Thursday, April 14, 2011

We, Robots

I Robot - Movie Poster

I have a friend whose father is living in Cuba. He was a renown engineer, a university lecturer, a man of his party, a militant within Castro's partygoers.

My friend is living in the States, but he came to Canada one year before me, leaving back his parents with theirs well-known revolutionary credentials, his younger sister and a girlfriend to whom he promised to be married as soon he could afford her sponsor to Canada.

But life always gets you in the wrong place. Without any Canadian reference in his profession to put in his resume, my friend finished working in a factory and making a little money all the year around. As many Cubans, my friend crossed the border and settle in Buffalo, where he married an American girl and started a new life as a constructor worker within his father in law own Company.

In 2003, my friend invited his father to visit him to the States: a turning point in his father personal life. With a long history of blind faith in Cuba’s revolution and a passionate and extreme dedication to his socialist believes, and confidence in his comrades of his party, Serafin (*) entrusted his son’s invitation to visit him at the heart of the American imperialism. His comrades told him to make a choice: to stay and don’t go to see his son, or to surrender his political affiliation.

Serafin chose, but the party decided to expel a black sheep from its membership. No matter what the heart is, what the believes and thoughts are: discipline, blind faith and sacrifice are the only attributes the Communist Party of Cuba allows. He also lost his job as a lecturer in the University, the dearest achievement in his entire life. All gone, threw away in a blink of an eye.

And he saw himself, lining up in front of the US Interest Section in Havana, waiting for his moment to ask for a visa to see his own child. How many moments he saw passing through his eyes meanwhile the long line of people was getting into the square building in front of Havana seashore!

Moment after moment, as a movie in retrospective, he saw himself shouting to that very line of people with passion and revolutionary fervour: Pin Pon Fuera, Abajo la gusanera !!!! (“Pin Pon Out, Down with the Worms”, translated literally). As a matter of fact, he never thought he will be shouting to himself.

His entire life passed though that very moment: his years as a university student, dressed with Castro’s militia uniform; his time in Sierra Maestra, teaching illiterate farmers who to read and write; the days of Bay of Pig, with a uniform twice his size and a very old American rifle; the long crowd of people swearing in front of the Embassy of Peru in the 80’s; and more recently, the marches in front of that very square building, claiming the return of Elian Gonzalez. Life came back hastily to him and slapped his face with his own shame.

How many parents did he shamefully shout with no reason?

How many times did he condemn people like him trying to get in touch with their own children and grandchildren? And why?

Serafin got his visa and his three months trip to America. He came back to Cuba and never ever again asked himself about faith in something beyond his own family. He saw his son happy and realized that the tights that fenced him in partisanships and fake believes supported by common and simple people, but never by their own leaders, were chains and a bunch of lies. His entire life was a bunch of believes never fulfilled by his party leaders. As a piece of machinery, well oiled robots approving any single rule by his party, he chained himself and his future.

Today Serafin is no the little creature who lift his hand automatically in any party meeting. He doesn’t belong anymore to the revolution who turn its back to him and to his family members, and even to his dream. He has and old Russian card rented to time to Cubans living abroad and a tourists and giving him the well-needed dollars to live his life outside his old-sacralised government in which he trust no more.

He is not a partisan robot any more…

(*) Serafin is a non-real name to protect the identity of my friend’s father. The story is totally true.