By Alfredo Fernandez
HAVANA TIMES – Don Quixote sees a cloud of dust in the distance and dreams that this is has been stormed up by the army, he immediately lowers the visor of his helmet touching his chin, covers his chest with a leather shield and places his lance in charge position, and before spurring Rocinante, he invites his squire Sancho to do the same as soon as possible.
With his feet closer on the ground, Sancho tells him that they are just a few village people, that there isn’t an army. Don Quixote calls him a coward and then troubled, decides to take on the army alone, and the village people, who know nothing about madmen, beat him almost to death; then, while Sancho cures his injuries, Don Quixote in one of his lucid flashes, admits that it is better to talk than fight.
The recent statement from a desperate Carolina Cox, at Havana’s Jose Marti International airport, addressed directly to Chilean president Pinera, who she had called a dictator just months before, begging him to let her return to Santiago de Chile as soon as possible, reveals the combination of pretentiousness and ignorance that is inherent in a large majority of members of the Left.
During the protests in Chile last November, the promotor of the Cuban model as an option for her country, is now saying that she can’t stay in Cuba any longer because there isn’t any food, soap, or water to shower, amongst other reasons; and as if that wasn’t enough, she has also said that she’s surrounded by rats.
In a matter of hours, and pushed by a brutal experience, Carolina now prefers cruel and merciless neoliberalism, where she comes from, than the single-party and egalitarian socialism she dreamed of.
This isn’t news though. Back in 1967, Marxist theorist Regis Debray decided to abandon the indifferent and distant world of academia to join the battlefield. He wanted to be a living example for his intellectual colleagues of the European Left, like the chairman of European guerrillas, so he decided to join Che and his guerrilla movement in Bolivia as another member.
His plans couldn’t be wrong. Just days before, his friend Fidel Castro had promised him in Havana that Guevara’s guerrilla movement would be successful, “two or three years at best, maybe less…,” nothing could go wrong.
The Bolivian jungle became a crushing hell for the guerrilla snob; hunger, thirst and the never-ending days of hiking, quickly chipped away at this Parisian guerrillero’s character. He soon missed debates about the Revolution within the Revolution, which he was used to in Paris’ cafes.
Fate is cruel, Debray thought when in the guerrilla movement, “I was so comfortable in Paris and I came here to a certain death, most probably.” He didn’t have the spirit for this struggle, Debray was a demoralized man in Che’s guerrilla, so he begged his friend to let him leave.
Word has it that he was the person who gave up Che’s location, when he was arrested just a few days later by the Bolivian army. Then, enormous campaigns from Europe and the rest of the world stopped him from being tortured by the Bolivian army, as well as serving a 30-year prison sentence.
Unlike Don Quixote, Carolina Cox and Regis Debray didn’t have glimmers of good sense, not in front of the press at least. After their disastrous experience of reality, they both turned back to their privilege and decided to put on their armor of yesteryear. Of course, more careful where they stick their noses this time, because just like Don Quixote, they now know it is a lot better to talk than to take action. Which is something all madmen and women share.