Saturday, November 26, 2016

Finally, he's dead!

It had to happen, after all, the old Celt was in his ninth decade, and yet, it was still somewhat of a surprise when the announcement came that the world's longest reigning dictator, Fidel Castro Ruz was dead.

Those Celtic people from Iberia's northern mountains last a long time, and Castro's generation was a particularly long-lived ones. "Estan hechos de hierro [They're made of iron]", my mother used to say.

But he's dead, and it sounds like he died in his sleep, or otherwise peacefully, unlike the tens of thousands of Cubans under his boot who died in pain, or under torture, or drowning, or against a firing-squad wall, or while being lobotomized... all because of him, via him, through him, as a result of him... him, him, him.

"El Caballo" was one lucky Celt - he escaped multiple attempts on his life; all while millions of his countrymen also escaped the hell that he made his island into.

After Fidel died, his spirit, as all do, arrived at the Pearly Gates. He stretched his tall frame and started walking towards the gate. To his relief, he noted that they were open. He also noted a tall, bald man standing outside the gates.

"I've been waiting for you," the man said in Spanish... clearly Cuban Spanish from Oriente province.

"Campello?," said Castro, recognizing the man, after all, they once spent many months together in the Sierra Maetra, "Why are you here, outside the Gates?"

My father comes a little closer to Fidel, who is still a little unsure of himself, probably for the first time in his life... ah afterlife. "As I said," repeats my father, "I've been waiting for you." He also stretches himself and he's just as tall as Castro.

Two tall Galicians facing each other.

Castro begins to speak when my father's fist smashes into his mouth, and the meaty part of Castro's inner lip shreds into his teeth. He stumbles backwards, spitting blood and teeth; his inner lip is wedged between his front teeth, making it hard to speak. He looks back, fear in his veins, looking for an escape venue. He then notices that there is a black hole nearby, and that rancid smoke and screams of pain come from within it.

Even Castro knows where that leads - after all, he studied in his youth at exclusive Jesuit schools. A privileged part of his upbringing from the upper class landed gentry of Cuba's Galician blue blood society.

He turns to my father as another fist smashes into his perfectly Aquiline nose; a Roman nose like the ancient statues. It makes a crunching sound, the bone shatters and blood begins to pump out of the nose, joining the blood from his mouth.

This is pain like Castro has never felt before. Suddenly his mind is flooded with thousands of memories of broken noses and broken teeth; all the memories of the Cubans that his henchmen tortured and killed over the decades.

He stumbles a little, trying to avoid my father and at the same time trying to avoid the black hole. He thinks that he hears a melee of voices coming from the hole - they call his name.

His first name, like Cubans once called him.

He cannot defend himself; he was always a coward. Even in the attack against the Moncada on that 26th of July long ago, he was the first to run and only one of a handful who got away. When he was finally caught, the black Cuban Army Lieutenant who captured him, recognized Castro and protected him, as that Lieutenant had once known Castro as children. It saved Fidel's life.

How did Castro repay this honorable man? He was one of the first Cubans executed in 1959. It was clear that Fidel was too embarrassed by his cowardly behavior to leave that man as a witness to it.

He's gotta talk his way out of this, but his lip is still caught and jammed between his front teeth, and his stammers and lisps. The lisp brings to mind the thousands of maricones that he sent to concentration camps for the crime of being gay. Many were accused of being gay simply because of speaking with a lisp, a gruesome logic if one side is armed with guns and power.

"Work Will Make Men Out of You" said the sign to the entrance to the concentration camp for gays and lesbians.

The next fist strikes him on the forehead and he stumbles and falls backwards. Now he feels the heat coming out of the black hole and the voices calling his name grow louder. The soundings inside his injured head is augmented with the images of the tens of thousands of gay men that he ordered "cured" via lobotomies.

He screams in terror and the thin strand of lip meat that has been wedged between his front teeth finally snaps and he's free to beg for mercy, but the blood is now pouring really fast into his throat and lungs, and he gasps for air.

My father's next punch strikes at his throat, and the Comandante begins to choke. Now his brain is filled with the over 60,000 Cubans who drowned at sea while attempting to escape from Cuba. He's drowning in blood and cannot understand how one can die twice.

One can't.

My father looks at him, and whispers the accusation that only Cubans who fought against Batista on the streets of Havana and Santiago and Guantanamo and many other Cuban cities know. Cubans who fought in the mountains of the Sierra Maestra and the Escambray; Cubans who risked their lives, and their families' lives to fight against a bloody tyrant, only to have that tyranny replaced with one a million times worse.

"Traidor", my father whispers as he kicks Castro down the black hole into the waiting hands who want to tear, the waiting teeth who want to bite, the waiting flames, which wait to burn.

There is no scream on the way down.

My father turns and slowly walks through the Gates... he's been waiting for Fidel, and now his wait is over.

"Un hombre puede ser traidor, pero un pueblo... jamas!"