Saturday, January 23, 2010

Cuba Libre

There was a moment in the 60’s when you could find Cuba Libre (Cuba Free). Free of a government that for 10 years had been killing people on the streets. Free of Batista and his clique imposing their iron fist on the street of Havana, and on the fields of Cuba. Free of a tyrant who stole national funds and financial resources from our country. Free of the repression machinery in which brilliant people were killed.DCF 1.0

In 1959, we also had Cuba Libre, Cuba Free with no government, no democratic institutions and no clear laws ahead. Cuba was free of the American embassy, the American investors, the American owners and the American acceptance. We were Free, free of private properties, free of private schools, free of religions and Christmas, free of bishops and the Pope.

With Castro we also had Cuba Libre, Cuba Free of foreigner tourists in our hotels (just for a while), free of too many different newspapers with too many different opinions and too many political tendencies, free of middle and high classes, we were poor forever, but we were happy. Who would say it?

In the 60’s, our country was Cuba Libre. Free of Guevara and Bolivia, free of thousands of doctors and engineers, free of politicians, artists and intellectuals, free of Lezama and Virgilio, free of Celia Cruz and her Siguaraya, free of prostitutes and pimps (just for a while, I would say), free of the outlying areas of Havana city (for a while, at least officially). We were free of voting: there wasn’t any election at any level, so we don’t have to be worry about who was in charge, what could be his electoral platform and what we could expect or not from the politicians-to-be.

After 1959, we were free of salt and alcohol, and land with private owners. We also were free of worries about food and medicines, everybody was supplied with a monthly ration book: for food, toilette paper and clothes, if you find them. We don’t need to wear suits and ties, so we were free of any etiquette in formal parties and official meetings. Everyone hung over his body a faded green uniform and we were ready to go.

In the seventies we were continuing our travel through Cuba Libre. Free of the best writers and thinkers. We were free to call Marti our Apostle: now he was a National Hero, don’t forget we were made free of religion and its difficult denominations. We were free of the old 1940 National Constitution and democratic organs of power, and we released our solid and advanced Socialist Constitution, with only one party to follow and only one voice to hear: what a relief!

During 50 years you don’t need to worry to read pages and pages of news, and sail our radio stations and two TV channels to have an idea what was going on in this shattered world. Your reach the first you find it and that’s it. You felt so free with the new achieved freedom: you, your neighbour and the man in the corner were thinking the same: we were in Heaven, and the CDR were making us so happy with its new task of keep miserable our enemies.

Since Castro freed us, we could watch TV without any commercial break, any sort of celebrity marketing a new brand of toothpaste or a marvellous flavour in a new brand of beer: we were in Cuba Libre, free of beer, toothpaste and celebrities, they were gone for dancing in Miami TV stations and marketing the same brands there. Of course, we were free of their music, their pretty faces, and their glamour and gossipy. After all, we were kind of guys more serious and with a more responsible sense of humour. So, we were free also of comedians, political jokes about bearer leaders and crazy plans around Havana.

We were so happy then, so free and so rehabilitated that when we reached the 90’s our future was doomed. Again we have to be slave of newborn religion, little dissidents groups and some soviet leaders talking about freedom of speech in Communist Heaven: what a joke!

We are missing our golden age of freedom, when we celebrated with throwing eggs and revolutionary slogans those CIA henchmen with own opinion who deserted and set off for Miami. We were free then of criminals, mad men and gay people, we threw them to the Americans in 1980. Then, we didn’t have the necessity to build concentrations camps like UMAP for gays, dissidents and nonconformists with our freedom. What a beautiful Orwellian life!

Now we are condemned to watch our children asking for free internet access, cellular phones and dollars. In the sixties and seventies, even in the eighties we were free of those chains. There were no jeans and no hear highlights. In fact, we were free of them from the entire school system and, if it was possible, from our country.

Even children cartoons were easier to remember: there were a few choices so you could watch them one in a week and you were content, the rest of the days we were in blackout, so we were happy. Today, everything is more complex: too much variety, but the blackouts are still happening. Life turned very complicated.

Today everything had changed. You could still say: Viva Cuba Libre (Long live Cuba Free!), but I don’t understand as a whole what it is the meaning. In fact, was there any meaning at all?