From Inside Cuba

Distributed by The Cuba Free Press Project.

Havana, September 11, 1997, Cuba Press.

MOSES: LATE CONFESSIONS. By Raul Rivero, Cuba Press, from his book Pruebas de Contacto.

Some 36 years ago, Moses went to his first and last war. He was a guard at some barracks near Central Australia during the Bay of Pigs Invasion in April, 1961. His weapon, an M-52 made in Chekoslovakia, returned a virgin. The barrel covered by oil and salt, and the bayonet rusty and dry.

Moses was a Jehova's Witness and he had only read one book in his life -- The Bible. His friends and many others in the small town in Matanzas where he lived, were surprised that the man had joined the militias. This Moses was never taken from a river. He lives with his wife, Miriam. She is the witness to many of Moses' confessions next to the well by their home.

By 1961, I was taking care of sheep and felt a foreigner in a foreign land. One day, I saw God before my eyes, and my staff turned into a serpent. Words didn't come easy to me, and I was very shy and introverted. That's why I never became an efficient Jehova's Witness. Conversion to socialism was traumatizing, like the scene of death from which I've never recovered. What makes some see, while others are blind or deaf? When I returned from the Bay of Pigs, I was delirious, I said that those who sought my death were now dead. They put me on a psychiatric treatment which only worsened me. I would be talking about plagues all the time.... of the time when the plague turned the waters of the Nile into blood.

Miriam by now had brought in a few cups of coffee and a pause to her husband's monologue. Moses seems trapped in a web Biblical passages and his rough life as a retiree. The fight at the Bay of Pigs seems to follow him, and the mortar and noise of the planes seem to frighten him in the dead nights of a Havana neighborhood.

How is your life now, Moses?

My life now? I wish I had died back in 1961. I miss the days in which I would sit by the stove and eat lots of bread, so much. You can't possibly now how I feel in this desert. With these camels and these starving people. In the desert, the people would say: "How we long for the fish that we ate in Egypt, and the cucumbers, the melons, viands, onion and garlic! Here, however, we do not have the zest for life!

From his book Pruebas de Contacto, by Raul Rivero, Cuba Press.

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