Havana May 12 at 2:00 p.m.

Placard of the 15-M (May 15) in Spain

Saturday I went shopping for Mothers’ Day gifts. The street was full of anxious people wanting to stretch the little bit of money they had in the manner of Jesus. While the expensive items stayed on the shelves, the cheap cologne, little soaps, plastic flowers, fans, and cards of congratulations soon ran low. A few trinkets, my gifts brought back the epoch of the “convoys” of MINCIN (The Ministry of Domestic Trade); the best thing was to find gift-wrap paper, not the really pretty ones of shiny silver, but still nice.

With my colorful rolls of paper in hand, I returned late (2:30) to the meeting of the Critical Observatory on Carlos III and Belascoain. With the vivid memory of having seen the birth of the movement of the Indignados — the Outraged — in Spain, I crossed the street in the direction of the park where it was taking place; in addition to five uniformed police standing on the sidelines, I saw numerous groups of civilians spread around the espalande, but no event happening. On the corner of San Carlos (the first indication of the street name is parallel to Belascoain), I saw another group where I recognized the faces from the day of the Los Aldeanos concert in the Acapulco movie theater. Faces of those who didn’t like hip-hop, nor the marches with the gladiolas, nor even this demonstration against “all capitalisms.”

In the entrance of the very same primary school, two young people allowed me to verify that the new batch of the political police had stopped wearing those checked shirts they used to like so much, and were now dressing with the same bad taste as the hustlers. One woman in the school doorway was whining with an old security guard that the police had been making fun of her.

All without seeing a familiar face. Luckily I met Andy Sierra, bewildered like I was, and to make this short, we headed out with other friends who didn’t like hip-hop to explore by the statue of Karl Marx. They pointed toward the center of the park, I continued without seeing any statue, and now in the park, I headed toward another group of the same friends. One of them showed me a very discreet bas relief on a long wall that, with my poor sight, I had thought to be a coat of arms, without soul near the sundial. I asked the same friend about the activity that was supposed to be happening there, and making a peevish gesture with his hand he told me: Ah, that took place a little while ago. So short? I asked, incredulous. Yes, they sang the Internationale, said a few words, and that was it.

Since she was close by, I decided to take coffee to Miriam Celaya. I called to her from downstairs in her building to open the door for me, but, to my surprise, Miriam and Eugenio Leal had been “relocated” in Playa by friends who didn’t like the gladiola marches either, just when they were heading toward the meeting of the Critical Observatory.

To judge by the deployment, there had been more police than solidarios with the M-15. The Left were infiltrating the confrontation with the little groups like one more of them. Who would have thought the Internationale would be subversive!

And speaking like these crazy people….How much did this operation cost poor Liborio*?

*Translator’s note: “Liborio” is the Cuban equivalent of “Uncle Sam.”

Translated by Regina Anavy

May 14 2012

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