Eliseo Alberto Diego, to his friends simply “Lichi,” talks as if he were writing, narrating the most ordinary stories as if they were literature. I remember some afternoons in his house in Vedado when he would tell us these anecdotes and we couldn’t say, precisely, if they were total inventions or might have some smidgen of reality. Because this big kid full of laughter delights in narrating and narrating. His acquaintances have thus become his receptive “ears” where he has tried out the fiction that later appears in the pages of his books. We set ourselves up, to our infinite pleasure, as the beings on whom he tests and practices–over and over–his work.

Thus, when Lichi the great storyteller told us he needed a kidney transplant, our first thought was that he was trying out another of his poetic tricks. He was, by then, already half Cuban and half Mexican, half poet and half novelist, and now, we suspected, he wanted to boast of being composed of organic material from several people. It seemed, viewed with suspicion, simply his latest invention. But no, he wasn’t talking about a character in the style of those described in “Esther en alguna parte” (Esther Somewhere), or “La eternidad en fin comienza un lunes” (Eternity Finally Begins on Monday), but about himself. His body was writing, for him, the most dramatic of his stories.

I remember that my husband, Reinaldo, offered him one of his kidneys, but Lichi didn’t want to believe him, or wouldn’t allow his friend to face so many battles without one of those organs. Last night we got the news that his body now houses a fragment of a Mexican teenager who died in an accident. The solidarity of a family, the wait–at times not so patient–of the son of the great Eliseo, and the desires of his friends, have combined to begin to give a happy ending to this adventure. Now, when he returns to embellish his stories, we will, inevitably, have to believe him a little more. Because Lichi, the skilled storyteller of our Havana afternoons, has been very close to an experience that only he can tell us.


14 thoughts on “Lichi

  1. See Damir! They kept your comment #14! Dont complain any more!

  2. Those who do not give a damn should do themselves afavour and get a real job to replace their copy and paste futile existence.

    And stop collecting my posts, as addictive as they are I know – the truth is the most exciting thing in the world and you just cannot have enough of it – like that something there that is pretending to giving me lessons in “politeness” while conveniently forgetting that when I first posted, two years ago, for months the hypocrite was insulting me and called me every name in their conservative manual for hating and fighting opposition, although I was never addressing her.

    So all I can say to those wannabe Castros is get off that moral high ground because morality is something you stink at. And, just like democracy and freedom of speech, it just doesn’t work for you.

    And i’ll be around long after your capitalist utopia, “some kind of pragmatic capitalism” is long gone down the sewage.

    You won’t. If you remember what Castro did to you in 1950’s, you are old.

    The cemetery is calling…

  3. Damir said : “To your information, this “news” was news back in late seventies. Even in the usa. Cretens from the conservative side of the politics did try their best to spread the propaganda and confusion by manufacturing numerous versions of the events, but Chilean socialists had confirmed that Allende had committed suicide DECADES ago.

    Not that THAT has anything to do with the above post, which has nothing to do with anything anyway.”


  4. @#9
    “…Where there are no brain cells to come to the rescue, there’s nothing that can be done. As the avalanche of self-gratifying posts below sadly confirms…
    But, they provide a good laugh if you take them for what they are:
    Self-gratifying screams for help in a dark and cold night.
    Must be lonely in the fantasy land there in the sewages of Miami…”

    Is this ur idea of “…common sense, logic, valid and serious arguments for an open civilised debate…stuff like that, the things intelligent people…”
    Ur own words … twice pal.

  5. Only ignorant conservatives, who do live under the stones of their dogmas and somehow just cannot fathom the world around them (hence the violence in their actions and politics) think that it is some kind of “revelation” the way Allende died.

    To your information, this “news” was news back in late seventies. Even in the usa. Cretens from the conservative side of the politics did try their best to spread the propaganda and confusion by manufacturing numerous versions of the events, but Chilean socialists had confirmed that Allende had committed suicide DECADES ago.

    Not that THAT has anything to do with the above post, which has nothing to do with anything anyway.

    Just as the supporter “brigade” have nothing to do with anything (you know, common sense, logic, valid and serious arguments for an open civilised debate…stuff like that, the things intelligent people do)…

  6. YOUTUBE : Documentary – “Aire Libre – Festival Rotilla” -Documental de Sandra Cordero sobre el Festival Rotilla en Cuba 3 días de musica en la Playa Jibacoa, Cuba


    CNN : Founders accuse Cuban government of ‘kidnapping’ mega-music festival-By Shasta Darlington- July 20, 2011 –

    Havana — The founders of Cuba’s biggest independent music festival accused the government of “kidnapping” their festival on Wednesday, saying the Culture Ministry had taken over organization of this year’s event and barred them from meetings.

    “They’re kidnapping, stealing our festival,” said founder and until-now executive director Michel Matos.

    “It’s not a simple case of censorship, of them shutting it down. It’s an abduction,” he said during a small press conference in his living room. “On the one hand, they’re taking it away from us and on the other hand, they are organizing it themselves through official institutions.”

    The government was not immediately available for comment.

    The Rotilla Festival, a hugely popular three-day rave on a beach outside Havana, was launched in 1998 by Matos and a handful of friends. Last year, it attracted some 20,000 people.

    “Up until now, we were tolerated,” Matos said.

    Often referred to as “Cuba’s Woodstock,” the festival’s focus has traditionally been on apolitical electronic music and DJs, although last year the main attraction was the polemic hip-hop group Los Aldeanos.

    Matos said they collaborated with government officials on logistics and security and sometimes faced pressure.

    “Traditionally, there was a dialogue with authorities, where they pressured us so that certain groups wouldn’t participate and we cooperated so that the festival would be permitted,” he said. “It hasn’t always been comfortable.”

    Less well-known outside Cuba than some of the smaller, more political, rap festivals, Rotilla has long been a popular musical event for young people on the island.

    The festival was financially independent, receiving funding from the Serbian electronic music festival EXIT and the Dutch and Spanish embassies. The bands and DJs played for free.

    Matos said the Cuban government had taken over the festival without any warning or explanation.

    When organizers came to a meeting on logistics and security with local authorities, they were met in the parking lot and told they were no longer the organizers, he said.

    They have since been barred from meetings at the Culture Ministry, where he said plans are underway to stage a “Rotilla Festival” organized by the government on the same dates, but with a different lineup.

    The bands are being offered $1,000, he said.

  8. THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION : The Cuban Way Part II: Big Brother’s Repressive Hand- Olivia Snow

    Big Brother of George Orwell’s 1984 still lives, and he’s right in our backyard. Yoani Sanchez has documented how Big Brother works through her depiction of the Cuban government in her new book Havana Real.

    Cuban repression often takes the form of a group of thugs rather than the organized police. It targets people who are outspoken and harbor anti-regime opinions. Even Sanchez and her friends were kidnapped and beaten because of their blogging and their opposition to the Castro regime.

    Sanchez wrote, “How can I describe the despotic faces of those who forced us into that car [or] their visible enjoyment as they beat us.” Bruised and in pain, Yoani and her companions emerged from the kidnapping with emotional and mental wounds. The message is clear: Against us you have no rights; our power is limitless.

    Beyond kidnappings, Cubans are frequently imprisoned without warrant:

    Over the years, hundreds of prisoners of conscience have been imprisoned in Cuba for the peaceful expression of their views.… Harassment, intimidation, arbitrary detention and criminal prosecutions, all continue to be used to restrict the expression of views critical of the government.

    Government regulation of the Internet has severely limited Cubans’ ability to communicate with each other and the outside world. Twitter, Facebook, and even Sanchez’s blog, Generation Y, are blocked by Cuban authorities. Access is highly restricted as well. In Havana, many native Cubans must resort to dressing as tourists or speaking foreign languages just to get past the guards in Internet cafes.

    So what does Big Brother want? He wants a cadre of true believers who will run the party, the state, and the army as organs of repression. He wants worker bees who will labor for the glory of the hive. He wants other Cubans to remain apathetic and fatalistic.

    As Sanchez notes, “The person who complains or demands his rights is seen as ‘some kind of weirdo.’” Sanchez further observes a general malaise that can be seen through the Cuban choice of language. She says that phrases like “Don’t sweat it,” “You’ll give yourself a heart attack,” “Just ignore it,” and “That’s not going to accomplish anything” are sayings frequently heard in Cuban culture. Reflected in the language of many in Cuba is a worn-out spirit that has lost its will to fight for what truly matters: freedom.

    This the way the Castro brothers want it.

    Olivia Snow is a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation.

  9. Noriega:Chávez con probabilidades de 50 pct de sobrevi
    Doctores que tratan el cáncer del presidente venezolano Hugo Chávez calculan que el mandatario tiene probabilidades de 50 por ciento para sobrevivir por 18 meses más, dijo el miércoles el ex embajador de Estados Unidos ante la Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA), Roger Noriega, citando fuentes cercanas a su equipo médico en Cuba.
    Muerto el perro y se acabó la sarna.
    Tiene suerte los venezolanos. Cambien la constitución y hagan una fuerte para que estos elementos no puedan entrar nunca mas


    MARTI NOTICIAS: Contrapunteo cubano sobre el espinoso tema del embargo
    Un texto de la conocida bloguera cubana Yoani Sánchez ha desatado un vendaval de opiniones que va desde lo mesurado a lo estridente pero deja un saldo de reflexión necesaria.

    En un post titulado La teoría de la caldera, la bloguera cubana ha agregado que “en lugar de eso las aceras están llenas de gente, sí, pero haciendo cola para comprar el pan o los huevos, los consulados atestados de solicitudes para emigrar y hasta las velas de los santeros encendidas para que esta calma chicha no se quiebre con violencia”, y ello ha destapado otra olla hirviente.

    “No tengo dudas sobre la contribución de Yoani Sánchez al periodismo ciudadano en la isla, -ha opinado desde Barcelona el filólogo Ernesto Hernández Busto- ni sobre su valiente postura ética, ni sobre su lucha por la reconquista de ciertos derechos básicos”.

    “Pero su último post –ha añadido el administrador del blog Penúltimos días- me ha parecido, igual que a muchos lectores, una “declaración de principios” desde la Izquierda: su oposición frontal a quienes creen en la necesidad del embargo ha terminado por sacar a la superficie tensiones que dividen profundamente a la comunidad cubana del exilio”.

    El escritor cubano radicado en Miami, Sindo Pacheco Premio Casa de las Américas de Literatura 2002, ha coincidido con Yoani Sánchez en que el recrudecimiento del embargo no contribuye en nada al proceso de apertura en Cuba.

    Ha agregado Pacheco que quienes piensan que un pueblo hambreado sería capaz de revelarse y derrocar a un gobierno, están equivocados, y argumentó que en África, por ejemplo, los pueblos tenían más hambre y no se revelaron ni derrocaron gobierno alguno.

    “Los procesos sociales tienen —la mayoría de las veces— una alquimia impredecible. Aunque todavía hay analistas que quieren redactar la fórmula universal del estallido o aquella otra de la calma cívica, la realidad se encapricha en contrariarlos”, ha afrimado Yoani en su post.

    “Muchas personas del exilio –riposta Hernández Busto- defendemos la conveniencia del embargo y las regulaciones de viajes y remesas no por considerarlas, como repite el discurso oficial, un castigo a la población cubana sino una política legítima de un Estado que ha visto perjudicado sus intereses y tiene derecho a defenderlos”.

    El periodista independiente cubano y exprisionero político del Grupo de los 75, Normando Hernández González, quien llegara al exilio tras el proceso de excarcelaciones emprendido por el gobierno cubano, la iglesia católica y el Ejecutivo español, ha dicho que aquellos que abogan por la flexibilización o eliminación del embargo aducen que este sólo sirve de argumento para que el régimen castrista justifique su ineficiencia.

    Ante esa disyuntiva, Hernández González apunta que si se eliminara o flexibilizara el embargo, ello contribuiría a dar recursos económicos a un régimen que los usaría para reprimir a la población.

    Para Yoani Sánchez “en la quimérica fórmula del estallido que algunos desean adivinar se incluye el elemento de asfixiar económicamente a la población para que se alce en pie de lucha. Son aquellos a quienes les gustaría darle una vuelta de tuerca al embargo norteamericano hacia la Isla y cortar de tajo todas las remesas que llegan desde afuera”.

    En su réplica a Yoani, Hernández Busto apunta que “A otras personas —incluyendo congresistas y cargos electos de manera democrática— les parece mal que vayan “mulas” cargadas cada dos semanas a hacer negocio con la miseria ajena. O que las agencias de viaje que ahora ponen el grito en el cielo con la perspectiva de las restricciones cobren más de 400 dólares por un trayecto de 45 minutos en avión. O que todos esos que defienden los sacrosantos derechos de la familia cubana sólo los consideren desde la perspectiva del viaje reunificador cada seis meses y no desde los cotidianos ejercicios de supervivencia a que el gobierno obliga a sus rehenes”.

    El líder de la banda de rock Porno para Ricardo, Gorki Aguila, ha expresado desde México que –en su opinión- el embargo nunca ha sido efectivo en cuanto a doblegar al gobierno cubano y que sería bueno reevaluar esas posiciones.

    Luego de anotar que las medidas flexibilizadoras podrían ser beneficiosas para el pueblo, el músico cubano indicó que aunque opinar sobre el espinoso tema del embargo puede sugerir una postura política, no es así porque, en su caso, sólo defiende la parte humana de algo que agrede únicamente al pueblo, y eso no lo sitúa a la izquierda o la derecha.

    La tesis de que a nuestra realidad hay que aumentarle la presión económica para que la caldera social reviente se escucha —curiosamente— con mayor frecuencia entre aquellas personas que no habitan el territorio nacional, apunta luego Yoani Sánchez.

    Sin embargo, el exprisionero político cubano Angel Moya Acosta ha dicho que la supresión del embargo económico a Cuba sólo serviría para que el régimen de La Habana perfeccione su maquinaria represiva y reparta prebendas entre quienes sostienen tal sistema.

  11. EFE : Cuban filmmaker defends right to strike, protest-July 19, 2011

    Havana – Cuban filmmaker and intellectual Eduardo Del Llano defended from his blog the right of citizens on the island to mount strikes and demonstrations and to dissent without their being labeled “enemy agents.”

    Under the title “Manifestarse” (Demonstrating), Del Llano asks “Why can’t Cuban workers go on strike? Or students stage demonstrations?”

    “I don’t believe anyone will claim at this point that it’s because only under capitalism is there anything to complain about,” he said.

    Del Llano is the producer of iconoclastic short features that circulate from one person to the next on video, as well the screenwriter for films by Fernando Perez, Gerardo Chijona and Daniel Diaz Torres.

    “A modern, democratic society should contemplate citizens having the right to express their discontent publicly without being called mercenaries or enemy agents,” he says.

    Del Llano says that that Cuba’s state press “reports the beatings suffered by demonstrators in other countries with dramatic photos and articles,” adding that in his opinion “police repression of a peaceful demonstration is bad, but not allowing it is worse.”

    “Contrary to what our government appears to believe, street demonstrations do not indicate that a society is weak and divided. It simply signifies that it is human,” he says.

    He also believes that today “it would be ridiculous to pretend” that workers in Cuba “have no reason to complain and the only ones who feel troubled are remnants of the old bourgeoisie, etc.”

    “Any number of people unhappy with the system that we care to use – let’s suppose the improbably low figure of 1 million Cubans, which is to say one out of every 12 living in their own country – means that all those citizens, who have committed no political crimes, have no one to represent them in parliament,” he says.

    As for the dissidents, “it’s time to stop automatically seeing them as degenerates and accept that they are – or should be – part of civil society. As happens, for example, in Venezuela,” the filmmaker said, referring to the Cuban government’s ally and benefactor.

    He expresses his conviction that “there will be some mercenaries and opportunists,” even as “there are also many fire-breathers and arrivistes on the government side,” but believes that “others simply have a different opinion about what is best for the country.”

    “It would be healthy to at least listen to those opinions and not drown them before they are born,” Del Llano says.

    Eduardo del Llano (born 1962 in Moscow) is a Cuban writer, university professor, and screenwriter.

    Del Llano graduated with an Art History degree from the University of Havana in 1985. During the 1980s he joined the theatre and literary group NOS-Y-OTROS. He collaborated on screenplays with Jorge Goldenberg, Tom Abrams, and Walter Bernstein while teaching the history of Latin American art and photography in the Faculty of Arts and Letters at the University of Havana.

    With the short film Monte Rouge — a satire on the work of Cuban state security — he emerged as a critic of the Cuban government.

  12. I found this interesting, about Allende’s suicide:,8599,2084169,00.html

    I remember back in 73 when a Marxist professor assured me that Allende’s body was riddled by hundreds of machine gun bullets and was assassinated by the CIA. He also told me that Fidel had abolished poverty in Cuba. I wonder if the professor ever left the cult, or just happily retired on his fat yankee capitalist pension with his Marxist delusions intact.

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