Comités de represión

Mourning or Celebration?

Mourning or Celebration? / Rosa Maria Rodriguez Torrado

Rosa Maria Rodriguez Torrado, Translator: Unstated

This September 28 they celebrated the fifty-second anniversary of the

creation of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution(). In

contrast to years past I did not see reports on Cuban television of two

or three previously planned nighttime parties,"which customarily are

celebrated on the 27thin "anticipation of the big day." Normally, the

national media "casually" attends these festivities in order to have

broadcast images of CDR enthusiasm for the event. Instead, there was

only one news report and it dealt with a daytime event in which the

of one committee spoke. His audience was a small group of

passive and silent participants. There was not the usual interview with

an ordinary member, who was "emotional and aroused" by theanniversary.

With the passage of years and the "permanent special period," to which

we Cubans living in this archipelago have been subjected, the

festivities that were sponsored by these organizations have been

replaced in the city by "a people's cookout" featuring on an open-air

caldosa* on each cuadra – the lineal space between the two corners of a

block – and cheap rum for those who like alcohol. On the street where I

live,in a cauldron blackened by poverty and evocative of the

countryside,there was a pig's head and two or three kinds of vegetables

covered by a lot of water, all placed in the planting area in front of

the house of my neighborhood's CDR president. This time no music was

heard during the very few and boring activities that took place, and the

mood seemed to be more one of mourning than celebration.

This farcical institution — managed and founded decades ago to send a

message of "consensus," of a revolutionary honeymoon and a happy

marriage between the citizenry and the authorities — is out of date.

Almost no one expects anything positive from this organization, which

has only offered interference in personal lives, surveillance, betrayal,

nighttime security patrols — we never found out if they were acting in

the role of or of decoys — a lot of meetings, voluntary work

brigades, rallies, marches and permanent blackmail through the use of

negative reports if you did not actively participate in the tasks

assigned by the organization.

After returning from a fact-finding tour of my neighborhood, I could see

from my balcony the depressing sight of the few people willing to be

served the "substantial" brew. They carried jugs, metal pitchers and

other containers, gathering around the cauldron and, on command from a

group of political warlocks with no future, conspire to annually expose

their misfortunes.

*Translator's note:Caldosais traditionally a thick broth or stew.After

the Cuban revolution cooking it became a communal event in which

neighbors brought whatever ingredients they had at hand. Some say this

came about because of scarcity; others believe that the change had

more to do with the collective emphasis of socialism. (Source:

cubaentuscon.blogspot.com)

October 2 2012

http://translatingcuba.com/mourning-or-celebration-rosa-maria-rodriguez-torrado/

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