For several days, the official Cuban newspapers have been coming out without the recurring (and sometimes even risible) “reflections” of Compañero F*. It’s known that, owing to a lack of real information or medical news, these reflections have been the most useful indicator of the state of health (pardon the ridiculous idea) of the most celebrated Cuban dictator. Judging by what is “reflected” by F and the form of its expression, most Cubans on the Island—or at least most of those with the patience to read it—inferred to what extent el compañerito* was “working”, what measure of lucidity remained to him, or if he had some connection, however remote, with Cuban reality. There were plenty who speculated whether this or that fragment hadn’t been written by F, or whether there was an able imitator who was writing the reflections, because F wasn’t even in a condition to dictate them. And so, paradoxically, the reflections section in the Granma newspaper had become a sort of pastime for a wide sector of the population. A game of divination and mystical ciphers that managed to become more entertaining than the crossword puzzle in that emaciated centenarian of a weekly magazine, Bohemia.
And now the reflections aren’t coming out and the people are making a thousand conjectures: that F is dying, that he has two months to live, that he is “connected” to life-support and that they will disconnect him on the 26th of July, and thousands more comments in the same morbid style. The flights of the imagination are only comparable to the comedy series Futurama, where only the heads of the people, carefully preserved under glass hoods, are speaking and sharing their opinions. As always occurs in these cases of total absence of any signs, the curious ones come to us, the disobedient ones, in order to find out if we know something about F because it is supposed that “we are more informed”. But no. We don’t know anything about the subject either. Including some of us–like me–who don’t have even the slightest interest in knowing anything about him. I honestly don’t care. In my psyche F is now in the past; even to the point where I have erased from my machine whatever information or photographs refer to that person. I’m not even going to put his photo on this post. I recently threw out the issues of the newspaper Granma in which it published his proclamation of July 31, 2006, his recent “resignation”, and other journalistic trinkets that I’ve been collecting and putting away like curiosities. I’d rather not amass evidence of the death-rattles of a disgraceful dictatorship. I have suffered enough of it all my life. He and all that he has done to my life is past, and I am living completely in the present, with my face to the future. So, I hope that no one asks me any more questions about Mr. F: no one lives behind that door in my memory any longer.
May 10, 2008
The nicknames “Compañero F” and “el compañerito” refer to Fidel Castro.