Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Photo: Lía Villares
Everyone has their sillinesses, their addictions, their moments of relaxation. There are those who watch three soap operas simultaneously, others spend a great part of the day with their ears glued to the phone, and many--they tell me--would give an arm and a leg to be connected to the Internet twenty-four-seven; the latter suffer from an illness called “geographic misfortune.”  For my part, I don’t like soap operas, I have no time to talk on the phone, and of course, even if I wanted to, the Internet is a kind of platonic and impossible love I’ve longed for, for many years. I plan my Sundays punctiliously. As my mother says, “rain or shine” at half past nine in the evening I plop myself in front of the TV to watch the one series that interests me: CSI at the scene of the crime. It’s all the same to me if it’s in New York or Las Vegas, I’m an indisputable fan.

Last Sunday, five minutes late and remorseful for having missed the opening scene, I turned on the screen. I love it all: the music, the script, the characters and the technology they use. Can you imagine my face--it’s a shame I was alone--when instead of hearing the theme music by U2 that opens each episode, along with fast-paced editing, I find some sepia images and a Cuban cop, billy club and all, on the screen? At the same time, on the same channel, they decided to substitute for CSI a program called “In the footsteps,” a pathetic series produced by the Ministry of the Interior, all rights reserved and everything.

Beyond disappointing all the viewers--because the difference in quality between the two programs would be, lets say, the same as that between Playita 16, a rough little stretch of sand, rocks and concrete along the waterfront here in Havana, and the world-class beaches of the resorts of Varadero--they must be unaware of their own limitations.  Perhaps some standard-bearer could offer a phrase from Jose Marti: “Our wine is bitter but it’s our wine.” (I’d like to offer a joke, “Our wine is bitter, they must import it.”) But humility is also an exercise of intelligence and, obviously, is one of the virtues lacking at the Interior Ministry.

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