Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The cunning edge of the eraser.

When you review the last 50 years in Cuba’s history through its political leaders at any level, a very cunning and atonishing picture could be revealed. You see, for 50 years a long list of names had followed every level of the social and political organizations and institutions in our country and a mere few names had remained immovable. You guess, add to the brothers Castro a few and you got the final list.The cunning edge of the eraser

Big names, little names with no trace in history or guerrillas and stars in our revolutionary firmament had passed away in the blurred pages of revolutionary Cuba. From Camilo Cienfuegos whose destiny is still a mystery to Haydee Santamaria whose suicide is one of the rarest cases in nervous breakdown in our country.

In Camilo Cienfuegos’ case we could almost find some of the key components of those mysterious disappearances in recent Cuba history. How could a plane disappear without any trace and stay unsolved for decades without any clue? There are friends of the popular Commander like Hubert Matos who had said he was killed because Camilo didn’t want to act as witness in his trial, and because he had expressed publicly his distaste with the communist elements surrounding Castro. People who said they saw Camilo in Havana after being reported vanished and even witnesses who had died in suspicious circumstances.

I am not trying to tackle all the theories and events surrounding Camilo’s death. That is not the purpose of this post, could be in another moment. My question is: how many public servants have been removed from the public eye in questionable circumstances in Cuba, astonishing erased from public services and institutions without any reasonable explanation? Moreover, when a group of close officials to a president, prime minister or any political leader are involved in corruption or fraud, mismanagement or even abuse of confidentiality, is not the government involve as a whole?

For less than the General Arnaldo Ochoa was incarcerated, prosecuted and executed many others governments had been imploded and disappeared in western democracies. Besides, how could you swallow that the commander in chief of the western provinces’ army in Cuba was involved in drugs, mismanagement and corruption and anybody knew included his closest friend Raul Castro?

If you put this together with the fact that our republic is a military totalitarian regime in the hands of our brothers Castro you could find the bottom line: it was just a settling of scores. As many in our 50 years of Castro’s land, we have too many names and too many black holes in our constellation.

Typically, many small leaders had been erased without any public explanation, which is very usual in our premises. But there are three big names whose suicides are just the tropical parallel with the Stalin’s 1937: Haydee Santamaria, Osvaldo Dorticos and Nilsa Espin Guillois (Vilma Espin’ sister and Raul Castro’ sister in law). The last one was found dead in Raul Castro’s office.

About Haydee and Osvaldo, Cuba’s newspaper published a note claiming nervous breakdown. In those cases, the reasons published listed long term mental instabilities as result of old sorrows and pains. Please, after 20 years in service in important government positions nervous breakdown? In the case of Nilsa, nothing was said, nothing was published and the case is an estate secret.

But it is not rare in Cuba’s history as it is not rare how public figures vanished from day to night, many of them accused of corruption or mismanagement like Luis Orlando Dominguez, Roberto Robaina or Carlos Aldana. Big names which in their times were victimizers of too many people. Aldana was the ideological chastity priest of the Communist Party for important years. Other names fled Cuba through rafters to find refugee in Miami like Alcibiades Perez Hidalgo, and we have been watching their endless sorrows for their years inside the crushing machines as opportunistic operators, simple tools or facilitators. Give me a break!

The first victim of Castro was Manuel Urrutia Lleo, the first President of Cuba after 1959 and he was removed as result of his remarks against Castro and his approach to the communist elements, communists who were opposed to the guerrilla against Batista: what an irony!

Since then, the brothers Castro had been using their chameleonic coverage to erase names after names in Cuba’s institutions. Sometimes scrapping old names and installing newcomers, sometimes bringing old names erased in the past but brought into our present for utilitarian interests as well, like the late Ramiro Valdes, our first Ministry of Interior after 1959 and scrapped when his ultraconservative figure was shadowing too much in Cuba’s landscape.

Ups and downs are the tides in Cuba’s recent history. The laws governing those tides are in many occasions unknown and sometimes temporarily transparent, when the Castro’s duet is in the mood to send a signal. But definitively, you can teach the history of the last 50 years through names and faces, many of them trapped inside Cuba, some buried in silence and shame.

But the eternal rulers are there, holding their erasers and ready to remove the next name in line.

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