Comités de represión

Where are the CDR Revolutionaries?

Where are the Revolutionaries? / Miriam Celaya

Miriam Celaya, Translator: Unstated

As has been the trend in recent years, the once nurtured and animated

Committee for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) "fiestas" on September

27, have been added to the list of Revolutionary anniversaries on the

way to extinction.

Just by chance, for personal reasons, I was crossing the city last

Thursday and could observe how great apathy had taken over the blocks of

the capital, substituting a scandalous silence for those old festivities

where CDR neighbors shared a pot of stew in the street, made with

officially allocated scraps (some pig's head or other minor portion of

the animal) and vegetables collected from among the neighbors, seasoned

thanks to the enthusiasm of the neighborhood's Revolutionarie, along

with a sweet cake and the everlasting and fetid mass-produced rum.

There is nothing so eloquent as this capital now, dark and silent, on

the eve of the most popular Revolutionary celebration, which until

recently honored the founding of an organization conceived in power, so

that Cubans could betray each other and consecrate the

surveillance-based state in service to a dictatorship which, like

every autocracy, despises its followers.

Nobody dresses up the blocks with garlands and multi-colored paper

flags, and just a few faithful persist in hanging a Cuban flag from

their balconies, because for decades they were led to believe that being

Cuban and being in the CDR were the same thing; only now are they

beginning to learn that they signify the exact opposite.

The few isolated fires I saw were a pathetic specter of past revelry,

simply a pretext for the neighborhood drunks, whom nobody wants, to be

as wasted as they want in the streets and to mollify their empty

stomachs with a little hot broth.

A brief look at the signs shows that all the mass demonstrations that

gave a scenic valor to the Castros' Revolution have disappeared: the

marches of the "combatants," voluntary labor, CDR guard duty, marathon

blood donations, collections of raw materials, and more recently these


The extended decline betrays that popular sympathy for the dictatorship

is neither spontaneous nor free. I don't know where Havana's

Revolutionaries were this September 27, but clearly they realize they no

longer have much to celebrate.

2 October 2012

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