To Gandhi on the 139th anniversary of his birth
He prepared. He polished his explanations. All the proposals he had been accumulating over years of looking at his reality and wanting to change things, he honed for a verbal contest. He had calculated that his debate opponent would remind him of the benefits and would warn him against certain “blemishes on the sun,” those small imperfections that only the hard-to-please notice. He was especially equipped to avoid comparisons with other countries—a common tactic of those who want to silence criticism. He was ready to refute the insult that his words were favorable to the North, or that his shoes didn’t appear to have been bought with the salary of a worker.
A baseball fanatic, he warmed the arm of his debate, like the fourth batter who hopes to hit a home run before an adversary incapable of pitching new arguments. He had spent years waiting for the debate and finally the opportunity to talk back was upon him. Except that he came to the platform thinking they wanted to listen to him. Big mistake. In reality, his opponent intended only to muzzle him. So, the strong edifice of explanations he had constructed did not stand up against his opponent’s shouts and aggression. Every opinion met swollen veins, closed fists and a torrent of insults. He tried to explain that he was only thinking about the good of his country, but the insult of “mercenary” didn’t allow him to finish his sentence.
Because he didn’t know how to respond to the punches, he preferred to shut up and his rival thought he had crushed him. But there he was, a man armed for debate, reduced to protecting himself from stones. He went home and one by one ruled out the analyses, rejected the explanations about the economic unviability of the system and condemned, to the worst possible place, his extensive diatribe against a Revolution where changes never happen. He went to the kitchen and looked for the thick iron bar that he used to protect against thieves. His opponent had achieved his purpose: he had been transformed into someone who needs violence in order to be heard.
We Consolareños are very brave
[Consolareños: The people of Consolación del Norte, a municipality in Pinar del Río]