Cuba Illegal Exit
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Tempering Dad

Tempering Dad / Yoani Sanchez

Translator: Unstated, Yoani Sanchez

For Marino Murillo, Cuban Vice President and father

who, a few days ago, saw a daughter leave into exile.

"Daddy, you're not getting involved in this stuff," his daughter advised

from the other end of the line. The same daughter who a few weeks ago

sent him some money and a package with medicine and clothes. She who

emigrated a decade ago and who, from Berlin, is the principal support of

her family back in Havana. Her father swallows hard every time his

firstborn tells him — by phone — not to involve himself in the work of

the Communist Party, nor that of the Committees for the Defense of the

Revolution, much less to allow himself to be used in any repudiation

rallies against opponents. "Listen, that's about to collapse and you're

the one who is going to get muddy," repeats the insistent young woman.

Such that the obedient retiree has significantly reduced his ideological

intolerance, moderated the rage he harbored for those who were against

"his Comandante" and even hidden his Communist Party membership card at

the bottom of a drawer.

He looks a changed man. When someone talks about politics he changes the

subject to the weather or baseball. To his dissident neighbors, whom he

used to refuse to greet, he now offers a wink of complicity. Old

soldier's association meetings now seem so boring, the newspapers so

empty, the slogans so false… he doesn't even turn on the television any

more to watch the official speeches. What happened? A mix of

frustration, annoyance at his very low pension, the corruption and the

indefinite postponement of dreams. But in his case his children have

been the main catalyst for discontent, the most emphatic denial his

ideology could receive. Most of them live in Europe and the youngest

crossed the Straits of Florida on a raft. None wanted to stay and wait

for the fruits of the system "Daddy fought so hard for."

After the departure of his "babies," he's discovered a more moderate man

in himself, capable of accepting that other people's children also leave

without having to throwing eggs or insults. He doesn't allow anyone to

call his offspring "traitors" and has learned that the English spoken by

his granddaughter born in Arkansas is absolutely not the language of the

devil. In addition, the vitamins they send are so good, the gel for his

back pain of such good quality, the dollars via Western Union so

opportune… In short, he is a different man. This October he will fly to

the United States to visit his family and he has no plans to return. He

will go quietly, without saying goodbye, without even resigning from the

only party he belongs to. He will leave without publicly recanting

anything, without apologizing to any of the dissidents he insulted, spat

on, denigrated, for decades. He will leave.

28 August 2012

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