Monday, January 25, 2010

Useless People

Goya was the father of the modern art, his paintings were from the jolly and light-hearted beginnings to the deepest and pessimistic vision of his endings. His portraits of the Spain’s royal family, who employed him, are the deepest look through the eyes of the non-pleasant artist to the characters of the decaying monarchy of Charles IV.Useless People

Some critics theorize that his last paintings were inspired by a madness caused for some hideous components in the paint used by him. But when Goya painted “Saturn devouring his children”, he left a fresco with deeper meanings for decades to come.

For Cubans the lecture of Goya is more practical and more grounded to the pieces of the brain-breaker that the Cuban Revolution represents. What it began as a step into the democratic transformation of a country plunged for 10 years in a bloody tyranny, ended in another type of system more twisted, more intolerant and more personalized in the name of only one person: Fidel Castro.

As a consequence, big and small names had been left as useless throughout 50 years of dictatorship. Big names like Hubert Matos and Camilo Cienfuegos vanished, the first in prison for long years, the second in a very rare and suspicious accident after beinginvolved in a process headed to the imprisoning of the Commander of Revolution Matos. I do not mention that some of those figures are nameless and under Castro scrutiny means not less than a heresy.

A long list of names, big names in Cuba history have been buried through the years, but those names at least have a place in history and news. People know them, time to time some journalists, or intellectuals or dissidents mention them. But the little names who swelled the list of Castro’s guerrilla are disappearing forever in the dark with no mention in books, news and remembrances of any kind.

Useless people who build the bunker in which Castro has lived through 50 years, you could only see them, time to time, and when the moment is favourable to offer a small audience of old famished figures with faded old uniform, and a few faked gold medals over their chest. That is what the revolution they helped to install in power gave to them: medals, a few words of glory in public ceremonies, and maybe now and then the hypocrite handshake of the man for who they fought with total abnegation.

Useless names with nothing achieved, living many of them in old poor houses, with a little pension and millions of broken dreams, all of then unfulfilled. As Octavio Paz said in his book “The labyrinth of Solicitude”: “Every Revolution flows into the cult of its leaders”.

In his track to hold the power until his death, Castro cut off any single name who tries to scratch a little doubt to the walls of the tyranny that all of them helped to build. But how many unknown people did vanish without a single mention, and even worshiping his name as a sacred sorcerer? Nobody knows.

You still catch a few of them every anniversary of Moncada assault. They look fatigued, tired of the same old promises vanished, but they still go to the places Cuba’s government assigned to them: there is no choice, and it is the only moment those men are remembered. When the speeches finished, and the crowd left the premises and the music and slogans ended, they went back to their frugal and gloomy lives with nothing in their hands, and hopes flying away until next year to the same rehearsed comedy.

The revolution had devoured its children, cut the wings of freedom and prosperity, and it is burying the names of everyone who helped claim one name to the world history. There were useful people in the past, today life had turned them into useless shadows with no name to claim.