domingo, 16 de julio de 2017

TANTO NADAR PARA MORIR EL LA ORILLA

Holding the hand of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev during a four-week official visit to Moscow, 1963

De la seccion MIRADA HACIA CUBA para los que me leen dentro de la isla
por Andres Alburquerque.

Sabio y viejo refrán que refleja la futilidad del esfuerzo humano cuando se desata en un caprichoso contracorriente solo para adelantar la agenda de unos pocos individuos en detrimento de la gran mayoría de sus semejantes. En el caso cubano la historia nos regala cientos de momentos en los que se puede aplicar esta sentencia. Deseo que los compatriotas de la isla me regalen un par de minutos para acompañarme en la siguiente reflexión ciudadana:

Entre las razones que justificaron la imposición por la vía armada de su persona, su grupo y en última instancia su régimen totalitario, impío y despiadado, Fidel Castro Ruz, quien afortunadamente ha dejado de importunarnos con su petulante presencia y su rancio verbo de articulación oxidada y quejumbrosa, nos enumeró un sinnúmero de calamidades:
1- Cuba era el destino del turismo americano que había convertido la isla en su exclusivo burdel.
2- La dependencia de la caña de azúcar nos hacía rehenes de los caprichos de la administración americana y se hacía necesario diversificar la agricultura en la isla.
3- A pesar de una campaña de alfabetización lanzada por Fulgencio Batista a finales de los años treinta; el campesinado permanecía ignorante y analfabeto.
4- A pesar de contar con una cabeza de ganado por habitante a la llegada del Caligula tropical al poder (éramos seis millones de cubanos y existían seis millones de cabezas) era necesario potenciar al máximo la productividad y repartir las tierras ociosas de modo que los latifundistas no entorpeciesen el desarrollo de nuestra agricultura. 
5- Era necesario no solo convertirnos en autosuficientes en el sector agrícola sino lograr exportar algunos reglones más allá de la tradicional y voluble azúcar y sus derivados.

Todo esto y un cúmulo de razones más fueron lanzadas con una retórica tan violenta y traumática que implicó:
1- La división de la familia al punto de que los que quedamos en la isla rompimos todo tipo de nexo con los familiares emigrados y hasta los denigrábamos públicamente.
2- La ruptura casi total de la población con la religión católica e incluso con la afrocubana aunque en este último caso quedaron siempre los que se consultaban de madrugada.
3- Una campaña de demonizacion de todo lo americano desde la música hasta su modo de vida; de pronto nos convertimos en los sovieticos del Caribe y borramos de golpe todo un siglo de cercanía al vecino del norte; poco faltó para que disparásemos nieve artificial en los faraónicos desfiles militares donde mostrábamos orondos ese poderío milagroso que nos permitiría resistir un ataque directo convencional de Estados Unidos por el prolongado periodo de TREINTA Y SEIS HORAS.

Amigos míos: aunque nos parezca absurdo; sesenta años después:
1- No solo fue imposible diversificar la agricultura sino que hoy Cuba importa azúcar; mientras una gran porción de las otrora fértiles tierras están plagadas de marabú y permanecen improductivas.
2- La carne se convirtió en un artículo de lujo; cabría pensar que las vacas fueron fusiladas junto a todo vestigio de oposición al régimen.
3- La isla de Cuba hoy no es el burdel exclusivo de los americanos sino el promiscuo centro de sexo mundial que recibe vuelos charters europeos repletos de todo tipo de insatisfecho sexual que busque realizar las más elaboradas fantasías a cambio de unas bocanadas de humo "americano" o una cena decente; el único sector donde la Junta Militar que desgobierna la isla fue capaz de diversificar el mercado fue la prostitucion. 
4- El régimen de La Habana gasta  cuantiosas cifras y mueve todo tipo de chantaje con el objetivo de restablecer plenamente el comercio con Estados Unidos; a tal punto llega la paradoja que la propaganda oficial afirma que las simbólicas medidas del presidente Trump afectarán gravemente al cubano de a pie. Quiere decir que luego de sesenta años necesitamos más que nunca del poderoso y rapaz vecino del norte de quién tanto hemos despotricado todos estos años.
5- Una de las batallas más arduas se desarrolla en el campo de la importación de productos agrícolas de Estados Unidos; en particular el arroz. Puede el régimen explicar cómo es posible que luego de sesenta años de hostilidad y de propaganda adversa ahora tenga la desfachatez de decir a su pueblo que necesitan regresar al 1959?

Quienes se hacen estas preguntas en Cuba? Por qué en vez de viajar al extranjero a convencer al mundo de lo que ya conoce los intelectuales cubanos; sean opositores o no, permanecen en este silencio cómplice? 

martes, 11 de julio de 2017

APPEASEMENT AND ACQUIESCENCE


Image result for picture of Trump and Kim Jong Un

The west is known for its inveterate preference for kicking the can further down the road. Politicians are more concerned about their so called legacy, and of late about their handsomely paid speeches than about the future of their countries and the interests of the average people; as relief pitchers they have one mission and one mission only: to "kill" a couple of innings, the rest is irrelevant. That's how we got to where we are regarding the rogue state of North Korea; Clinton, Bush and Obama did little or nothing to avoid this disaster and now Mr Trump, who for many is the least qualified of our presidents, has been given the ball with no outs and the opposite team with all bases loaded. There's no need to draw any red lines since the Korean madman has already passed them all; he's capable of reaching the continental territory of the United States of America at least hypothetically. What are the options for our government?

1- Press all Chinese banks and institutions with any sort of ties with North Korea; which could in turn lead to an economic "war" with China, the communist nation that happens to be our major foreign creditor. Doesn't look too good.

2- Shipping back nuclear war heads to South Korea and convince Japan to request nuclear weapons. That could upset the balance between the old and the new guard of the Chinese nomenclature in favor of the latter which supposedly considers the embarrassing neighbor to be a pain rather than an asset. The actual shipping wouldn't have to take place; chances are that the mere request from Japan forces China to come back to its senses. But what if the old fellows in Beijing call our bluff and we end up arming Japan and thus triggering an arms race in the Pacific? 

3- Delaying any measures against China's rigging of the market and manipulation of its currency for a few years in exchange for some help with North Korea; but just how much help would that buy us and how effective and enduring would such help be?

4- Carrying out a "surgical" attack on the madman's quarters eliminating him and his close aides. American spends billions of tax payer's dollars to supposedly develop our intelligence capabilities; we the people have tacitly given up on our privacy in order to be safe; it is time that the government shows us that our decision was the right one. If the most powerful nation on earth cannot get rid of Kim Jong Un without men on the ground then we have a problem. But even if we manage to neutralize the Korean dictator chances are the rest of the bureaucracy reacts in a destabilizing manner.

The notion of the Chinese persuading the North Koreans to give up their nuclear weapons is unrealistic; Kim only has to look at Libya to be ominously reminded that the West is not able to keep its word. Our record is so poor that only a fool would trust us.

This is one of those cases where all options are lousy options; but one thing is certain: a nuclear North Korea with ICBMs capable of reaching our west coast is a game changer and we must not hesitate to take harsh measures. Time's up and we can't kick the can any further because the road ends here.

sábado, 8 de julio de 2017

ALBERTICO Y ESPERANZA (PART IV)



portada diez cuentos cubanos, más o menos.


As they sit silently in their battered rocking chairs; dust flying by and the smell of cheap gasoline conquering the air, three strokes and one surgery later, Albertico listens carefully as Antonio explains in plain language the latest developments in America. A black president had governed for two terms, a mogul was now in the White House and his friend, of all people, was part of a group who pushed a message of reconciliation and leniency with the Cuban government; he learned that there allegedly were 55 senators from both parties ready to pass a law that would allow American entrepreneurs to export to Cuba and invest in the island. So the embargo has been lifted, Albertico asked, no, no, but we are slowly dismantling it; it's a matter of time. Oh God, time; time for what and time for who?; Fidel had always pleaded for time to materialize his unrealistic dreams; his enemies claimed time wouldn't solve anything; now; wait a minute! Now his enemies are the ones asking me for more time?; I don't have more time; I don't have time at all; I never had time. Fidel kicked some people out and stayed in power for 50 years; now those are coming back to prevail for another 50 years? I won't live that long. We made a revolution to eliminate a status quo and now I learn that my friend is fighting hard so that the very same status quo emerges from the shambles of this shattered dream we call revolution? 
Antonio carajo before long you will tell me that your people allá fuera are fighting bringing back la Guardia Rural and los casquitos; 

Albertico y Esperanza were able to watch the new president speak about Cuba. It was the first time they watched a speech live from Miami of all places. This new president was rich, very rich and many claimed he was crazy. All his life he had been told that America was the enemy; but all his life had depended on what the Americans decided to do. The US is ready to invade Cuba; Fidel had said so many times, but now the Viejo was finally dead, and he didn't feel sorry about it. America was the beginning and the end of everything Cuban. Of late he had suspected the whole thing was a farce. He had been able to know that Ike had forced Batista out; the the famous batalla de Santa Clara was nothing but one more sign of how corrupt the previous army was; the damned train had been sold. And who paid for it? The same rich people that less than a year later fled the country; the same rich people that were feeding his friend Antonio all that nonsense about defeating the regime with money. Hay cosas que no se entienden. As the hot afternoon became evening and the blackout grew longer the couple sits in their portal watching the world get older, the street dirtier and their memory weaker.

BOURGEOIS COMMUNISM V





The left had a "master plan" they were convinced their candidate would win; blinded by their arrogance and their elitism, they failed to heed the clamor of the very downtrodden masses they so often speak about when demagoguery is necessary. They flirted so intensely with alien interests and values that they forgot what America was about; they moved so far to the left that they left America; and above all, in defiance of all logics they prioritized a mafioso agreement between Obama and the Clintons (in emulation of a feudal marriage arrangements) over all the warning signs as to the vulnerabilities of the crowned queen. We all know the result; they lost, and when we say they lost we mean they lost as to exclude any possibility of the other candidate winning. The left blew it, the left lost; that is the root of their hatred towards the current president; every time Donald J Trump appears on TV or makes a remark they are mercilessly reminded of their historic gaffe and they simply cannot accept it. How can you make a mistake if you are always right? How can this people be so stupid, so ignorant and so red necked to vote for "that man"?. They had it all worked out; after eight years of Obama yet eight more years of Hillary Clinton and the job would have been completed; religion against the wall, an attack to the jugular of the second amendment, total neutralization of the right in academia and in all campuses of America; gradual erosion of the semantics and the perception in order to sow doubt and confusion. They had realized the gay movement by itself would not delete our identity: the American people in its proverbial kindness and compassion had come to terms with the issue and defeated homophobia; thus, they had to shift to a higher gear: doubt, blurred lines, hesitation, vacillation; gays were not gay anymore; it was time to not know who we were; we had to feel male today and female tomorrow, the seed of uncertainty would undermine our identity until we were no longer able of knowing who we were. Whether Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton were conscious accomplices in this conspiracy remains to be seen. My personal opinion is that while Obama did not feel any regrets about "changing" America, Hillary was not too happy about departing from what she had known all her life, but she wanted the presidency so badly that she would not alienate the extremists that had taken her party hostage. Wittingly or unwittingly they had been chipping away at the facade of this luxurious high rise we call the USA.

The blonde mogul was an obstacle and since that fateful Tuesday night in November of 2016 they abandoned the coordinated strategy to engage in an all out civil war that continues to erode our nationality as we read these lines. But we are not alone; this is not an American conspiracy, the bourgeois communists are everywhere; enjoying a cup of coffee in the Parisian boulevards, sipping prosecco in Rome and marching down the streets of Madrid on Venezuela's dime. Their objectives are the same: instill guilt, doubt, hatred, confusion and hesitation. They need to guarantee that we don't fight back so that when we wake up their job is finished. The upsetting of the ethnic balance, the latinamericanization of the US and the spread of the Muslim religion throughout Europe; the Third World version of the Christian crusades. Why would rich people who can enjoy a wonderful life go into all those troubles?; because money is not enough; Soros and a handful of capitalist leeches want it all; they no longer want to share their privileges with a few chosen: they want to be the "only ones" ignoring the fact that once the hateful masses are put in motion the avalanche destroys everything and that they won't live to enjoy their victory. 

Before we end this series, let's point out some of the techniques used by this dangerous elite:
1- They manipulate history hyperbolising the evils of the right and humanizing the atrocities of the left.
2- They exercise a tacit monopoly on history; therefore, they quote events and phrases of the past at will to prove their points, but when we try to do the same they shrug our arguments off stating that we cannot live in the past.
3- They viciously dig any and all unpleasantries of the right but edulcorate and sugar coat their own.
4- They claim the throne of culture; theirs are the artists and the entertainers, the writers and the poets and those few who dare challenge them are ostracized and neutralized.
5- They carefully collect all evidences of "deviation" from the conventional norms of our society although they claim to be progressive and revolutionary; although from Kennedy to Clinton the left has engaged often in sexual debaucheries; they invariably assassinate the character of anyone who challenges their narratives; Clarence Thomas, Herman Cain and more recently Bill Cosby are just a few examples of the same racist plot: the black guy who raped the white lady or who sexually harassed a woman. Always blacks and sex; one would think it is a conservative, white narrative; instead this weapon is mostly wielded by the so called "progressives".

The list goes on and on, but the aforementioned points are some of the most common tactics used by such dangerous variant of the old communism; which leads us to my point in the first chapter: Gramci's theory of creating alliances with honest capitalists that would be kicked in the butt when the time was right. 

viernes, 16 de junio de 2017

ALBERTICO Y ESPERANZA (PART III)



                                                    portada diez cuentos cubanos, más o menos.

It was ironic that his dedication to the revolution notwithstanding Albertico was never allowed to join the party; in Cuba since the early sixties the party was only one; the Communist Party headed by the Castros; there were no other parties nor were Cubans permitted to profess an ideology different from the official narrative. Albertico lost almost all his friends, most of them had left the island and embraced the capitalist way they had so vehemently reneged only a decade ago, while others thought the revolution was not red enough and craved the achievements of the glorious Soviet Union; curious, Albertico thought, in the end the ultra communists left too. Hay cosas que no se entienden. Whenever Esperanza claimed the revolution had been unfair with him he answered he was one the many communists without membership card. I don't need a card to be a communist. Yes, I confess I had hated communism for a long time but that was before the revolution gave me the opportunity to study and see the world as it was; well not really see the world, Esperanza reminded him that his coworkers had all traveled abroad and he hadn't.

The seventies brought one failure after another; El Comandante had these great ideas that were successful only in his mind. Albertico always blamed it on his lazy fellow Cubans; thus, from one position to the next he always got in trouble; he was always the target of the bureaucracy and he saw his children become adults hating the very experiment he had so hard fought for. Then, all of a sudden, something odd happened. Fidel gave a speech announcing that those traitors he had been forced to turn away from would now be allowed to come visit the island. Ay mi madre how are we going to look Susana and Antonio in the eye?. Albertico felt somewhat betrayed, for the first time he doubted el comandante's wisdom.

In less than a year it all turned back to the early days; people started leaving the island in any possible way; breaking into embassies, jumping into rafts. His estranged friends had all come and hugged him as if time had not passed; they were not starving as "Granma" used to depict exile in Miami; he was dumbfounded to realize that a welder in America lived much better than a neurosurgeon in Cuba. The party propaganda had been deceitful. Fidel had to do something, he was being betrayed again. His children wanted to leave and he had to use all his convincing power to talk them out of such decision; then Cubans started to bully Cubans all over the place. El comandante had clearly said that all those who wanted to leave could do so: we don't want them; we don't need them; he had said; so then why the violence? Why beating them, insulting them?; how could he beat his neighbor of twenty years? Fidel had to be informed; some opportunists were not following his directives. He wrote a lengthy letter to El Comandante; full of passion, exhaustive in the details and with a chronological recap of the Revolution. He never got a reply; Fidel was probably too busy; but he had been hurriedly transferred to a lower position and was never asked to attend "important meetings" again. Some bourgeois opportunist was between him and his beloved Comandante; the enemy is everywhere

Esperanza brings him a glass with lemonade; it's so hot in Cuba in the summer!!!; and they go back to their memories. Their children enrolled in the university of Havana; well Albertin there but the girl went to ISPJAE; she wanted to be an engineer. Albertin had a friend who was very well connected; he chauffeured a compañero coronel; the boy was only two years older than their son but he dressed well, for Cuban standards, and he carried US dollars all the time. Esperanza was scared her son would be detained for possession of hard currency, a serious crime then, but no; his friend was a powerful man. Albertico was not too happy, his son had started to drink a little too much and had somehow neglected his duties at school; he still got 4s and 3s but had stopped getting 5s and it bothered him.

A chilling effect travels down his back as Albertico remembers the guards coming for his son and taking him to Villa Marista; he was there for a whole day and had been sent back home with a warning not to see his friend again. The news, the videotapes of a trial. My God Arnaldo Ochoa, the most popular and decorated general in the Cuban Armed Forces has been arrested and is about to be sentenced; his son's friend had been in jail for a week and his boss was among the ones put on trial with General Ochoa. It didn't add up; Ochoa had been in Angola while the other traitors were engaged in drug trafficking towards the US; secret meetings with Escobar; he ran to his room and looked for the old American magazine Antonio had left in his last trip to Cuba; the objective had been the sports section; but Albertico had caught a glimpse of Admiral Santamaria; whom he knew well; what was the Admiral doing in an American magazine; with Antonio's help he had grasped the essence; the Admiral had been indicted with the charge of drug trafficking; Raul's name was also mentioned. Hay cosas que no se entienden. Albertico felt sick; he felt a sharp pain in his stomach, then his left arm went numb and he fainted. That was his first stroke and as he returned home from the hospital three days later the world had fallen on his shoulders. He kept glued to the TV set for the entire duration of the trial. He was absent from work for two months; he had never missed a day in his life; but Esperanza had been adamant: you will do as the doctor ordered. He obeyed and watched the first and the second trial. This time he had no doubts; nobody was lying to Fidel; the Comandante himself was asking for blood!!! The American magazine, Antonio's assurances that Castro was behind the whole scandal. Hay cosas que no se entienden.

Albertico returned to work but nothing was the same. He could not feel the old enthusiasm. Fidel had banned the Soviet magazines. Hay cosas que no se entienden. The news from the Soviet Union were confusing and it was becoming harder and harder to get food. One day he heard Fidel say something he never thought he would say: we have been abandoned by the Soviet Union and the socialist bloc does not exist anymore; right before his incredulous eyes, Cuba collapsed into an economic depression; they could only eat when a friend from the Miami flew to the island. What had happened?; Esperanza finally broke the news to him while the family sat at the table for a frugal meal: "Esto es una mierda papi" and she started crying so helplessly Albertico feared his wife might suffer a heart attack.

After that it all blurred; black outs and an economic crisis only similar to the stories he had heard about las vacas flacas. Parents pimping their daughters and even their sons to sexual predators disguised as tourists. He had seen Americans, not as many as the official propaganda later had it, come to Cuba for sex; funny thing now they came from all over the world but America; entire aircrafts filled with single men to enjoy the sexual prowess of teenagers male and female; one mass exodus after the other. Esto es una mierda; his wife words rang incessantly in his mind. So many years of sacrifice, so many things they had done without only to find himself incapable of feeding his family; what they ate was procured by the lousy tips the tourists gave Albertin whose degree ended up being a waste of time as he had been forced to earn his keep as a bellhop in Havana Libre. Mariana was even worse; it had broken his heart when he found out his almost forty year old daughter was dating a wealthy Italian that came regularly to Cuba on business; or so he said. Mariana's husband was well aware of the whole thing and had been introduced to the rich man as her cousin. That was his second stroke. He refused to accept any gifts from his daughter TO BE CONTINUED...

domingo, 11 de junio de 2017

TO BE A ROCK AND NOT TO ROLL



                                 Image result for picture of Trump and Raul Castro   
It's been widely reported that President Trump will come to Miami next Friday to officially announce his policy for Cuba. I haven't confirmed this rumor; but if it proves accurate Mr Trump will be yet another Commander in Chief with the uncomfortable matter called Cuba.

Whilst I did not agree with Obama's  give all, or almost all in exchange for nothing and I believe the unconditional "surrendering" of his administration was a betrayal to the martyrdom of so many Cubans shot by firing squads, summarily jailed and pressed into exile, there are a few aspects of his so called new approach that help us more than harm us; namely: the authorization to American companies to start schedule flights and the lifting of caps on the amount of money to be remitted to relatives in the island. The former not only deprives the Havana Junta of its monopoly in the business, but drastically lowers the price of air fare which ultimately eases the economic burden on Cuban Americans; it is not a toxic transaction with risks of the regime not paying later since the airlines get the passenger's money and it is the American company that pays the Cuban government; a far cry from exporting goods on direct billing only to find that Raul dines and dashes and the American taxpayers pay for the rich men "adventures" with the enemy.
The latter makes it easier for Cuban Americans to help their relatives in the island; yes the money sooner or later ends up in the Junta's coffers, but rolling back on that could erode Mr Trump's thin advantage among Cuban Americans. That would have to be combined with a roll back on remittances to all Cubans, the ban on sending money to party members must be reinstated.

It is not the job of the president of the United States to tell the elitist regime what to do, but it would help him immensely to trade a few concessions for the elimination of entry permit for Cuban Americans, Trump would increase his popularity among us if he managed to pull out such a deal; given Venezuela's situation Raul
Castro may be willing to compromise. 

A larger than ever segment of our society is pressing for more "cooperation" with the Cuban regime. Trump would make a wise decision if he allowed all those companies that are pushing the new agenda to export their goods to Cuba at their own peril; no government insured investments. That would rob them of the opportunistic narrative of helping the Cuban people; If you love the Cuban people so much prove it by investing at your own risk and don't force the taxpayers to subsidize your decisions. The public opinion would suddenly learn that those businessmen don't love the Cubans so much after all.

No access whatsoever should be granted to Cuban officials to any government installations; Cuban and American generals could easily meet in a secured location to coordinate ways to fight drug smuggling; provided that the Junta had abandoned its old habit of allowing its territory to be used as a launching pad to the traffic from South America or even Mexico. A hot line could be established and that would take care of cooperation without compromising our security.
Regardless of Mr Trump unique temperament, announcing his policy from Miami should mean that at least some executive orders will be rolled back; if he wanted to renege his promises to the Bay of Pigs' veterans he would have done it from the Oval Office; how pleased we will be after his speech remains to be seen. Despite Cuba's microscopic dimension as a country; it poses a Shakespearean dilemma to our Commander in Chief. Those of us who want a more realistic approach to our relations with the dictator must yet bear in mind that chances are the deadwood scaffolding collapses anytime and the question would be: is Mr Trump prepared to go all the way should that happen?

viernes, 9 de junio de 2017

ALBERTICO Y ESPERANZA (PART II)



                                                     portada diez cuentos cubanos, más o menos.

Rumors began to spread in Havana; a ration card had been imposed; Cuba was part of the communist bloc despite Castro's repeated assurances to the contrary just a few months earlier. Albertico had earned the privilege of being sent to a special school that would qualify him as a political cadre. He hit the books hard and submerged into a jargon he had never heard before; the masses, class struggle, relations of production, basic means of production, planned economy; all that sounded good although he always had hated communism. One of the instructors had explained how Fidel had to be deceitful. El Comandante couldn't come clean about his ideology in 1959; conditions were not ripe yet. Albertico didn't know conditions had to be ripe; for all he knew Fidel never lied and he had defended Fidel's honesty with tooth an nails against many of his old friends. The highlight of the course came when Albertico learned he was fighting to install a dictatorship in Cuba; now wait a fucking minute!!!; he had helped overthrow Batista because the thug was a dictator and now this elderly man with a goatee tells him it was all in order to impose another dictatorship?; no; the instructor answered patiently, almost patronizingly. We had a shameful dictatorship that privileged the wealthy; the one we are building now will only make sure the proletariat is never deprived again of its inalienable rights; it's different. Ah, Albertico sighed relieved, now I understand; Comrade, what the hell is the proletariat anyway?

Esperanza's face was long and swollen; she had been crying; the children were already in bed and as he prepared for a quick shower his wife broke the news: Marcelo Pages; one of his best friends had been arrested and summarily sentenced to 20 years in prison. The charges were the same used against most of his friends: treason, working of the Yankee imperialism, divulging of propaganda against the revolution and so on. What's going to happen with his wife? with his children?, a desperate Esperanza asked her husband; can you do something?; can you tell them he had fought against Batista? Of course Albertico said; I will request a permit tomorrow at school and I will go to Villa Marista; you know who's in charge there? Maximo, our best man, remember? Esperanza nodded absently, she hardly remembered anyone anymore; for the last five years their life had been the revolution, and yet nothing worked. Marcelo remained in prison for 10 years and was released only to be taken to the airport and flown out of the country for good. Some friends had told him Marcelo had been tortured and abused but Albertico didn't believe "las bolas" the revolution never tortured anyone; the revolution was generous.

As in fast forward they remembered los diez millones; it wasn't ten million dollars but a goal Fidel had set for his people as a matter of honor. This Fidel was something else; el Comandante es un cabron hahahahaha. He cut the harvest of 1969 short and saved some of the output for the next harvest, the one of 1970 when they were supposed to achieve the greatest goal of all. Well, una trampista; we can't make it easier for the Yankees by stopping one pound short of the Ten Million Tons.

Esperanza reminds him of the assassination of el Che in Bolivia, how they cried when they heard the news; the invasion of Czechoslovakia; but that one he was prepared for; he had kissed Esperanza's forehead and patiently explained to her that the Soviets had made sure the proletariat was never abused again in that European nation. No Esperanza it was not like Batista's or Machado's it was our dictatorship; we have to make sure the rich few never exploit us again. It's complicated mi amor

Albertico spent 1970 making sure he contributed to the greatest success yet; he had even been in meetings with the Comandante; Esperanza you have to see this man; he is a genius, not only will we reach the goal but diversify our agriculture as well; we will no longer depend on anyone; we will be self sufficient; we will build communism even before the Soviets; how can a fertile island like ours import food? We will fix all that. Esperanza smiled halfheartedly as she saw her husband's back shrinking in the distance. It's so complicated, but yes, it would be great to be able to eat what you wanted and finally get rid of the damned ration card. Albertico had righteously told her: we will know we had won when we get rid of la libreta. She closed her eyes and hoped; a hopeless ignorant in politics she nevertheless remembered the stories so many Chinese from Calle Zanja had told her about why they had fled their country; no food to eat, everybody dressed with the same ugly clothes; everybody at the same level, but not at the same level of wealth but at the lowest level of poverty. Esperanza shrugged her worries off. Naw; it wouldn't happen in Cuba. Albertico was too smart to believe in something sinister and Fidel, according to her husband, was the smartest man on earth. Well, she had so many times had an opinion and after listening to the Comandante she had changed her mind. Everything would be alright.

The rally was vague in their minds; Fidel admitting the ten millions would never be reached; funny the real output even with la trampita of cutting the previous harvest short, was exactly as his friend Remberto had heard through The Voice of America: eight and a half million. He didn't feel defeated; he felt useless, powerless, once again the Cuban people had failed Fidel. The man had devoted his life to his country; he had sacrificed family and all for the good of the country and there they were, these lazy fellow Cubans unable to keep a promise. 

Esperanza seemed unable to get over the upset; el Comandante first had even hinted at a resignation only to close his speech calling Cubans to turn this defeat into a success; was someone going to cover the missing million and a half?; how could you fail and still succeed?; even Esperanza realized it was impossible; she gave up hope; she dutifully accepted her husband's kiss in the forehead but refused to believe things could be so complicated; probably some people want to make them look complicated because the simple truth was hard to swallow. They had very few friends left; most of those who had fought against Batista were either imprisoned or exiled and everybody else seemed only interested in buying stuff in the black market. Even Albertico who never believed "las bolas" had changed his approach. At first whenever she told him rumors had it that meat would run short he shrugged the rumor off saying it was all imperialist propaganda; now when she told him potatoes were going to be hard to find his unexpected response was: what are you waiting for mi vida? Go buy as much as you can !!!

Their children listened to a loud unintelligible music in English and smuggled "Carta de Espana"; they wanted to dress better and didn't care for voluntary work; Esperanza could never overcome her confusion and Albertico, puzzled as he was by things going  the opposite way he had fought for still kissed her forehead and told her: it's complicated mi amor, hay cosas que no se entienden. It looked as though the struggle was no longer the means to achieve an objective but the objective itself. It was complicated; hay cosas que no se entienden. TO BE CONTINUED...