Oil by José Luis Fuentetaja (1971)

It was very early, the circles under the speaker’s eyes could be seen like two dark wounds, and the sun was not yet too punishing in Maximo Gomez Plaza. On soft seats, a small group witnessed live the 26th of July event in Ciego de Avila province. Meanwhile, the rest of those in the Plaza sat on plastic chairs or were simply left standing. From this side of the screen, we few viewers awake at that hour made an effort not to go back to sleep. The event was so boring and so predictable in its structure that at times it seemed like a rebroadcast from the previous year. Not even a spontaneous breeze moved the hair of the attendees. Even the fly on the face of the orator that took a fancy to the camera, looked unreal.

But the greatest monotony came with the words of Jose Ramon Machado Ventura. An hour after having heard them, it was difficult to remember what had been said by this grayest of all vice presidents, the most dogmatic of the orthodox. During the scheduled pauses in the speech someone shouted a slogan which was then repeated by the crowd. The applause heard was also conveniently administered, without unauthorized outbreaks, with no fits and starts. Enormous credentials hung from the necks of those who enjoyed the chairs, giving the lie, with such an excess of paper and plastic, to the calls from the podium for efficiency and putting an end to the bureaucracy.

In a moment that must have been the end, though it could just as well have been a break in the script, Raul Castro left without having directed a single word to the crowd. He rose from his chair and walked away, followed closely by a loyal bodyguard who has more of a role on TV than some ministers. The Plaza quickly began to empty out, as the speaker tried to close with certain slogans that once moved passions. “And this is all that’s left?” I thought, with sorrow for others. With this exhausted choreography they thought to move passions? I turned off the TV in the middle of a phrase and went back to sleep. Outside the sun was warming the balconies, drying up the puddles, revealing the cracks.

Translator’s note: The 26th of July was the date of the failed 1953 attack by Fidel Castro and others on the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba, and was taken as the name of his movement. It is celebrated annually in Cuba.


52 thoughts on “Fatigue

  1. @#51
    As much as u condemn the actions of the US, look east to the actions of the USSR, the massacres commited by the Stalinist repression, I am talking about the “Great Terror” which
    lasted from 1936 to 1939. The majority of victims during this period were from the Communist Party (eh?) the economic ministries, the military, the Communist International, and minority nationalities. No precise numbers yet the official KGB figures for 1937–1938 claim just under 700,000 executed & by the beginning of the 1940s there were about 3.6 million Russians in labor camps and prisons or how about the Ukrainian famines in the early 1930s, which Stalin had planned to crush anti-Russian nationalism?
    Crimes committed by right-wing dictators have always been easier to track down than the crimes against humanity committed by communist leaders, for example: this day the Chinese government has not disclosed how many people were executed by Mao’s red guards during the “cultural revolution” or how about the many people who were killed in Tibet during the Chinese invasion of 1950 or do know how many dissidents have been killed by orders of Kim Il Sung in North Korea, many, many thousands.
    I guess those crimes just to name a few from ur ideological family r not worth mention while u r free to quote & use selective points in history to justify ur hatred … eh pal?
    Keep in mind when u point accusingly w/the finger of ur hand there r three pointing at u
    & by the way I think u r the hypocrite …pal

  2. Here’s the good news: subservants of the nazist hypocrites called the usa (most of posters here come from the usa too), have been given collectively 6060 years in prison terms for the crimes against humanity, and their own people, after the nearly 40 years of civil war.

    It is worth mentioning that the war was instigated and financed by the nazist dictatorship usa, who have encouraged and financed the generals to rebel against the DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED socialist government. And the nazist dictatorship usa have done that many a time in the last 60 years.

    The sign of the time s to come, nazists and wannabe “cubans” spilling the nonsense agans t the country you do not even belong (and never will)?

    Meanwhile, your own is disintegrating faster than you could say nazists gulag usa is disintegrating, along with its “some kind of pragmtic capitalism”.

    Little something to ponder over while looking across the sea towards what soon will be a dream tropical paradise for all you “free” “capitalists”.

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