No need to be offensive, caballero!

Nestor Miguel Gorojovsky nestor at
Wed Sep 22 02:53:05 MDT 1999

El 21 Sep 99 a las 23:11, Jose G. Perez nos dice(n):

> The third thing that struck me is how relentlessly
> apolitical the film's presentation was. "Relentlessly
> apolitical" may seem like a funny term and perhaps you'd
> have to be Cuban to understand. But politics permeates the
> soul of everyone raised in  Cuba, and even many of us who
> hadn't finished growing up when we left. It's part of the
> national character.

Perhaps an anecdote may be instructive. I have never been
to Cuba as yet, but many friends of mine have. Among them
Carlos Garcia Blaya, who suffers from pigmentarian
retinitis, and who went there to be cured (which the
excellent Cuban doctors certainly did to a degree nowhere
else could have been done!).

So, Carlos was no "political tourist", he was just another
bourgeois or affluent petty bourgeois from Latin America
who went to Havanna in order to get the health services
that capitalism does not offer. He is sympathetic with the
Revolution, anyway, so that the anecdote is full of colour.

He was strolling along Havanna once, with his brother, who
had gone to Cuba with him as a companion. They found,
suddenly, some young teen-agers playing baseball in a vacant lot,
and stood there watching.

Now, a short comment: one of the things that many
people tell from Havanna is that many Cubans approach
tourists to see if they can get something from them: some
garment, a few dollars, something. It is not beggardy, just
a way to get something from people who are obviously better
off than them.

One of the kids, the second base, perceived that Carlos and
his brother were watching the game. He approached them and
told them that they would not play for free, that they (he,
in fact) wanted to be paid $ 5 for the show. Then, Carlos
smilingly told to his brother: "Hah, here we have a
capitalist second base!".  And the kid got really angry, he
looked at Carlos sternly and said  "There is no need to be
offensive, caballero!" (when Cubans say "caballero" it is a
sign that they are actually angry, I have been told). And
he returned to the game.

Politically minded, indeed.


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