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La Sangre de La Revolution MAG
The streets of modern Habana, Cuba look no different from its parents’.
Cigars held between lips that fought back with words. Dominoes click-and-clacking on the wooden table until there was nothing else to give. The harmonious sound of the tocadores beating the surface of the skin drum with the same hands that cut cane out on the fields.
I was there for my “coming of age,” and I had never felt more at home than when the cool salty wind of the Caribbean tickled my skin. It was the same wind that turned into a hurricane, trying to pry my roots from the soil, the ones planted in an irreversible history. I was surrounded by the things I knew, things I’d only grown to know: my quinceañera dress in the wind as time circled by, the gold embroidery permanently etched into my memory. The memories of mi padre’s soft hands tucking me into bed, murmuring words I thought were a fairytale. The story of how I came to be, which started with Habia una vez …
It was the year 1955, the Revolution was a newborn baby. Whispers still carried through the wind and made the trees dance a rhythm of death. The high mountain village of Escambray was in a realm of ecstasy, where mis abuelos lived. The sun rose like a nearby neighbor, birds began to drawl, and the beautiful symphony of the waterfall was a killer siren. The smell of Cuban coffee emanated from los campesinos, seeping into the wood of the house and turning it a toxic color. Mis abuelos, Adolfo y Miguelina, pried their eyes open to make sure they weren’t dead. Last night, soldiers came knocking at Adolfo’s door, asking for a place to rest their poor, oversized heads. Adolfo slammed the door in their face, as if denying them the stairway to Heaven.
The soldiers came marching, their ant sized legs made a booming cry as they pounded the ground, wrapping las montañas in a furious hug. The snapping of twigs was the last sound the villagers heard before entering the hideous underworld.
Miguelina was cooking aroz con frijoles, when they dragged her by the hair and pulled her out of her womanhood. Adolfo’s proud and cocky personality kicked in; he started to run toward the soldiers, but the gun did most of the talking as he tried to shield his sons. They dragged him out, detaching him from the only sense of reality he could comprehend.
Adolfo’s fellow compadres knelt, facing the Marxist soldier. Some villagers fought with the fists of the Devil, but they didn’t know they would be dancing a tango with him soon. The soldier kicked the back of Viva’s knee, making him eat the very dirt that he farmed. The silver from the soldier’s blade reflected the life he yielded; he didn’t hesitate to make the final cut. Between the vocal cords and chin, that’s where he hit. Decapitating him from his memories, removing him from the body that expressed affection and the arms that held his loved ones. Dozens of shots rang out.
They loaded the villagers in camiones, bound together in chains. They were the rebels, an imperfection in society that had to be extinguished. They were sent to prison, divided by gender. Adolfo y Miguelina were still bound together by hope. Hundreds of miles apart, they still looked at the same night sky and saw each other within the stars.
“Te amo mi corazon,” Miguelina kissed the sky; she let the wind carry her kiss to Adolfo’s lips.
They tied the prisoners up, blindfolded and turned their backs. Lined up like militia soldiers. Then, they shot. Amongst the wall lies a part of them, forever in the crevasses of the cement. Gladly, neither of mis abuelos were the chosen ones.
Mi padre was born in a prison cell. He was the new edition to the rebel alliance, a new terrorist the guards had to look out for.
You could hear the roaring of a Santeria woman, speaking an ancient language that native Cubans thought of as brujeria, or witchcraft. She called upon Ochosi, the Lord of Justice. Her head became distorted and transformed into a raven, she grew long claws and an extended beak. She held one of her baby ravens; takeing a bite of its throat, she feeds it to the other.
Adolfo y Miguelina stopped living behind bars, but it seemed mi padre, Bienvenido, never escaped. He was followed by soldiers, was put onto this path by the members of the Revolution. He couldn’t leave his home; he was a son of a rebel and that’s all he was ever going to become. Kicking a ball among his school team was prohibited. An umbilical cord attached him to the land, but that same cord made it hard to speak.
While struggling with his shackles, he met a nightingale who bore his first bird, Meylin. Then, the nightingale flew away, with an “A” scratched onto her chest. He met an angel, mi madre, Gricelia. She bore me, a dark angel, in 2002, among the ashes. In 2004, Adolfo spoke up again. The government was full of thorns and we were the trabajadores who were getting poked. Fidel, the power-hungry animal, could lick his shoes. The word spread like an epidemic. Then, the soldiers came marching by once more and, banished us.
We flew like a kite to what I hoped was a brighter sky.
I still lay paralyzed amid the bed sheets, letting the blood of the Revolution flow through my veins. Thinking about their starry eyes, the dimming light, unsure what the future would hold. But, I am the proof.
I always thought that a phoenix was hiding in the caves, waiting to come out and be seen. Bless Cuba with its good graces, showing humanity can be saved. They are still forced to praise a mass murderer. It has become the story of my people, but it’s the story the world doesn’t want to hear.
My roots run deep, digging into the dry ground until the soil sprouts rosas of tranquility.
La Revolution siempre va a vivir, pero las mariposas no, eso es el precio que pagamos. The Revolution is always going to live, but the butterflies don’t – that’s the price we pay.