By Martin Guevara
HAVANA TIMES — Cuba has entered a new and encouraging stage in the building of a new kind of socialism, a system notably different from that “real socialism” it once tried to force into the relaxed and festive Caribbean spirit of Cubans.
What will the Party’s Central Committee do to change the whole range of tastes that are deeply rooted in the revolutionary, austere and nearly ascetic spirit they claim took hold of Cubans’ collective desires after the revolution?
For more than half a century, Cubans looked down at the vice-ridden ways and customs of the capitalist world with contempt. As such, rather than endure their situation, they were happy with only one pair of shoes, a stoic jar of water in their fridges, a sunk mattress impaled by springs and having to co-exist with mosquitos and cockroaches instead of employing an environmentally unfriendly bug repellent.
It is therefore important to forewarn visitors and hapless tourists, those who are unaware of the aesthetic parameters and the heights of sacrifice of the Cuban people, such that they do not confuse the pastel-colored ruins, the drunk vagrants, the minimalist fashion, footwear and lifestyles, with any kind of problems, so that they understand this is a sovereign and thought-out decision by the people of Havana, who would rather see their once intense and photogenic city collapse than witness its development into a comfortable place.
That is where the authentic nature of Cubans lies. Cubans prefer to spend the night in the aged and dilapidated tenements of Havana (known as solares), where, in the form of an identity trait, there is no electricity, no water and no shortage of families.
Because of their adventurous spirits, Cubans enjoy every minute of uncertainty as to whether their roofs will collapse on top of them, something that happens every month in the said tenements.
What’s more, Cubans truly feel consolation, joy, pleasure, even happiness, to know that foreign visitors are resting at a hotel with all of the comforts they could never afford (which they of course also don’t want). Cubans are happy to know their sisters, aunts and even wives leave their homes at night to become the delicacies of foreign visitors, so that they may return to their country with a comprehensive and complete experience of the island.
Cubans hate lobster, all kinds of seafood, good fish, tasty sauces, rum and quality cigars. Of course, they can’t even see beef in pictures and the sight of a juicy steak can sometimes give them a heart attack. Cubans simply hate meat.
Instead, they love that amorphous and pungent mass people call “goose paste,” the revolutionary alternative to perverse bourgeois pleasures advanced by the Comandante, our bearded spiritual leader. Cubans are thrilled by weevil-infested rice, coffee made out of roasted chick-peas, and pizzas with melted condoms for cheese. Cubans are happy as long as they can see foreign visitors (those who enjoy their sisters at night) ingesting all of those taste-filled things that are the enemies of the proletariat, those things many people long to have.
And another thing: Cubans love bicycles, single-speed bicycles preferably, and what they enjoy most is pedaling under the summer’s most intense sun, to go in search of a head of garlic, a handful of nuts and bolts or a can of paint stolen from a State shelf at the other end of the city.
They love waiting for public transportation for hours. It’s not that the system doesn’t work well, Cubans love standing in line and wrestling with others, getting home late and exhausted…and with an empty stomach.
As long as they see foreign visitors traveling comfortably in their rentals and perfect, air-conditioned buses, eating well, drinking the best of the best, having fun with their wives or sisters, bathing at the best beaches, enjoying a game of golf, going scuba-diving, yachting about, then Cubans are happy and feel realized as revolutionaries.
What evil plot could the government now have in store for the people, so that they will begrudgingly give up such delicacies as “goose pate” and weevil-infested rice?
I only beg of them, on behalf of the people of Cuba: let it be anything but the imperialist imposition of lobster and ham!