Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Saint Lazarus

I remember when I was living in Havana and Castro was in the mood to bring those of his endless speeches, how he overwhelmed us with mountains of statistics data about the most insignificant detail in his rhetoric of the moment. cine duplex-rex

No matter what, every 26 of July in the province of the moment we knew he will be ripping off every single detail about the statistics of the province: health care data, endless numbers without any real meaning for the common Cuban, and even the enthusiastic draw of the future of the province and Cuba.

At the end of the day, and when every person was leaving the premises many simple questions flamed the minds of all of them, but essentially, there was one who touch the common sense of every one: if the revolution was creating so many good things and developing too many plans, why we were in the same point than the last year, or even looked as we were more behind year after year?

There is no better witness than our capital city: it looks like a city that has been bombarded. There are so many building in ruins, movies theatres and public places that it is impossible to remove from the historic memory of the city.

When I arrived to Havana I was 21 year old and I could see how the proliferation of too many little parks was overwhelming the capital city. At that time, it was already known that if a building collapsed there would be a new little park with two or three benches, any sort of children entertainment equipment, very rustic by the way, and a few trees to bring some discreet shadow to the place.

But the destruction didn’t stop, and where yesterday was a comfortable double theatre facility Duplex/Rex in the heart of Havana (San Rafael and Amistad), today is a surrealistic place only frequented by rats.

Today’s Havana is a city that can’t hide its wounds, and there are no more little parks to hide the frequently collapsing of buildings and monuments. Even the boulevard in Old Havana shows its scars here and there, and don’t dare to talk about municipalities like “Diez de Octubre”.

But if you read the endless speeches of Fidel Castro, it looks like our nation is an extraordinary paradise in construction projects. It is the Orwellian hypnotism every tyrant shows: Big Brother talked and what it is not true, now become true.

For the tyranny, those statistics don’t exist. They never publish those numbers, and when they dare to publish one of them it is in company with plans and future endless projects. It is such a true that any single building hasn’t been finished and it already starts its own process of deterioration.

Nowadays, there are places where I don’t even remember what was built, and I saw myself how collapsed. I went to watch too many movies in Duplex or Rex, and I remember when the roof collapsed and some constructions workers blocked with some boards the entrances and the windows. Today, I forgot the last time I watch a movie there. And it is so sad, and so disturbing.

Sometimes, when I go to Havana and walk around and see those places in ruins or those little parks almost without any sign of life, but definitely witnesses of a glorious past, it comes to my mind the figure of Saint Lazar and I think our great Havana looks like our old great friend with his crutches.

My dear Saint Lazar, my dear Havana!