Spontaneity in San Isidro, Imposition in Trillo Park
They are separated by four months and an abyss. Some arrived at Trillo Park in November summoned by the Cuban government; the others danced this April in the San Isidro neighborhood to the rhythm of songs forbidden in the national media. Some could not even name the streets that border the Central Havana plaza to which they were delivered; the others know every stone in one of the poorest areas of the capital.
Spontaneity is very difficult to fake. The naturalness, if it is not sincere, only appears as a poorly drawn mask. The tángana [brawl] of November 29 was attended by Miguel Díaz-Canel, wearing expensive sports shoes, having just stepped out of an air-conditioned vehicle. At the collective birthday this Sunday, organized by the San Isidro Movement, the shirtless people of the area, the poor and the most vulnerable attended.
In one case, the participants sang old choruses of songs that once moved the revolutionary sinews and today they only recall the great scam that the system turned out to be. In the other they shook their hips and repeated phrases of rebellion and hope for a future in which different opinions are decriminalized. Some represent a decrepit power; the others anticipate a Cuba with a place for everyone. Those of November not chosen; those of April popularly acclaimed.
Between Trillo Park and Damas Street there is the same symbolic distance as between the Castro leadership and the Cuban people. Those “up there” believe that with the repression of their opponents, perks to their followers, and pushing critics into exile they can control this Island for a long time; those in the neighborhood with peeling facades and illegal games know that the time for change has arrived long since and that the Plaza of the Revolution no longer has anything to offer other than misery and blows.
The past resembles a plaza where worn-out slogans are shouted and the leader feigns a stroll among the multitudes known to be prepared and rehearsed; the future screams sincerely from its guts and sways openly. They are two separate times.