In Cuba, sadly, moral duplicity is among the qualities of many of those who live here. On the block where my house is located, the head of the CDR* holds a tenured position, and not only that, she wasn’t chosen by the neighbors, a vast majority of whom have already emigrated to other countries or moved; rather, her assignment comes from higher up. I’m almost sure that it was decided by Section 21*. It is undoubtedly so, because she doesn’t live in that house, she’s only there in the day; at night she sleeps in another house she has in the Cerro neighborhood, otherwise she would not pass long hours of the day and different seasons of the year in the same place, resting her bosom on the balcony, with her head drooping, dangling off the hook like the receiver of a battered payphone.
This lady who strikes fear in so many around this neighbourhood, goes by the name of Digna Rosa Iván García. She’s a primary school teacher, retired, now earning her masters in surveilling all of us who are working towards freedom and all those of us who are trying to get by, in which she has some experience, I suppose, since her husband Tomás León, or “Tomasito” as he’s known, fixes Tico-made cars on the street, illegally, and he also does some business in spare parts for these modern cars, most of which you need convertible pesos to get hold of.
This Christmas Digna was putting up her eldest granddaughter and her daughter-in-law, whose home is in Miami. Digna has it that her granddaughter works for Channel 41 and it wouldn’t surprise me because her eldest son is a producer, going back years, for ICRT*. His name is José León and there are so many well known Cuban artists there that perhaps for that reason his daughter works for what the Cuban government calls the most repudiated, feared and subversive TV station.
What inspires me to write this post is just that this woman, so offensive and so critical of others, celebrated Christmas in a Santa Claus hat; all her guests wore red clothes and her balcony, or, better said, her podium, was decorated with red balloons. And when the clock struck 12 midnight, sparklers in hand, they didn’t say “Hurrah for the 52nd Anniversary of the Triumph of the Revolution” but “Merry Christmas.” This provocation led the entire neighbourhood to let slip certain remarks which aren’t so far from the reality. She criticises neighbours in the North and look how she imitates them at every opportunity, they said. Which leads me to say, there you have it, a living example of double standards.
*CDR: Committee for the Defense of the Revolution
*ICRT: Instituto Cubano de Radio y Television (Cuban Institute of Radio and Television)
*Section 21: Department for Dealing with Enemies of State Security
The pigeon in the picture is reading How to Shit on Humans in 12 Lessons
Translated by RSP