Debate and Consensus in Cuba

Dmitri Prieto

Guanajos. Foto:

The last time my brother came to Cuba with his family from Russia, we went to see some friends of the family out here in Santa Cruz.

Once at their home, my little Russian niece saw a turkey for the first time in her life.  It was fenced in out in the yard – large, spherical and proud, with its feathers standing on end.  It paraded among its hens, strutting and moving its head from side to side while making the sound “brlbrlbrl!”

The girl was amazed by the bird.  With her, I went up to the fence and the turkey spoke to us, again saying “brlbrlbrl!”

In response, I too moved my head from side to side, saying “brlbrlbrl!”

The turkey looked at me askance; then it replied in identical terms: “brlbrlbrl!”

My brother’s family and our friends all laughed.

After repeating the exchange of calls and responses, I was impressed; I had not only managed to establish perfect communication with the turkey, but we said the same thing.  That’s to say, there wasn’t only dialogue but also consensus.

I was excited about that experience; it made me optimistic about the dialogue and consensus.  We were able to break the species barrier and enter into affectionate communication.  If this was possible between different species, it should be even more likely between humans from the same country!

Since then, every time I visited my friends place, I would go up to the turkey cage and say “brlbrlbrl!” – to which he would reply, “brlbrlbrl!”

A few days ago I went over there, but the turkey was gone.

I thought that maybe it had migrated.  Perhaps it just took off into the sky heading north.

That possibility didn’t bother me; there’s growing cordiality between those of us who live in Cuba and those who migrate.

It was perfectly possible for me to establish the same communication with the turkey as before, thought this time across the Florida Straits – after all, both the Internet and Skype have now been invented.

We only need to activate Cuba’s famous undersea cable to talk on broadband with the turkey.  I should try looking him up on Facebook, I thought.

My friends invited me to come in and have a seat at the table.  They then offered me a delicious plate of rice and a delicious piece of meat that was like chicken…but drier.

I felt bad that the turkey wasn’t there at the table, sharing with us.


Dimitri Prieto-Samsonov

Dmitri Prieto-Samsonov: I define myself as being either Cuban-Russian or Russian-Cuban, indiscriminately. I was born in Moscow in 1972 of a Russian mother and a Cuban father. I lived in the USSR until I was 13, although I was already familiar with Cuba-- where we would take our vacation almost every year. I currently live on the fifth floor of an apartment building in Santa Cruz del Norte, near the sea. I’ve studied biochemistry and law in Havana and anthropology in London. I’ve written about molecular biology, philosophy and anarchism, although I enjoy reading more than writing. I am currently teaching in the Agrarian University of Havana. I believe in God and in the possibility of a free society. Together with other people, that’s what we’re into: breaking down walls and routines.

Dimitri Prieto-Samsonov has 254 posts and counting. See all posts by Dimitri Prieto-Samsonov

One thought on “Debate and Consensus in Cuba

  • Love your article Dmitri so you end up eating the communicative turkey I guess he did not see that coming 🙂

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