Agosto 20, 2009 at 18:00 · Clasificados en Sin Evasión
The news of the recent arrest and “prosecution” of Pánfilo, about which is being said that he was finally sentenced to two years in prison for the “crime” of pre-delinquency dangerousness, has spread quickly through Havana. The general opinion is that this man has been used by Cuban authorities as a scapegoat, a kind of lesson to be learned by those who may feel encouraged to offer their opinion (criticism) about some aspect of the reality that exists in Cuba. And it is not a matter of disregarding your point of view: let’s imagine the huge number of alcoholics we have on the streets of the capital denouncing their penury.
However, Pánfilo’s case suggests other wrinkles and twists that show how the news is often the product of circumstances. Only in Cuba could reports of a boozer transcend as an event, because –though his declarations in that first video that caused him to be discovered before public opinion were true- what’s peculiar about the event is that, among so many material and spiritual shortages, a common character would dare to express himself publicly and freely only under the effects of alcohol. The second statement of Pánfilo’s, a sort of self-criticism where he declared “not remembering anything” about what he said before, was generated –not by chance- after he was hospitalized to bring about his “detoxification”. We know where these centers are that deal with “health”, and who the specialists are.
But for some unknown circumstance which could be related to a certain amount of money received by our character (and that, according to informal sources, was quickly diluted in alcohol), Pánfilo returned for a comeback appearance a third time before the cameras and he reaffirmed his initial statement: “Hunger and OK!” and was immediately removed from the scene by the owners of the property: apparently, this time he will have to survive in the miserable prison property and, moreover, without the possibility of evading the harsh reality by consoling himself with the neighborhood’s “chispa ‘e tren”* which, for him, has the odd effect of clearing up the mind.
It occurs to me, after all, that maybe Pánfilo was not arrested for what he said, but for retracting once what he said in his first rapture of drunken sincerity. He is truly a three-time victim: of the system, of alcohol, and of himself, because he didn’t (the poor bastard couldn’t know) calculate that in Cuba, when they squeeze you, you have to scream louder and clearer than ever, and that, once you have fallen into the path of freedom of expression, if only by chance, as in his case, there is no possible return.
*translator’s note: *cheap alcoholic drink which when translated literally means spark of the train.