A Revolution That Is

I was a sickly young pup, so on the night of the last day of 59’, while all were out celebrating, I lay in bed. Another celebratory gunshot rang out in the distance, violently tearing me from the gratifying dreamland I so desperately craved. Lights filtered in through the blinds and began to dance on the wall opposite of me. A crowd, thirty feet below my apartment’s window started to cheer and yell. Their voices swelled and grew until my own thoughts felt small and miniscule compared to the clammer that ensued outside. With a groan I rolled onto my stomach and peaked outside the bedroom window. Castro had arrived, that much was certain, but the multitude had long since engulfed him. A figure worked himself through the crowd, creating rivets and disturbances that disappeared as soon as they were created. I could see him claw himself to the top of the car carrying a megaphone. He was immediately recognized, and the people erupted. The distant, bearded figure did not hesitate to begin a passionate, animated speech (the likes of which I could not hear). With every fling of the arms and rise in tone the crowd would ecstatically fling their own arms and raise their own voice. So it appeared as if both followed each other in an innocent game of Simon Says. The pattern continued through the night and into the morning.

I spent most of my teenage years lying in bed in my parent’s apartment. The building was located in the center of Havana, and from my bedroom window I sometimes felt as though I could see history unfold below me. The revolution brought upon me no immediate change, people were simply happier. For a few weeks, everyone on the street seemed to walk with a skip in their step. People greeted strangers as though they were good friends. Then, on the 17th of March in 1960, the Bay of Pigs Invasion occurred. I received the entire story through our family's little transistor radio (which other than the window was my only real connection to the outside world). Following the failed invasion, the government of Cuba nationalized all property held by religious organizations, and declared that Cuba was to be an atheist nation. My mother was a devout Catholic, so the repercussions of this law were felt heavily in our household. I began to lose respect for the revolution and its leaders, for which I been previously unbiased.

The final straw for me, however, concerned a law that was passed shortly after Cuba nationalized religious property. I was lying in my bed on a morning just like any other when a radio announcer interrupted my thoughts. The government had banned all private education, effective immediately. Unable to attend a public school due to my condition, for years my mother and father had worked long days and nights to pay for a private tutor. With the illegalization of private schooling, I would now be forced to forgo any hope that existed for my future. In my sick condition, a strong education was the only way I believed I could make it anywhere in life. The banning of private education forced me to make some very critical decisions at a relatively young age. If I were to succeed my parents, if all of the money my dear old Mom and Dad had poured into my health and education were to create something, I was going to have to break some rules.

Thankfully, my private tutor was even more willing than I was to oppose this new regime, so we devised a plan. The “Informant Committees for the Defense of the Revolution” (or CDRs) had recently been formed by Castro and his colleagues. The CDRs were tasked with keeping a record of every neighborhood’s inhabitants. In order to avoid being detected by a CDR, the tutor was to disguise himself as our butler. A rather ridiculous concept, seeing as we were a middle class family living in a four room apartment. But we hoped the CDRs would overlook it as we lived in a relatively rich neighborhood.The plan worked for two full years, until one night they broke into our house for a surprise search during a arithmetic session. Both my parents and the tutor were sent to jail. Where, as I have been told, they have all died.
So now I lay, a sickly old man in a hospital bed. Waiting, as I always have, to be rid of this terrible country. A country that, in the name of freedom and equality, has taken all that I once held dear. A country that waits, patiently and not so patiently, for another revolution. A country that is too quick to forget its history and its heritage.





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