Monotony of May 1st in Havana Broken by Grafitti

Vicente Morin Aguado

Volunteers try to erase the graffiti.

HAVANA TIMES — Long live the Dictatorship!, somebody dared to write hundreds of meters away from Revolution Square, on the wall of a building which belongs to Havana University, near the Calixto Garcia Hospital. Encouraging the already steady flow of people here, a wide transport road serves as an escape route for some of the parade goers who come from the famous plaza of a million Cubans.

This piece of grafitti, unique in what it said, saw the break of dawn on May 1st, a clear nod to daring painters who stand up to the false unanimity which clouds our everyday. They chose the site for their words well, as it is a busy place but uninhabited at the same time. Only inevitable passers-by made the police get hot under their collars, as they tried to stop so many mobile phones from taking photos.

Marcos (not his real name because disclosing his real one would be impossible), tells me: “They were definitely original this time, instead of writing down with, they wrote Long live! because this (dictatorship?) is here to stay. To top things off, it was written in big, red letters. People are becoming bolder, the days of applause without a response are over.”

Policemen in uniform go from issuing threats to taking action, arresting some people and taking so-called cellphones from various people. According to the government’s unconfessed concept, their orders are to prevent the embarrassment these dissident opinions written in everyone’s plain sight cause, which can break the State/Party’s usual information monopoly.

Finally, the young man, who has just spent a night looking after a patient at the Hospital’s Guard Building, gets his video, not without risking losing his expensive device and spending some unpleasant hours in God knows what police station. A guard tries to stop him in fraganti but the man pretends he doesn’t understand, quickens his pace and manages to lose himself among the crowd of curious passers-by. There are too many “photographers” for so few repressors.

They have just formed a small brigade of volunteers, equipped with coarse pieces of cloth which they dampen with dark colored paint. In their attempt to wipe out their embarrassment, they leave the words “Long Live” to last, focusing on the longer one, of course, not because it has the most letters but because some daring people stamped this uneasy name like a disturbing sound which can break the forced silence, imposed by slogans.

They will say that there were only a few, a “small group” of unappreciative individuals, but the worse thing is that they painted wholeheartedly, the small anti-painters squad will need a replacement to do away with the obstinate red which wants to persist until it sees the burial of those who invented something more than the dreaded word “dictatorship”.

Vicente Morin Aguado:  [email protected]

4 thoughts on “Monotony of May 1st in Havana Broken by Grafitti

  • As usual Kennedy Earle Clarke is supporting one party dictatorship. He is kidding no one by prating that: “Elections are held in Cuba.” So Cubans can go to the polls and vote for the Communist candidates. I had not previously understood that in two years (January 1959 – 1961) that Cuba went from being 70% illiterate to being 100% literate) -but that is Kennedy Earle Clarke’s claim.
    He also says that there can never be any comparison between one Cuban dictator and another. Well there has been plenty of comparison expressed by Cubans and also by contributors to these pages.
    But Kennedy Earle Clarke also states in his ignorance that the definition of Dictator has changed in the dictionary! What nonsense. The dictionary definition is and remains:

    dictator (noun)
    a ruler with total power over a country typically one who has obtained power by force.
    a person who tells people what to do in an autocratic way.

    Even Kennedy Earle Clarke sitting comfortably in his island retreat cannot deny that Fidel Castro – and his little brother Raul, obtained power by force. Secondly, surely Kennedy Earle Clarke would not deny Fidel and Raul their success in obtaining total power over Cuba. Thirdly, he cannot possibly deny that Fidel and Raul both acted in an autocratic manner. Fidel appointed Raul as his successor as President (he already headed the military) and Raul appointed Diaz-Canel Bermudez to be his successor as President almost five years ago. The Communist party faithful then rubber stamped that appointment by voting -without a single dissent and without any other candidate, on April 18th, 2018, with the announcement being made on April 19th.
    It takes either a high degree of gall or willfully blind ignorance to deny that each of the Castro brothers has been a dictator (and Raul behind the scenes still is).

  • Saudí Arabia and many of the other countries that you named are monarchies. Despite the pretense you call elections, Fidel and, subsequently, Raul retained absolute control of Cuba with no legally permitted opposition. To say otherwise reflects poorly on either your intelligence or your honesty.

  • Elections are held in Cuba. The inhabitants of the country were 70% ILLITERATE before the 1959 REVOLUTION. Cuba is now ILLITERATE FREE from 1961. Dictators do not educate their people. They keep them in total Ignorance, degraded, oppressed,exploited, living in SQUALOUR! In Jordon, in Saudi Arabia, in Bahrain, in the Arab Emirates, in Omar, in Kuwait, in Dubai, there are no ELECTIONS held, but these Rulers of the Middle East have never been referred to as DICTATORS! It seems as if it is only Leaders who work in the interest of the WORKING CLASS PEOPLES of the world, who bring dignity to their people, who stop the exploitation of their people and the rape of their natural resources by the exploitative capitalist class of the Planet are referred to as DICTATORS. There can never be any comparison between Fulgencio Batista and Fidel Castro. Who is the real Dictator? It seems as if the DEFINITION in the DICTIONARY has to be changed. What a CRUEL and HYPOCRITICAL WORLD we live in, where the goal posts as in soccer are always moved to accomodate our whims and fancies? Is it any WONDER that our YOUTHS are so UNCONTROLLABLE? There is no CONCRETE DEFINITION of RIGHT or WRONG anymore. It is only our TKINKING and the NECESSITY of the situation which makes RIGHT, WRONG and WRONG to be RIGHT! What a HYPOCRITICAL WORLD WE LIVE IN?

  • “El Comandante” Fidel’s personal and thus the Communist Party of Cuba’s favoured nomenclature for him as Dictator is now dead. But that difference is critical to the regime in their ever increasing promotion of the cult of the personality.
    Dictionary definitions are:
    Comandante: commanding officer
    Dictador: dictator
    Commander: person in authority especially over a body of troops
    Dictator: a ruler with total power over a country
    Nobody in Cuba would have dared from 1959 until 2008 that Fidel Castro held total control over Cuba and from 2008 until now, nobody would dispute that Raul Castro held similar control – for three or four years following Raul’s appointment as President by Fidel, Cubans generally believed that Fidel was still in control and pulling Raul’s strings.
    A similar confusion now exists with international observers, some of whom think that Diaz-Canel Bermudez is in charge. But Raul as First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba still holds control as the PCC takes precedence over the State in Cuba.
    So the graffiti artists were in fact referring to Raul Castro Ruz in their praise of the Dictador.

Comments are closed.