Different Times, Similar Circumstances

23 May

Again, the prohibitions, the threats for writing without a police permit. My blogs, my pictures and videos, are circulating the Internet. My voice is heard on radio stations where one can say what one thinks and dreams without having their words, their divine words, edited.


I knew that Reyna Luisa, Zapata’s mother, had summoned Boitel and Zapata to their life’s journey;  I knew that many people would try to get to Banes to visit the Queen Mother. so when they mentioned Zapata to me. The Man left me no doubts that for the next two months plus a few days, my travels to the north of Holguin would be forbidden as they were on February 23, when we were getting ready to give him our final farewells.

They let me return home but not before a King’s Herald told me that the package of prohibitions to traveling outside of the municipality had an included clause: Two of us will escort you, even if you only walk around town, go to a store or to church.

Of what happened later I dictated by phone so my friends could post it on my blog. Of what I saw from my haven of prayer and peace I left a sample written and graphic.

– Major Charles from G-2 (machinery of repression known as State Security) and one of the police officers.

– Major Charles this time together with Captain Carlos Otamendi from G-2

– Charles, again

– Charles plus an officer from G-2 whose name I do not know.

– Only a police officer (uniformed).

– Major Cepeda and another civilian that judging by his body language is also watching.

– But not to worry, a uniformed officer came because the political police officers were taking a break.

– To change the subject… others watched

– But to continue changing… I was watched by others.

– Do not get bored with me my dear little friends!

If you have patience continue reading to the end.

What a coincidence they watched me, I bet you can guess who? Well.. The G-2, the political police (without uniforms) and the badly named “National Revolutionary Police” (in uniforms).

– Look at that! Maykel Rodriguez Alfajarrin from the G-2 also came to watch.

-But Maykel did not do his rounds alone, he was accompanied by a sector chief of the PNR.  Gentlemen, it’s for discipline and one pair of every kind.

– Always a shirtless neighbor would go by and to get on the good side of the “poli” as if not on purpose, he would tell some stories, he would smoke a cigarette… pretending to be a revolutionary, recalling the televised series in which the Cuban Secret Agents will be everywhere to save Cuba from a giant located at the North. He reminisced about the time he was in Angola, he listed the accomplishments, stunts and exploits of some of the ones who today are in the military hierarchy, and he complimented the Commandant who directed a tremendous battle from his desk in the island capital.

Six days of been watched went by. You need to be patient with me when I tell it to you.

– In addition, so that I would be clear that the people’s war was not going to stop, a social worker did his job of watching, because “we have to help the warriors, no?”

– Nevertheless, as in Cuba, there is equality of the sexes and women have the same rights and duties as men.  A young revolutionary social worker made her triumphal entrance. I believe they let her study in the school of the social workers because she is a “distinguished combative militant.” I do not know her, but when I go out next week, perhaps I will find her in a store that sells in hard currency, and I will tell her that her jeans fit her very well, and that my wife received a similar pair from the North. I will also tell her that some years ago, I enrolled in the same school that she is in now, but that I was expelled for writing verses that according to the editorial police did not define me as a “good revolutionary”.

– I want you know that among the watchdogs they had helpers from the G-2 (I do not know that if the one who watched me fulfilled the requirements of the unpolluted life, because usually those helpers are of a humble appearance. You can tell that some do it because they are afraid, because they want to  get rid of the ones that watch everything in the CDR (Defense Committee of the Revolution)). They do it so they can sell their quart of milk from their own backyard, the onions, the ounce of coffee and give the appearance that they are combative.

– Gracious me! Some kids thought to visit me. They are good people. I know them, and they are funny. They told me after they lifted the absurd vigilance and I went for a walk, on Monday, as they listened to a foreign radio station, that can be heard on the sly in all the neighborhoods, that I had said that my dignity as a free man would not allow me to go out into the streets accompanied by two gendarmes. It was best to go to my house to listen to stories and to show solidarity with my family, but no way they had to leave, they assured me.

– It wasn’t always necessary that they were more than two. With wireless equipment to notify that “little rogue” had left to go to the arena or that I went to join guerrilla warfare at the Escambray hills. The lone guardsman on his shift could call the others that is how come they left him alone, completely alone. He thought that if I intended to go out, immediately the rangers specialized in search and capture would come. Even the Mayaguaya horse would descend from hell to show them the best access ways to the guerrillas of Osvaldo Ramírez or the Chelito León guerrillas, which according to an informant were the ones that I had chosen.

– Excuse me! I left to another time. The reason being that on these days of captivity I read a book that a friend send me, “Escambray, the story that the totalitarians tried to bury.” I saw a documentary about Porfirio Guillen, that brave young man who left to Escambray in 1960 and who Castro sent to the firing squad. Because he could not allow that other men would think differently than he did and because they accused Castro of being a communist, and my mind wondered to our past history to another time that many of my era do not know well.

Coming back to reality! I will say that if I escape they will come in a JEEP car or in their ZZK model motorcycles that the G-2 officials ride.

– Does the subject bore you yet?

– My family and I are staying put. We can say with certainty that the light that we want for our kids turned on precisely on February 23, the day that Orlando Zapata Tamayo reached immortality

Translated by: Mari Mesa Contreras and PH

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