The Pope and Manipulations

Dariela Aquique 

Construction goes on day and night at the Plaza de la Revolucion in Santiago de Cuba.

HAVANA TIMES, March 16 — For about a month, work has been going on day and night in Santiago de Cuba to fix up and repair those places that will be visited by the Pope.

But the undertaking that has required the most material and humans resources is the construction of a massive open-air chapel at Antonio Maceo Revolution Square.

Working on that project are engineers, architects, planners, builders, welders, electricians, painters and all the police and security personnel needed to patrol the surrounding area.

Catholic symbolism is being erected, with crucifixes and machetes superimposed in such a paradoxical visual context that Christians and revolutionaries seem to have never held any antagonisms.

Erecting the stage has meant excessive expenditures of kilowatts, not only for the large amount of welding required for the structure, but also the enormous quantity of halogen light bulbs placed in the front, on the sides and in different positions all around the structure. These are not only to illuminate the nights for the workers, but to offer increased protection to the site once the work is complete.

There are so many the lights that if you dropped a needle on the ground, you’d have no problem finding it. The flip side of this story is that someone has to pay for all of this lavishness, and undoubtedly it’s the people, as it’s always been.

When dawn comes to an already illuminated Revolution Square, throughout the nights rotating electric service cuts have been made in several neighborhoods, with each alternating area blacked out for an hour or so.

In Santiago it’s always hot. So there’s nothing worse than having ones fan or air conditioner stop.

Your sleep is interrupted by the shrill buzz of mosquitos, and your sweating becomes unbearable. You can telephone the electric company’s 108 information line and request an explanation, but the operator will only say — almost automatically — “we’re sorry but we’re in the middle of energy manipulations, but they’ll last for only a few more minutes.”

With all of this, the Pope’s visit has already meant sacrifices on our part. He, the shepherd of good faith, is coming to share his grace and to request spiritual peace for all Cubans. He is coming to bless the virgin but he doesn’t know what that this has to do with energy manipulations and those other “manipulations” of power.

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.

4 thoughts on “The Pope and Manipulations

  • Hubert,

    Yes i would Hubert and about Judaism as well .
    The three religions that arose out of a primitive Middle Eastern way of thinking and based on legends and myths repeated in humanity’s history preceding the rise of these three are a cruel hoax perpetrated on the people of the planet and the cause of centuries of cruelty, war, oppression for centuries.

    To rtepeat: We have had over 1000 gods in our 100,000 years on the planet and all but the latest one have been discarded for the obvious frauds they were .

    We are now down to that one celestial dictator which brings us ever so close to the actual number .

    Humanity should shed its beliefs in the unreal much as children shed their belief in Santa Claus, the Esater Bunny and the Tooth fairy .

    It is time to grow up and discard the imaginations of our races long childhood.


  • John,
    ‘The Church is misogynist and any woman who chooses to belong to that faith has to be completely lacking in self-respect.’
    Would you say the same about Islam?

  • The theologians who practiced liberation theology in Nicaragua’s revolution were given the choice by the Catholic hierarchy to get out of liberation theology or get of of the church . Father Ernesto Cardenal among others.

    The Catholic Church hierarchy always works hand in hand with whomever runs a particular country for obvious reasons .
    The Catholic Church sent regular birthday greetings to Hitler.

    The Church is misogynist and any woman who chooses to belong to that faith has to be completely lacking in self-respect.

    Having the anti-socialist Catholic Church’s leader visit Cuba is a necessary evil and a contradiction to socialist principles .

    Jesus might have been a revolutionary but the Church sitting on fabulous wealth and vast properties is the antithesis of Christ’s primary teaching of helping the poor.

    As the saying goes “Sell the Vatican, Feed the world.”

  • Surely the Pope is not as naive as this author implies. Does she really think that the Pope is ignorant about how far EVERY host goes to welcome him and make an impression on this office? Does she really think that Cuba is unique in these kinds of outlays?

    Also, the implication that Christians and revolutionaries are necessarily at odds ignores history. Liberation theologists were the very fuel of revolutionary movements in recent decades in Central America, Rev. MLK Jr. led the civil rights revolution in the US. One aspect of the America (US) revolution involved Christians seeking religious freedom. Good grief, Jesus Christ was himself a revolutionary.

    The tone of this article reveals the writer’s intention to manipulate her readers in the very same way she accuses the Cuban government of doing with its sculptures, which to me depict the government’s desire to mend relations rather than its desire to fool the Pope…. as if that were possible.

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