Havana was pandemonium during the 49th National Baseball Championship Series. The finals pitted the Industriales, Blue, the team from Havana with the lion mascot, against Villa Clara, Orange. In the streets there were congas, placards, slogans, and a great commotion when the Industriales won the championship. As they say in the streets, the lion drank the Orange juice.
In those days baseball was the only topic of conversation. The workplaces were paralyzed, and strong arguments broke out on the buses. Since the vast majority of the police are from Eastern Cuba and are not entirely congenial with the citizens of Havana, they quietly endured all the shouting, and in a few areas of Central Havana where people went so far as to actually strike police cars, the police did nothing in response. But nobody was overly preoccupied with the lack of rice and salt, or the pound of sugar removed from the basic food rations without any consultation with the Cuban people, or the other products that now can’t be found in the foreign exchange stores, baseball was all that mattered. The government is always looking for ways to mislead people about the hard reality.
I looked around me and upon seeing so many young people and adults in that crowded conga, I thought about how good it would be if they went out into the streets to protest for the death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, the unjust beating of the Ladies in White, the immediate and unconditional liberation of all the political prisoners. The authorities could do nothing against such a mass of people, and in the end we would be able to break the chains of those who oppress us, but that was a Utopian dream. Some for fear, and others for convenience, prefer to neglect reality and their daily needs, and some take refuge in their faith, and others in rum. But in the end they decide to keep quiet, which is, without doubt, the vocation of sheep.
Translated by ricote