plaza in darkness with an orator yawning in the dawn.

The second secretary of the Communist Party, Jose Ramon Ventura, was
charged with the annual speech for the 26th of July. Any study of the
television audience would reveal that the only viewers of the small
screen at this hour were the insomniacs looking for something to
entertain them and the journalists chasing headlines. Both nocturnal
creatures ended up disappointed. There was no entertainment nor news.

And of course, the event would not be complete without the "Young
Pioneer" girl on the verge of tears hysterically spewing out
well-rehearsed slogans. Nor the reenactment of the assault on the
barracks, 62 years ago, acted out by teenagers who only know the version
of history imposed on them by the gentlemen seated in the front row. The
only excitement was hearing their youthful voices crying "Down with the
dictatorship!" The applause, almost syncopated, completed the spectacle.

The artistic gala, with its roughly gesturing men dancers and languid
women, added to the historical cult. A dance style widely used at
official events that mixex socialist realism with the kitsch of a circus
act. In the words of the playwright and film director Juan Carlos
Cremata, another of "the thousands of public events where masses of
money is squandered and bad taste, ineffectiveness, falsehood and
madness are encouraged."

No announcements occurred during the "Revolutionary Mass." Not even on
addressing the theme of the reestablishment of relations with the United
States did Machado Ventura go beyond what has already been repeated ad
nauseam. The process will be "long and complex," the functionary recited
like a weary oration. Conspicuous for its absence in his words was any
allusion to John Kerry's upcoming visit to Cuba and the opening ceremony
for the American embassy in Havana.

For its part, the speech of Lazaro Exposito Canto, first secretary of
the provincial committee of the Communist Party in Santiago de Cuba,
slid along the path of triumphalism. He boasted of the territory's
economic results, in an uncritical and obviously fake way. There was no
lack of commitment to the founders of the cult, when he affirmed that
"Santiaguans have never failed the Party nor the direction of the
Revolution, because in Santiago, dear Fidel and Raul, always, absolutely
always, you will be victorious," without explaining that it would be a
"victory" like that of those terrible early morning hours of 26 July
1953, on the feast day of Saint Anne.

Only one gesture departed from the script. Raul Castro, at the last
second, grabbed the microphone and shouted, "Let Santiago always be
Santiago!" A tired "amen" that few heard because they had already turned
off the TV.

Source: The Revolutionary Mass is Held at Dawn / 14ymedio, 26 July 2015
| Translating Cuba -

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