sábado, 29 de diciembre de 2018

IN VISIBLE (LITTLE) CITY


3. Continuous Havana


Each year in the course of my travels I stop at Little Havana and take lodgings in the same room in the same Airbnb. Ever since the 2013 Cuban migratory reform, I have lingered to contemplate the downtown to be seen by raising the curtain at the window: the Metromover, a couple of drawbridges, the far-off silhouette of Freedom Tower, the palmetto trees, the baseball stadium, artificial flowers blooming in every lighting pole, a whole Kentucky Chicken county, the yellow cabs waiting for no one in particular in their parking piqueras, the white clouds and stretches of blue sky shaped like a continuation of Miami international airport. The first time I was convinced that every single detail was worthwhile to be seen. It was only during the following years that, by the force and facts of repetition, I could discern the boring, farce face of the future of Havana here in Little Havana. Year after year, there were more and more Havanan artists announced on the neon signs, standing in a row, with their hands on their heads and some sinister smile of success. Each year, as soon as I entered my room, I raised the curtain and counted new official artists invited from the Island: nineteen, of whom at least half were documented censors and repressors in Cuba; fifty-nine, including those scheduled in Hialeah and the Florida Keys; nineteen fifty-nine, besides those performing underground, probably without any U.S. visa at all. Contrary to Havana, Little Havana is all about open source and open borders. Both cities now tend to look alike, they seem equally political, they share similar shows, they forget and then they forget that they forget, commanded by the imperatives of the policy of commercial correctness (PCC). Last year I saw the whole Little Havana downtown filled with Havanan characters, competing as cruelly as in Cuba for a press headline to take back home and then boast there about their relevance abroad.


And so, as year followed year, I saw Little Havana become occupied by Havana, overcrowded with nobody has idea how many Havanans, hardly contained in a concentration camp of posters and profits, where entertainment and ethics emerge from the same extreme etymology. And the expected tendency for the next years is worse: following the cultural logic of demographic despotism, it will soon be impossible to call Little Havana “little” any longer. Havana will be by then a single duplicated city, without distinction at all between singularity and duplicity.


This year, in fact, as I raise the curtain, the window frames only an expanse of false faces: from one corner to the other, at all levels and all distances, those fearful, frightening, entirely emptied faces are seen, with the same hideous smiles and with hands grasping their own head. Even the sky has disappeared. Much more than dictatorships, democracy is about disappearance. I might as well be already invisible from outside this window for all those Havanans performing in peace their simulated spectacle of roles and rhetorics.


Not that it is easy for me to move. They may also be here with me in my own Airbnb. Nineteen, fifty-nine, nineteen fifty-nine of us lodged in the same old room, perhaps since the very beginning of the 2013 Cuban migratory reform. Our future belongs to those who force their farce into the farce of our future.


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