Saturday, November 22, 2008

The "cursed" matter of money

Photo: Lia Villares

Reinaldo Escobar wrote an excellent article, "The bones of money," where, among other things, he mentions the fortune that Castro received from all kinds of sources to make his revolution. However, every time we talk about dissidents, independent journalists, or political parties in Cuba, money never fails to stick in the throat like a damn fish bone. Why?
It makes no difference to me if they send them money or not, I even believe they should get more: to make banners, to put up more posters, to be able to create a clandestine network layered with anti-Castro signs, to set up a traveling press, to create local dissident intranet radio stations, to bribe security oficials and get them to change sides, to print 11 millon copies of the Vaerla Project, in short, in order to do what’s happening.
What I am curious about, for example, is the salary of Randy, I love to know how much they pay him for facing the consequences in such a brutal way. How much did Taladrid earn the week devoted to speaking live and in person on Absurd Table about the private correspondence of Marta Beatriz Roque?
I wonder that people, including many of my friends whom I consider intelligent and capable, with very coherent political ideas, make such a face when it comes to the money of the opposition. Wouldn’t it be better to ask ourselves how much they pay the guy who took a photo of Marta’s refrigerator, or those who have 24 hour a day Internet access at home so they can sabotage the resistence on the web, or those who listen in on the other ends of our telephones? Why do the the television national news journalists have cars, cell phones, houses, where does all that come from? Why do they pay them so well and the rest of us so badly? Why does Eusebio Leal have antique shops in Europe and, incidently, who made him Mr. Fuedal Lord-in-Chief of Old Havana?
I remember once, because of some international scandal about the bank account of el Comandante, that we had to endure several days of Absurd Table, where they explained in detail the precarious economic situation of Castro. The popular joke was that we should collect a dollar per person and give him the money… and even so we’re preoccupied with the money those on our side have. It seems incredible.

Translator’s notes:
Reinaldo Escobar is an independent Cuban journalist.
The Varela Project is a citizen’s petition to the Cuban government to enact democratic political reforms.
Randy Alonso is director and host of the television talk show “Mesa Redonda” (Roundtable). “Absurd Table” is a play on words.
Marta Beatriz Roque is a Cuban economist and political dissident.
Reinaldo Taladrid is a government-employed Cuban journalist.
Eusebio Leal is the Havana City Historian and holds a large number of political and culutral posts, including Deputy to the National Assembly.

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