The Laundromat Is Closed

Dariela Aquique

Painting by Agustin Bejarano.

By way of introduction I’m going to explain something that I consider important for the full understanding of this commentary.

A few days ago I was talking with a friend and colleague, who also writes for this website, and we discussed whether a more intellectual or a more popular approach would have greater effectiveness in communicating our ideas.

I go more for plain language, what is employed by Cubans just as we are and that uses popular jargon and sayings.  I believe that I’ve created a sort of personal style in my blog posts, where the employment of street adages makes my writings more illustrative (of which this commentary is a good example).

Commonly, when a third person is being discussed between two people, they might say, He or she “was washed up and hung out to dry.”  In this same way, when referring to an analysis or discussion of private personal matters or those of a family nature, we refer to the humorous saying “You wash your dirty laundry at home.”

I’ve always compared the Cuban press to a self-service laundromat due to its tendency to report more and more about what’s happening outside than within, giving more details about what’s going on abroad than those related to the national situation. For me the Mesa Redonda [a daily primetime news/commentary program] is the leading example.

As it turns out, recently an unpleasant story has been the feature of many international news reports.  The following is an example published by El Nuevo Herald:

Cuban Painter Arrested for Sexual Abuse of a 5-Year-Old Boy

“An important Cuban painter who was visiting Miami to display works at the ArteAmericas Fair was arrested Monday night accused of sexually abusing a five-year-old boy in Hialeah.  Agustin Bejarano (46) was picked up by the police of that city on charges of lewd behavior and sexually abusing a minor.  If convicted he could face life imprisonment.”

The report continued with a series of details regarding the incident.  Other sites have also commented on the unfortunate case.  What’s curious is that our national press has still not uttered a word.  Nothing has been reported in the pages of our dailies or over our radio or television networks.  Nothing is said either for or against Bejarano, as everyone guards their silence.

I’m not particularly interested in sharing my point of view on the matter.  I’m going to wait for the appropriate investigation to shed light on what actually occurred.  However I’ll have to wait for this to show up on the Internet…because here, my friends, the Laundromat is closed.

Dariela Aquique

Dariela Aquique: I remember my years as a high school student, especially that teacher who would interrupt the reading of works and who with surprising histrionics spoke of the real possibilities of knowing more about the truth of a country through its writers than through historical chronicles. From there came my passion for writing and literature. I had excellent teachers (sure, those were not the days of the Fast-track Teachers) and extemporization and the non-mastery of subjects was not tolerated. With humble pretenses, I want to contribute to revealing the truth about my country, where reality always overcomes fiction, but where a novel style shrouds its existence.

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