Some people were surprised when the Great National Reflector* multiplied by zero the two most conspicuous of the recently tossed-out governmental functionaries, minimizing their importance compared to the most significant thing of the moment: The World Baseball Classic. Briefly, to judge by the voice of the Antillean Olympian, it’s not worth talking about the inconsequential replacement of more than ten officials, including nine ministers, in a complete cabinet reshuffle,when right in front of his nose is the important sports tournament in which HIS team, whose principal merit is, without a doubt, patriotism, will defend the colors of the national flag and with it the always superior values of the revolution and socialism.
So, in keeping with the inherent nature of the sons of this land, people were gossiping on every corner about the dispossessed, only until the first pitch was tossed out. How important could the cabinet of a government—supposedly facing the challenge of the country’s economic crisis, now aggravated by the global recession—possibly be, compared to the power of baseball teams such as those from Japan, Korea or the United States, which must be beaten at any cost? What significance could our profound social ills have compared to the pitching of the mythical Matsuzaka, who already beat the Cuban team three times? Now that is a matter of the greatest importance.
Perhaps that’s why there hasn’t been any mention in the official Cuban press of the approval by the Congress of the United States of a law that allows Cubans living in that country to travel to the Island once a year, and to stay here for any length of time, spending up to 179 dollars a day (rather than the previous limit of 50 dollars), plus the right to ask permission for an additional visit in the case of a family emergency. Nor has the press informed Cubans here that in the same session of Congress, on March 10th, they authorized the sale of food and medicines to the government of Cuba without the need to pay ahead of time, a condition imposed by the previous administration. The relaxation of the measures against the Island are not something our government would want to prioritize, but neither does it seem to be of much interest to Cubans: everything pales in comparison to the Classic. Now, when the slogan “Fatherland or Death” doesn’t seem to mobilize anyone, the most useful is the new rallying cry: HOMERUN!!!!!
Illustration: Photo from the National Geographic Society
*Translator’s note: A reference to Fidel Castro; his written “Reflections” are published regularly in Granma, the main national daily newspaper.