Act of Repudiation
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    Fortune Empress of the World

    Fortune Empress of the World / Lilianne Ruiz

    Lilianne Ruiz, Translator: Unstated

    Leaving the house, any indistinguishable morning, on the park's second

    bench a group of neighbors. Happy retirees.

    It is not that they are happy for having learned some kind of

    existential revelation in the autumn of their lives. It would not be

    impossible although I venture it difficult to believe. Above all after

    having trained all their lives to ignore the inner sirens in order to

    manage to obey the voice of a supreme leader.

    The children live abroad. They work and are good citizens. They provide

    them the infinite joy of not feeling themselves on the verge of death

    from malnutrition, not seeing themselves reduced to the most frightful

    poverty. On a more philosophical note: they know the joy that

    civilization has brought to correct our own fragility and the

    contemplation of our own misery. But elsewhere in Havana other old

    people aren't so lucky. Cuba is not a completely civilized place.

    The older adults on the bench of the building are avowed

    revolutionaries, at least those that have gathered this morning. They

    have been their whole lives. I must clarify that I do not harbor any bad

    feeling towards them.

    In my neighborhood there are frequently older adults who maintain a calm

    acquiescence to the regime. And curiously the majority of them have a

    child who sends a remittance. I still remember how Teresa stepped in to

    defend the Revolution a few months after having been to the United

    States, which did not refuse her a visa to go see her daughter, an

    American citizen, whom she allows to pay her for the whim of being one

    of the most active * members of the building.

    They are the most complete image of happiness in the history of the

    Revolution. They have never been prisoners for protesting against the

    unelected government. They have never gotten into trouble. They have

    completely and at all times obeyed the discipline imposed at a national

    level by the Chief of the State, and in exchange have managed to live

    with all the security that a society under totalitarian control is

    capable of providing.

    In said society the people have gotten rid of that monster which is

    institutions independent of the State. They have seen themselves free of

    the emptiness of a life without ideology, driven by a permanent

    government. Above all they have seen themselves free from freedom.

    In a really competitive system, above them would be any marginal

    character (of those that have still not achieved the

    character), who could not adapt himself to the same discipline where

    they have borne fruit and have achieved a foothold in the middle of a

    society that sinks every day. Where the rule has been the most complete

    mediocrity, they are the best examples of how well it rewards its followers.

    In spite of having taught their children that only the State is good —

    protector of the poor and natural resources — and that the men who form

    the State are the vanguard of supreme valor that is the Revolution,

    their children have preferred to emigrate.

    But so that no one is confused, the parents say that the reason was the

    economic problem, that if there had not been the economic embargo, they

    would have stayed working for the Benefactor State that trims the claws

    of our base passions and the vices of democracy and capitalism: the

    vices of liberty — missing in the great spirits who are the messiahs of

    Social Justice, who conceive of humanity as a huge block, a human

    chalkboard that projects figures against capitalism and western hegemony

    headed by the United States; and who intervene in our selfishness as

    judges placed by an indecipherable providence, sacrificing our freedom

    of in the interest of reaching collective objectives for the

    good and peace of Humanity.

    Certainly my happy neighbors do not know Charito. Maybe if they knew

    her. . . Charito is a Lady in White. About the Ladies in White they only

    know what the television tells them. It does not interest them to find

    out who they are because they feel the invisible hand that would stop

    them from taking the prohibited step. If, perhaps, they were suddenly

    going crazy and it was given to them through solidarity — not between

    peoples but between their nearest — and to seek the truth… But that holy

    naivete that they insist on suffering from would make them participate

    in the bacchanal of an .

    From Charito, the Lady in White, everything she was selling in her tiny

    stall was confiscated by . And they hit her with a huge fine:

    1,200 pesos. She does not have the money to pay the fine and so she

    planted herself outside the station: alone.

    The children of L, of C, and of T and even of the fundamentalist Officer

    who has a stepson in the United States, enjoy all the rights and

    freedoms available to them outside of Cuba, but they still don't do

    their parents the favor of explaining to the why Charito protests.

    *Translator's note: CDR = Committee for the Defense of the Revolution,

    the block watch groups.

    August 21 2012

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