These days are the anniversary of the Bay of Pigs. I was three months shy of fourteen. In four months my son Teo will also be fourteen. For a long time I had the feeling that my life had an inexcusable hole in it because other guys my age came out of the Artillery School to fight in those forgotten sands. To compensate I enrolled in the Conrado Benítez Brigade, but that’s another story.
Like all boys his age, Teo plays at war. Thanks to advances in technology, you can see on PlayStation, without getting splashed with blood, how the heads and extremities of your adversaries fly off, those who are always defeated. I remember clearly the military rhetoric, the anthem of the guerrilla fighters with its bellicose rhythm inciting the vanguard. In those days, my first political doubts assailed me (what precocity!). I saw men in militia uniforms putting posters on the doors of certain Camagüeyan families. “Here lives an enemy of the Revolution,” proclaimed the signs and I wondered when and how they’d been judged to be sentenced in this way. Almost all of them left the country later, but that’s another story.
Widows and orphans on both sides cried the same tears. The pain of the mothers of those who came to retrieve their property was no less than the pain of the mothers of those who died to stop them. Today, I have other kinds of political doubts, I’d love to know how much these lands are producing, these plants and factories, in what condition they would find the apartment buildings, the shops and the other things they fought over at the Bay of Pigs.
I don’t think a story like this can be repeated in Cuba. No one will disembark armed with a rifle to recover the ruins of what belonged to his parents and grandparents, now hymns don’t inflame juvenile hearts. My son will not suffer the terror of seeing some men nailing a sign to the door of his house.