Two Intolerant People are Enough

26 Jun

Translator’s note:  Luis Felipe Rojas published this article in the digital magazine “Diario de Cuba”, under the title of “Con dos intolerantes basta” (‘Two Intolerant People are Enough’).  It can be read, in spanish, here.  The translation is as follows:

Silvio Rodriguez

The final episode of “Two People in Love is Good Enough”, a show which consisted of interviews done by singer-songwriter Amaury Perez Vidal to figures from the cultural elite on the island (or better said, in Havana), aired on Cuban television this past June 21st.  In reality, spectators would have preferred less of a focus on the capital and a  more national approach.  In any corner of this island they could have found a musician, painter, dancer, or scholar of respected connotation and that was not a friend of the host and lived in Santa Clara, Jatibonico, or Manzanillo.

For the grand finale of his series, Amaury Perez invited Silvio Rodriguez, the troubadour known as much for his songs as his adhesion to the “revolution” and his stories about how he was censured back in the beginning of his artistic career.

In front of the cameras, Silvio looked like a cheerful and contracted man at the same time.  Amaury was bent on exhausting the patience of the viewers with his ridiculous laughter which he used in each program to mix with complicity, and which this time was even more recurrent.

When asked why many considered him an official pro-revolution artist, Rodriguez responded by stating that when it came to the Cuban revolution and its leaders (Fidel and Raul) he felt no shame about this and proudly accepted any such labels.  And, up to that point, his discourse could seem reasonable, for there have always been intellectuals at the service of tyrants.

Silvio, however, went even further and displayed an intolerance at the same level of his subservience.  He accused “those who sang for Bush” of being the real government-sponsored ones.  For him, those who disagreed with the Cuban revolution and its leaders were “officialists” of a different kind than his.  The term could be used disparagingly.

But what Silvio Rodriguez did not explain in front of the cameras was that a Cuban exile could sing for president Obama today but four years later his adhesion will end, if there was any in the first place.  He also did not explain that those who sang for George W. Bush could never do it again (at least while  being president) because there exists a 200 year old constitution which prohibits this.

Another one of those political mysteries led Silvio Rodriguez to assume that public disapproval of the Cuban revolution automatically meant that the person approves the tacit bombardment of Iraq or the supposed attempt by North American troops to invade Libya.

The program, produced by the “Cubadebate” website (the newest cultural platform belonging to the ideological department of the Communsit Party) began to quickly descend in terms of interest and consistency, so much so that at one moment they preferred to interview the Dominican Sonia Silvestre, the current cultural diplomat of her country in Cuba.  (Without a single ounce of shame, the singer confessed how, through her influences, she sent her son to study science while she became the diplomatic representative).

Few countries- Cuba included- consider any form of dissent against a system which has perpetuated itself in power for more than 50 years a crime.  But, in the spirit of a good Cuban who surpasses physical and spiritual hunger, during the month of January a joke was going around the neighborhoods and even in the hallways of the Central Cuban Communist Party.  When someone would ask what the new year would be dubbed, the reply was a parody of the Amaury Perez program title and aims to give two old men what they deserve: “Two dead would do just fine”.

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