Rome Scorns the Traitors it Pays

Militia member

By Javier Herrera

HAVANA TIMES – The ancient saying above refers to the scorn traitors receive, even from their own bosses. An individual who betrays their people, family or society will never be appreciated by those who convinced them to commit such treason.

The case I want to write of here didn’t involve an intentional and conscious betrayal. Still, in the end the bosses were equally dismissive of a person who gave their all for them, placing all bets on their ideas. Although the protagonist of our story was maybe confused in the beginning, dazzled by the ideals of justice, it’s also true that she had moments in life when she should have questioned the ethics of her actions. Unfortunately, she chose to remain silent and forge ahead alongside the leaders that she once committed her life to.

It was 1957, and Adela Jimenez was just a young girl of 15 who was studying in the Teachers’ Training School. Meanwhile, in the mountains in the east of her country, a young lawyer was leading an irregular guerrilla army that was fighting against a government of usurpers. The secondary schools were boiling pots of idealistic young people eager to join the revolution. Adela was one of those young kids, and she soon joined forces with the wave pushing for liberty, filled with ideals of justice. She joined the clandestine struggle that was taking place on the streets of every city in Cuba.

Adela transported arms and hid her comrades when the police came after them. Adela transported part of the explosives used by the priest Sergio Gonzales during the night of the hundred bombs in Havana. Adela was a revolutionary totally committed to her ideals.

In 1959, the Revolutionary movement triumphed, and with it a new era of dreams opened to Adela. She – who had been studying to be a teacher after all – joined the literacy campaign. Adela went into the remote Escambray mountains and brought education to that area. There in the Escambray, she met the only man of her life and later married him. Adela was there at the massive event of December 22,1961, when Cuba was declared Territory Free of Illiteracy. She and two of her students received a certificate from the hands of Fidel Castro himself, followed by a kiss on the cheek and a caress of her hair. Throughout her entire lifetime, that would be her greatest source of pride.

Before this, Adela had already integrated into the revolutionary militia forces. She valiantly defended the national territory during the Bay of Pigs invasion. She served as a nurse during the fighting and was wounded there by a piece of shrapnel that would render her unable to ever have children. There, Adela reaffirmed her hatred for the enemies of the revolution.

She dedicated her life to teaching and educated generations. She taught a number of subjects in elementary school, but if there was one thing she transmitted to her students above all, it was love of the homeland, the revolution. The Revolution beyond all else, and above that Fidel, her idol.

When they asked for educators to fight illiteracy in the sister country of Nicaragua, Adela stepped forward. She spent two complete years in the Central American jungles and brought the light of literacy to over 100 Nicaraguans.

In 1980, Adela shouted slogans and threw eggs at the “worms” who rejected her beloved revolution and wanted to leave the country. She participated in dozens of hate rallies, including one in her own house, aimed against her only brother who was bent on leaving the country. Adela was one of the most active members of the mob and refused to enter her home until that piece of scum had left. With every breath of air she took, Adela accumulated more revolutionary merits.

Adela was an exemplary revolutionary, participating in every activity the revolution called for. She was the president of her neighborhood Committee for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) and coordinated the Committee’s surveillance team for many years.  She went to the outskirts of Havana, picked coffee, and was mobilized on many occasions. She never failed to show up for volunteer work on Red Sundays; she never failed to attend an act in Havana’s Plaza of the Revolution; she never ignored a call to action from the revolution or from Fidel.

Adela screamed “Firing Squad!’ at traitors. Repeated to saturation, “We don’t want them, we don’t need them!” at those wishing to leave. She went hoarse yelling “Ping pong, out and done!” at them. With pride she shouted: “Carter, you bastard, remember the Bay of Pigs.” She repeated each revolutionary slogan in fashion at the moment – she knew them all by heart, and moreover she felt them viscerally.

Due to the wound she received at the Bay of Pigs, Adela was unable to have children. She lost her husband and life’s companion when she was barely 43, and she never remarried. With so much work to be done for the revolution, she never had time for her personal life. Adela effectively lost her brother in 1980, when he decided to leave for the cold counterrevolutionary north. She tore up the letters he sent without reading them, and they subsequently lost track of each other altogether. As the years passed, she was able to swap her home for another, and they never again communicated.

Adela began losing her housing when the fury of time took its toll. It began to crumble, piece by piece, until only part of the kitchen and the bathroom had a solid roof without many leaks. She wrote to Fidel, but apparently some perverse hand lost her letters along the way. She wrote to the CDR, the Party, and the Women’s Federation. Adela sent her diplomas and medals to every institution she had belonged to, but it seems they were all involved in more important activities than that of assisting an old woman who no one remembered – or perhaps some evil hand was misdirecting her letters.

In addition to all this, Adela had no traitorous child to send her dollars to help survive the crisis. Her brother died, from the moment in which she cut off all communication. By this time, she had no idea what had become of him.  Adela was alone, but not completely: a neighbor – queer, to be sure, and very counterrevolutionary to boot – would bring her some food from time to time, and do the errands needed to pick up her assigned rations.

But Adela never complained. She knew that the revolution didn’t make mistakes. At some moment, her needs would be attended to. The revolution won’t abandon its children, Adela thought.

Time breaks down everything, and Adela’s body was no exception although her spirit remained intact. She remained true to Fidel to her last breath. Adela passed away on November 9, 2022, at the age of 82. Not one leader attended the wake. There were no wreaths from the CDR, or speeches recalling her most exemplary revolutionary trajectory. Only the queer guy and his partner accompanied the casket to its final resting place. Adela now rests in peace, although she was left awaiting an answer to her letters.

Adela fell in love with a leader and his revolution, and for them she betrayed her ideals of freedom. Adela betrayed her people when she used her position in the CDR to denounce her neighbors. Adela betrayed her family when she scorned her brother, putting the revolution above her family ties. I’d like to think that Adela was confused, that none of what she did was intentional. I’d even like to think that she had time to repent, even if she never expressed it.  But all the same, Rome, after having consumed her body, life and spirit until they broke down, repaid her as traitors are repaid – with scorn and forgetting.


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3 thoughts on “Rome Scorns the Traitors it Pays

  • Olga, Many countries had anti gay laws 60 years ago.
    In my country (UK) it was illegal to practice homosexuality until 1967.
    But this is the 21st century and times have moved on (in many parts of the world).
    This article has a clear homophobic aspect.
    It’s is a nasty little article that speaks badly of a recently diseased lady. Regardless of political opinion, this article is a piece of sh*t.
    Havana Times is better than this.

  • Nick, as a Cuban I want to explain to you that is the why all those ppl that were with dictatorship looked to the gays in Cuba until Mariela Castro told his uncle Fidel that the gays can being Profitable and decided to be pro gay because after all the internacional Left was with the Gays so they have to simulate sympathy for the sexual minorities. But my little bother was in the concentration camps that Fidel and Che created were it was a sign at the entrance saying. El Trabajo los harás hombres (the work would make them a man). Adela probably supported all those policies little knowing that the dictatorship only was using her and in the end those ppl (and let me use a frase the regime used to say. Those people have NO place in our new society). Those people (The queers). were the only ones that would care in the end.

  • ‘Only the queer guy and his partner accompanied the casket….’
    WTF !!!
    Which century does the c*nt who wrote this article belong in?
    Apparently not the 21st……
    To the deluded and apparently homophobic individual who wrote this sh*tty little one-sided article, I would ask:
    Why be so totally disrespectful toward the life of a recently deceased lady.
    The individual who wrote this article may disagree with the deceased’s viewpoint, but why the complete disrespect?

    This article incorporates an absurd Stalinesque revisionism.
    Havana Times is great. Long may it continue.

    But disrespecting the dead in this filthy way??

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