Cubans and Rabbits

Dariela Aquique

Rabbit sculpture by Grethell Rasua.

HAVANA TIMES — Speaking of politics (an unavoidable topic for Cubans), a friend of mine expressed what in my opinion was an odd reflection – though sharp at the same time. He said we Cubans have conformed to our situation so much that we’re like women who suffer anorgasmia.

If you aren’t familiar with pleasure, you get used to something that isn’t pleasurable and then spend your whole life having sex without climaxes. That will only change the day you make love with someone who causes you to have an orgasm, then you’ll know that there’s more than you ever had, because then they’ll have experienced it.

That was the first association I made with rabbits, since these animals have intercourse in a surprisingly brief period of time and usually women who are unsatisfied by sex suffer the early ejaculation of men who perform the sex act very briefly.

But that first similarity seemed almost not to fit because we Cubans have a very good sexual reputation. But then I thought carefully and I realized that yes, there were many other similarities between Cubans and rabbits

Both words have three syllables, both [in Spanish] begin with the letter C, both are of the same gender, number and person, and both are accented the same.

Rabbits are mammals like us, they live from 8 to 12 years or so. This could qualify them as having a life expectancy around those of a species of livestock relatively similar to that of Cubans within the human species, fairly long to be bred in captivity.

In response to economic and social aspects, rabbit breeding is done in systems well suited to small farmers, with or without land. The benefits are closely connected to the feeding behavior and productivity of this animal, as well as their easy integration into society and their economic profitability. We Cubans, as has been demonstrated, can live with very little and for quite some time this way.

Rabbits are easy to house in small spaces. The initial investment for their breeding is minimal; all you need is a cage and the initial rabbits. Cubans can also construct small palaces in spaces as tiny as two meters by two meters, including barbacoas (improvised second floor living spaces), and large families can live in very small houses sometimes in the most Spartan conditions.

Rabbits are known for their eating of local ingredients, having an ample capacity for taking advantage of fibrous materials that don’t compete with human food, and for overcoming the difficulties in the importation of raw materials for feed. In fact, Cubans eat a lot like rabbits.

With rabbit breeding, organization shouldn’t be on an individual basis, but at the village or regional level. We will always be organized by groups or associations – by CDRs, trade unions, People’s Councils, municipalities, provinces and so on.

These little animals live in their cage enclosed by thin wire mesh and from which they can barely see out. Only a little light gets in and they can only see those who approach the cage. The rabbit and its buddies in the cage can hear the buzz of the world, one they don’t know but which they know exists. “If I could only get out!” they must think.

The life of a rabbit goes by quickly, and rabbits adapt to their forms of subsistence to the point of them becoming very docile animals. I think they’re more docile than cattle. They’re so docile that when you go to kill a rabbit, it will remain quiet. It might get a little nervous and shake, but it won’t do anything. It won’t make a sound. You can pick one up by their ears and practically skin it, but the rabbit will only lie there resigned.

We Cubans have lost that sense of defiance and rebelliousness. We sit around like that, without doing anything, and in doing so life goes by as fast as it does for rabbits, content in their cages.

Rabbits want to play out in the grass, to smell it, but they’re likely to return to the cages with which they’re familiar, where they are “cared for,” given the food (not so good, but it’s given to them), under sanitary conditions so they don’t get sick, since we have vaccines for rabbits and education for them too.