A Conversation with Cacholo  

By Pedro Pablo Morejon

HAVANA TIMES – I’ve known Cacholo ever since I was a little boy. He was a teacher and traveled to Nicaragua in the ‘80s. He left Puerta de Golpe years ago and now lives in Pinar. He is an extroverted and attentive guy, a good person.

I ran into him when I was crossing a street, he greeted me and wanted some counsel. Lots of acquaintances do this, they still think I’m working as a lawyer. This time, it’s a trivial matter. He wants to get a certain job and he surprised me, because he’s a man nearing 70.

The job position is in a military company, and they’ll do a background check on him, and he needs to hand in an autobiography. He shows me his handwritten CV. I study his cursive script which really is quite beautiful, not to mention his excellent spelling.

He forces me to read a part where he boasts about being an internationalist, and he even tells his experience about Aguedo Morales Reina’s death.

For those of you who don’t know the story, Aguedo Morales was a teacher born in Consolacion del Sur, who was killed in Nicaragua in 1981. A series starring the late actor Enrique Molina was made about him. Schools and agricultural cooperatives are named after him, he is a martyr of the Castros’ internationalism.

ECURED (the pro-government Cuban encyclopedia, a clumsy and manipulated imitation of Wikipedia) preaches:

On December 4th 1981, after being in Nicaragua for just three months, he was traveling in a truck with other companions, and when they crossed a gorge in the “Aguas Sarcas” region, 12 km west of “Villa Sandino”, they fell into an ambush and were attacked by a counter-revolutionary Somoza-supporting group, funded by US Imperialism. Aguedo bravely stood up to the attackers and tried to grab one of the bandits’ weapons, when he was hit by three bullets that killed him. He would die a revolutionary, teacher, internationalist…”

Cacholo, his companion told me what really happened. According to the truck driver’s testimony, a Nicaraguan was hurt in the incident, and it was a night that Aguedo and another companion had gone out. A group of thieves ambushed them, and he stopped the car.

They demanded money, a young man, almost a teenager aimed at the teacher, who tried to grab his rifle because he was much bigger and physically superior, and he almost managed to get it when another bandit spewed a flurry of bullets at him, killing him on the spot.

According to Cacholo, his friend got carried away with the bravado. If he had kept his composure, nothing would have happened.  His death was not only unnecessary, but also painful. He was a good man, a noble guajiro. 

I’m not sure if they were just a group of thieves or guerrilla members from the Contra. I ask him. They’re the same thing in Cacholo’s eyes, counterrevolutionaries and criminals and he rambles some brave and unnecessary defense that begins with the so-called Sandinista Revolution back then and ends with Fidel Castro and his “revolution”, passing over “proletarian internationalism”.

The reality is that I don’t give a lot of credit to his speech, I didn’t know this side of him. His voice becomes high sounding at times, he’s gesturing way too much and violating my physical space. I move away discreetly. I’m uncomfortable. People look at us and I’m embarrassed to be confused with him and his terrible ideology.

He’s an older man and so I tolerate it, but I’m becoming more and more uncomfortable as the pitch of his voice goes higher, his stance when it comes to apologizing for Communism and violating the space between our bodies, until I burst out in a moment of impulse, even though it wasn’t very brave…:

“You know what I think? That poor Aguedo Morales who is used as a martyr, was an innocent victim of your murderous revolution and Daniel Ortega’s, who by the way I believe to be the biggest criminal in Nicaragua, who is still a dictator, thief, liar, and murderer like then, and now.”

“No, I don’t know anything about that,” he replies surprised, left speechless by my unexpected judgement.

He looks around to check if anyone heard me and, in a double standard move, moves away from me, afraid. I feel sorry for him.

Read more from the diary of Pedro Pablo Morejon here.

Pedro Morejón

I am a man who fights for his goals, who assumes the consequences of his actions, who does not stop at obstacles. I could say that adversity has always been an inseparable companion, I have never had anything easy, but in some sense, it has benefited my character. I value what is in disuse, such as honesty, justice, honor. For a long time, I was tied to ideas and false paradigms that suffocated me, but little by little I managed to free myself and grow by myself. Today I am the one who dictates my morale, and I defend my freedom against wind and tide. I also build that freedom by writing, because being a writer defines me.