Sunday, January 3, 2010

Castro: The uncontrollable trade of catching Butterflies.

Ah! Fidel Castro. We all are marked by his name and shadows for the worst, I would say. In the earliest years of my life I was impressed and captivated by his charms as a leader: smart, sharp and highly intellectual. That was my impression as a teenager and later as a young man in my earliest twenties. Castro and the uncontrollable trade of catching butterflies

At that age you are still under the influence of what you learned at school. You know: the pretty side of our history. The heroes, the courageous fight against Batista, his enchanting words in Moncada’s trial, the legends from Sierra Maestra, the guerrilla saga, all the adventurous side of our history that makes you look at your personal life, and feel how small and insignificant you are.

Then, times could make changes on you. The age and the ups and downs in life make you become more sceptical and social conscious. I’m not saying I was entirely drowned in politics though. I was thirsty for knowledge and books. I actually read whatever fell on my hands, and with that came my critic eye here and there. The endless speeches and the overwhelmingly quotations of numbers, statistics along with experienced disappointments with our daily life eroded my vision of the leader.

The truth is you listen something, read here and there, then suffer this and that disappointment, and you are keeping those entire little things hiding inside of you and never face them. Then, one day, a grain of salt jump on your eye and it is a lifetime challenging experience. Suddenly, you wake up and the honeymoon is over. That’s happened to me in times of Ochoa’s trial: 1990.

We all have that particular moment when our history book turns its page. For me was a long road into darkness. Everything I read in the past, the hours and hours of public speeches, tiny pieces of information recollected here and there, even when internet didn’t exist, but which I kept in my mind against my will. All those little pieces came back, chased me night and day and finally fell in place. I started my long road of disengagement.

Today, that sad man doesn’t have any tiny little place neither in my mind nor in my heart. Fidel Castro filled Cuba’s history with 50 years of shame from the very moment he walked through the streets of Havana, in January 8, 1959. Since then, he has been walking every step of any other tyrant in world history. Any personal touch? He personifies exponentially what George Orwell drew in 1984: Big Brother.

This is the man who some crazy people (I have another less sophisticated way to name them, but I guess it is not too pretty to write it down here) are nominating to the Nobel Price. After all, It could be a bit of envy after Obama got the Price with not too much effort, I would say.

I mean, this is the guy who put the entire whole world on the verge of two nuclear wars: the first time in October 1961, during the Missile Crisis in the Caribbean; and for second time during the war in Angola against South Africa. Any of those nominators know that?

In October 26th, 1961, Fidel Castro wrote a letter to Nikita Khrushchev in which he said, and I am quoting:

“I believe that the imperialists' aggressiveness is extremely dangerous and if they actually carry out the brutal act of invading Cuba in violation of international law and morality, that would be the moment to eliminate such danger forever through an act of clear legitimate defence, however harsh and terrible the solution would be, for there is no other.”

It is important to bring here the memories of Adrian A. Danilevich, soviet general staff from 1964-1990 and director of the staff officers, who wrote the Soviet Union’s final reference guide on strategic and nuclear planning. It is very important because many Cuban sponsored analysts and Fidel Castro himself had tried to sell the image that he wasn’t meaning what he really said: suggesting to the Soviet Union to strike US with nuclear weapons.

In early 1980’s, the Gen. Danilevich wrote:

“Fidel Castro pressed hard for a tougher Soviet line against the US, up to and including possible nuclear strikes.”

And he added:

“I had to actively disabuse him of that view by spelling out the ecological consequences for Cuba of a Soviet strike against the US.”

Well, my dear general, it looks that our Commander in Chief is not leaning too much to preserve our blue planet, just make a short trip to our Havana harbour.

Almost three years ago Mother Nature chose to keep him out of business, but for our stubborn leader is hard to convince him that his time is over. Nowadays, he is shadowing his brother’s government in too many ways. Many times with his writings in GRANMA, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of Cuba, and with his closed doors interviews with Chavez and other politicians of our region.

His ignited speeches are now channelled via weekly writings in which he tries to reach those shining moments of the 60’s, with an important side effect: nobody cares. For so long we have been listening to the same slogans, the same vitriolic phrases against the “imperialism”, his ups and downs with American politicians, his tantrums with diplomats, world personalities and journalists. Today, with him out of the sight, people don’t really care.

But it doesn’t mean he doesn’t cares. Week after week Castro tries to remember he is still the ruler, the one who yesterday praised Obama with complements and today piles him up with shame and despise, calling him arrogant, imperialist and others prettiness of the kind. The same rhetoric used by him to despise Bush, Carter, many others. The same rhetoric used to interfere with the solution of our divided big family. The same rhetoric used to create conflicts here and there, in Salvador or in Africa. The same rhetoric used to justify the smuggling of weapons and men in Bolivia and worldwide. The same rhetoric used to point out to whom, how, when the Security Estate Department (DSE, better known as G2) has to punish intellectuals, dissidents and normal people with an opinion different than our oracle.

Behind too many prominent cases we could find Castro’s fingerprints. Could you remember the Padilla’s case? Or more recently, the letter send to him by 10 intellectuals in 1991 asking the freedom of the prisoners of conscience signed, among others, by Raul Rivero and Maria Elena Cruz Varela. Behind both cases you can trace the steps of Fidel Castro, in flesh and soul.

All of us know somebody, someone who had to leave in the 60’s, 70’s, 80 and 90’s. Every Cuban has a friend, a father, an uncle or family member, a neighbour, someone to whom you knew and reached that very moment in his life. And maybe you found yourself within the storm, packing your suitcase with a few items and leaving to an adventure for reasons whose seeds are deep inside the core of Castro’s policy.

And that happened because we all are victims. Of course, not all of us started as victims. In this long tale of enchanting and disenchanting, some started as victims, some as witnesses, and some as victimizers. I would say that victimizers never become witnesses. Of course, to be a victimizer you have to witness something, but the fact is the victimizer doesn’t have the conscience of the witness, and never will get that conscience.

The important point here is, many of them, if not all of them, finish their life as another victim of the system. A system designed, created and built by Fidel Castro, who is the only one who will never end neither as a witness nor as a victim of his own masterpiece.

Eventually, the others little creatures could be flying away from those hands that want to catch them all as butterflies, as soon as they are no more utilitarian to the system they already helped to create, build and solidify. It is a never ending story.

We cannot forget that, even behind closed doors, Fidel Castro is, and will be, the one who is pulling the triggers and threads one by one. I would say, one at the time.