Apartheid en Cuba
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    RIDING MISTER ROJAS / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

    RIDING MISTER ROJAS / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo
    Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, Translator: Joanne Gómez

    In art, like in politics, the speeches of epigones, now free of the
    original guilt of the Messiah, start attempting a liberal rereading of
    the revolutionary scripture and end up being pure fascism. The Cuban
    intellectual Fernando Rojas, beyond his high governmental charge (every
    now and then the rumor that he will replace Abel Prieto circulates with
    horror in the Cuban literary camp), has no reason to be the exception.

    Half a century after an adjustment in incidental accounts, Rojas
    relaunches ‘s Words to the Intellectuals from 1961, to the
    future. He does not want to let the archeologists be the ones who exhume
    the fossil of the document. To interpret is to sanitize. And
    Rojas bets on ideologizing what was such a concrete act: to put the gun
    over a desk at the Biblioteca Nacional, the National Library.

    It’s about, of course, an attempted coup against Cuban culture. A
    process of terminal “red”-ization. And hopefully that maneuver will be
    successful, beyond his scientific demagogy and his republican cadence of
    Stalinist party in power. Because the full of any culture is only
    attained under the obscene boot of a despot. Because without censure
    there is no moral resistance that might yield limited creativity (cue
    the developing world’s yawns for our aesthetic exile). Because the
    future depends on equal parts victim and torturer, where right now
    Fernando Rojas incarnates that second role (leading role and not at all
    supporting) with historic chivalry.

    So then, the next decade promises to be both gray and luminous in
    Rojas’s perspective. There will be debates of an anti-dogmatic style
    about the big mistakes of the Revolution’s past. The bureaucracy will be
    bureaucratically memorialized for the one-thousandth nine-hundredth
    fifty-ninth time. There will be rescue rectifications, even for the
    non-revolutionary writers who don’t get to be incorrigibly reactionary
    (I myself might be saved on a little plank there). The rage of Cabrera
    Infante and Reinaldo Arenas will be bleached, like the iniquitous irony
    of Virgilio Piñera and the atrocious cunning of Lezama were, in their
    moment, bleached as well. The barbarism of Lydia Cabrera will be
    folklorized and the stridencies of Celia Cruz will be obligatory. In the
    meantime, the market will continue being a medieval tool in the
    mummified hands of the State: the illusion always immersed inside the
    institution. It’s the theory of the ripe carrot versus the tyranny of an
    olive green whip.

    Applause, close ovation: that’s how the Cuban press transcribed the
    translation of Fidel Castro’s calligraphers. And Fernando Rojas
    should’ve finished off like that Granma’s grammar in his last speech. He
    should not have felt pity for that coda that no one in Cuba, except me,
    will concede him. In fact, applause and closed ovation is the least that
    the monolithic ideal that betrays him from paragraph to paragraph
    deserves, the ones that suppurate an anti-intellectual disdain that
    would be better articulated, in terms of author, in one of those novels
    about the loneliness of a previously sadistic and now senile.

    Fernando Rojas magnanimously pardons his new captive children’s lives
    (little happy men that are panic-stricken by him or flirt with him, but
    definitely children lost in the forest, that sooner or later, will be
    corrected by the political Peter Pans who care for them). There is no
    way to avoid his good intentions when brandishing a paved paper like
    it’s the sole Law. Our Rojaspierre in the ministry knows that the
    illiteracy of the Cuban audience is in direct proportion to their high
    educational level. Everyone wants to create, ergo it will then be very
    easy to make them believe first. And later we will agree on heroes and
    tombs, as well as grants and voyages, but always complicitly between
    companions, because out there and in here citizens are sharpening their
    knives, that never-as-useful than today unscrupulous and insatiable

    Nonetheless, in spite of the enlightened effort of Rojas, clucking out
    of context “inside the Revolution, everything; against the Revolution,
    nothing,” forwarding the phrase without reading the rest of that
    primitive speech, exaggerating its character of cultural apartheid and
    nullifying the semantic subtleties of socialism, maybe it has been the
    luck of a minimal vengeance, inconsistently transgenerational, almost an
    anonymous tweet that doesn’t remember what user it came out of, a
    discontinued vanishing line before the megalomaniac monologue of decades
    and decades of the Maximum Leader in his tribunal grandstand. It seems
    that each one has the bad date he deserves.

    Translated by: Joanne Gomez

    July 6 2011


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