The other night, whilst watching Alejandro Brugués’s Cuban comedy, “Juan of the Dead,” I started. Scenes of the protagonists fighting against the zombified hoards hounding them through the streets of Havana reminded me of other scenes at the recent Panama Summit. Here, my Sakharov prizewinner friends, Guillermo Fariñas, Berta Soler or Rosa María Payá, saw themselves in an unequal struggle against the usual thugs that the Castro dictatorship sends wherever they can sweep up dissidents. News reports euphemistically spoke of “confrontation between Cubans who were in favor of Castro and those against,” as if they were equivalents. In other words, in Brugués’s film it was Cubans fighting that were in favor of and against becoming zombies.

However, the dissidents weren’t welcome at the celebration of amorous reconciliation between the U.S. government and the Castro regime. They spoiled the general rejoicing over this new step, which is opening very lucrative economic opportunities, although I fear that the main beneficiaries won’t be those struggling to get by on the island; hopefully something will reach them, I wish it from the depths of my heart. Raúl Castro promised that in this respect (concerning the dictatorship) everything could be discussed, “including human rights,” although with patience, much patience. The same thing happened — us elders, who are so discredited today, still remember it — when, in 1959, President Eisenhower came to Madrid to give his democratic support to Franco. The era of good business started for some and the daily life of the zombies gradually improved, but the prisons remained full, democracy forbidden, and there was one firing squad instead of another, although only 15 years remained. Patience ….

Now, it appears that the Pope will be visiting Cuba — as long as he doesn’t put Fidel under a papal canopy ….

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