The Man for Whom Cuba Feels Hurt


Ninety years later, he would die without remedy, leaving millions of Cubans in an inconsolable grief. Ninety years later, the island would live the longest night, one moonless and starless night, and without rest on the other side of the telephone when a faltering voice tells you that it is true, that Fidel has passed away.

And you read the news on the networks and you do not want to believe it, you cling like a cat to the remote possibility that it is another opportunistic and malicious rumor, because one is never ready for a sting like that.

But then you see Raúl corroborating the news on national television, with the grief of the one who has no more handle than his memory, and it is when that reality falls on you like molten lead. In the future, you will have to deal with that absence.

You will have to deal with a dull pain that will reemerge at times, when you go down the street and any sign makes him return to you: three workers repairing a post, the dialogue of a mother and her son who refuses to go inside the daycare, the pregnant woman with a huge belly, the old man holding a handbag with foodstuffs in one hand, and on his chest, in perfect order, the medals won in battle. Everything, absolutely everything in your world known at 32 will bring him back.

But your personal, intimate grief, and the collective mourning of millions of Cubans who went to bed on Friday, November 25 and woke up without Fidel; this panorama of spiritual unrest disrupts life now.

90 years ago, in Biran, trying to get out of the cradle of Lina, child Fidel did not know —no one could — that he would one day irreverently rouse the country and would take the mortgaged Motherland away from a few to distribute it among many, an act of historical justice that he would never be forgiven for. There, in Biran, was barely the promise of the telluric man who could become.

A man too big for a small island. A man who was a bow, a shield, a trench. A light man. The man for whom Cuba feels hurt 90 years later.

(Translated by Aracelia del Valle)