Where are the CDR Revolutionaries?
Where are the CDR 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 police 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