PINAR DEL RIO


support babalú


Your donations help fund
our continued operation

do you babalú?

what they’re saying


bestlatinosmall.jpg

quotes.gif

activism


ozt_bilingual


buclbanner

recommended reading





babalú features





recent comments


  • La Conchita: Here is their FB page. Comment away…… https://www.facebook.com/pages /Cafe-Con-Leche/18706931141...

  • ranavy33: Really disgusting. Unfortunately, I’ve heard this vomit- nducing attitude before.

  • asombra: If this pope ever wants my respect, he’d better have an incredible mea culpa ready, and I mean epic.

  • asombra: I’m telling you, those typical Cuban women are to die for, even if they’d make Aunt Jemima blush with shame. But...

  • asombra: Queen Marie Antoinette never said “If the people have no bread, let them eat cake,” but even if she had, she would...

search babalu

babalú archives

frequent topics


elsewhere on the net



realclearworld

Dispatch from the Balcony of Customer Satisfaction

Day three in Puerto Rico.

Got rid of the balcony of disillusionment in an old-fashioned American way.  I complained to the management.

New room, new balcony, new view.  Satisfaction.

IMG_0300

Beautiful.  Much better.  God bless America, capitalism, free markets, and the hard-working fairies of customer satisfaction.

The rage I felt on the first day waxes and wanes at breakneck speed, like some moon gone berserk.  I'm reminded of Cuba at every turn, by random sights:  what used to be, what never was, what never will be, what could have been, what might have been, what was stifled, ruined, destroyed, what lurks behind the giant black tornado-sprouting wall cloud of the future.

Spent time with my cousins today, who kidnapped me, freed me temporarily from my conference.  Lots of Cuban-style conversation, so familiar and unfamiliar, so fast, faster than any conversation ever carried out by anyone, anywhere in New England.  Elation and rage spin in the core of the soul, changing places at a faster clip than the talking, faster even than the speed of light.

I meet relatives I've never met before: children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren of my cousin Rafael.  Three generations, all born in exile.  To them it's not exile.  They have no images of Cuba tattooed on their neurons.

Cousin Fernando drives me back to the hotel.  He endured twenty years as a prisoner in Castro's gulag.  At one point in the conversation, earlier, he had described how the sound of the firing squads reverberated throughout La Cabaña prison,  and then quickly moved on to joke after joke, some so funny they made me cry.  He really and genuinely could have been a great comedian.

As he is dropping me off, he tells me what happened when he was freed, something I did not know.  The King of Spain intervened, got the Castro dynasty to free him before he served all of his 30-year sentence, and he was flown to Spain.  But in Madrid he discovered that the U.S. State Department, then under the leadership of President Jimmy Carter, had branded him a "terrorist" and barred him from entering the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

All he had done to merit this designation was to ferry weapons to a safe house in anticipation of the Bay of Pigs invasion, all this under the direction of the CIA.

"That's how I was rewarded," he said.  Then he told another joke. We hugged and said good-bye.

The rage flared up, but could not eclipse the exquisite beauty of the moment.

IMG_0309

Cousin Fernando (left), cousin Rafael (right).

 

 

 

 

5 comments to Dispatch from the Balcony of Customer Satisfaction

  • antonio2009

    When I moved to Puerto Rico in 1982, I was surprised to see there are no bohios in the countryside, like those that still exist in Cuba. Enjoy "La Isla del Encanto."

  • Honey

    They have no images of Cuba tattooed on their neurons.
    Amazing writer.

    And that "irony" of how America treats someone doing the bidding of the CIA. But it wasn't America, was it? It was Jimmy Carter. If you read that article by Caroline Glick that I mentioned in a comment to your previous post about this visit, you can see the difference between Bush and Obama in dealing with what should have been done. Elections have consequences. Too bad Americans do not care.

    I so look forward to your posts here, sir.

  • asombra

    Jimmy Carter is lower than pig shit. Is that Southern enough? Talk about faux piety. Classic whitewashed sepulcher, in the Biblical sense.

  • Does your cousin's "terrorist" designation still stand?

  • asombra

    Of course it still stands, with Jimmy. Just like he still thinks it really was malaise.