Today: July 23, 2024
June 18, 2023
3 mins read

I don’t like politics, but

I don't like politics, but

Arriving late to history almost always results in making a fool of yourself. Cuba has practiced it many times. In fact, she has so much experience being the ugly one at the dance, the one she’s out of tune, the unfunny stepsister, that when she plays in the big leagues of world diplomacy she ends up becoming the quintessential political laughingstock.

The country also has a long record of choosing poor friends. Instead of opting for a cordial relationship with the United States – one cannot aspire to anything else and a couple of centuries of neighborly tension prove it – or even with Europe, he prefers Russia, the only regime that can help the Island to prolong his fiction. Because, it must be admitted, Cuba has never been able to live outside of fiction, melodrama and radio soap operas.

The problem is that, on an annoying personal level, saying that I am Cuban means affirming that my nation forms, together with Venezuela and Nicaragua, the Latin American “unlucky trio”, which repeats that the Ukrainians are Nazis and the Kremlin is going to save them, that there are young people my age willing to be recruited by Putin – imagine a 20-year-old peasant shivering in the Crimea with a Kalashnikov in his hand – and that, like it or not, my passport bears the name of a villainous, opportunistic and mistaken.

Like it or not, my passport bears the name of a villainous, opportunistic and misguided country.

A Russian or a Venezuelan, of the many I have met, must feel the same way – I console myself – living that shame that seems foreign but that, between beers, when talking about human rights, democracies and such, forces one to lower one’s head a little. head.

It is hard to come from a fourth-rate country in terms of citizen awareness. It is unfortunate that the first time you see a police officer or military abroad, your survival instinct advises you to avoid them. Not to mention the distrust, the chronic suspicion, the mistrust every time I speak with another Cuban and ask myself, with smiles, if he is not the spy that someone, in a remote control and archives room, sent to serve me.

I am also cloyed by the kidnapping of culture – on any shore –, the handling of literature, music or cinema as a propaganda weapon. It worries me not being able to hear a song or eat a congrí without remembering –with instant loss of appetite– that an identity also brings its pains with it, and that if one is little by little poisoned by sentimental memory, it ends up disgusting and abandoning everything to be Let’s say, a fake Swede or a man from Madrid with a strange accent.

All of that, as I said before, belongs more to the intimate, to the inventory of things one must deal with if one leaves. But, when one opens the newspapers or listens to the cenutrio that we have as president, it is inevitable to draw. It happens as in the song by Gorki Águila, that philosopher of mismatch: Cubans don’t like politics too much, but politics persecutes them, seduces them and finally entangles them.

Being tense in front of the newspaper, waiting for a minister’s slip or reading between the lines of a headline, is not a bad way to pass the time

But how could it be otherwise? For months now, the newscast has resembled that electrifying Kubrick movie – Dr Strangelove, 1964– released shortly after the Missile Crisis. I do not deny that it has been entertaining: a Castro spy released after twenty years in prison; a cardinal – Stella, not Richelieu – trying to get an amnesty in Díaz-Canel’s office; an old Russian base occupied by Chinese spies behind the Bejucal bushes; a dead Kremlin minister – was it a poisoned dart, a bite of puffer fish, a karate flight attendant? the pharaonic López-Obrador Mayan Train; the president of Iran, with a Darth Vader cape, strolling through torrid Havana; the ghosts of Castro, Stalin and Khrushchev swarming in the atmosphere; mafias of all colors, officials, priests, pirates, lead, oil, uranium. I repeat it: I don’t like politics, but she likes me!

Or maybe yes. I like it. As it happens to all of us. Being tense in front of the newspaper, waiting for a minister’s slip or reading between the lines of a headline, is not a bad way to pass the time. Journalism – the art of policing ridiculous countries – forces one to sleep with the tension of a cat, maleficent, happy. Because in the end, although painful and precarious, this job is the best in the world.

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