With Fidel Castro, A Whole Era Has Died
We are now without a nation state in the image and likeness of Castro.
My era has died. Our era has died. We have become orphans of history.
For Fidel Castro, it wasn’t enough to hijack the existence of the Cuban people for six drawn-out decades. Now, too, with his real and irreversible death, the Commander in Chief has stolen our survival.
- Is it worth-while to focus on the last images and letters coming from the inside of the last living utopia on Earth? Is Cuba by now a contemporary country or just another old-fashioned delusion in the middle of Nowhere-America? A Cold-War Northtalgia maybe? Can we expect a young Rewwwolution.cu within that Ancien Régime still known as The Revolution? I would like to provoke more questions than answers.
- Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo was born in Havana City and still resides and resists there, working as a free-lance writer, photographer and blogger. He is the author of Boring Home (2009) and is the editor of the independent opinion and literary e-zine Voces.
We are desolate. I am desolate. The more we uncork bottles and embrace Cuban strangers and say to one other, with a knowing little wink, “Hey! Barbatruco is finally gone!”, the more disconsolate we become, the more childish we seem in our euphoria, and the more fatally we become noncitizens, condemned to the uncertain time of a perpetual non-nation.
These are the emotional consequences of totalitarianism. This is the memorious legacy of Castroism. The neurosis of the fear of emptiness, of the future, of liberty. The panic of being people. And the panic of having to be the real me from now on.
And so, we resist the reality that we Cubans have suddenly become alone in this world. We are now without a nation state in the image and likeness of a History Man, half comrade and half criminal. We are without his megalomaniacal, mendacious, narcissistic, despotic, improvised, smart-ass narrative: in accordance with our beloved internal Castro.
Fidel Castro died on the last Friday of November. He died on us in the middle of fall, a season that does not exist in Cuba.
The Cubans who will come next are others. No dictionary could bring us closer now to that language loaded with emptiness, future, and liberty.
We are the Cubans who are leaving. There’s no way we can be kept in Cuba without Fidel Castro.
No one in Cuba has yet said goodbye to the dictator of our lives lived for his purposes. I suppose it’s up to me to do so now, after so much nationalist paternalism, so many unidentifiable corpses, so much utopia turned talcum powder, so much hypocrisy as a mask for ignorance, and so much hatred that we have suddenly—shockingly—been made obsolete.
Goodbye, Fidel (never Castro). Goodbye, era of our parents and grandparents—whom we turned into, without realizing it, long ago, you and I. Goodbye, childhood. Goodbye, memory. Goodbye, love.
Let us be silent in peace.