Puerto Rico and Cuba are the two wings of the same bird, wrote Puerto Rican poet Lola Rodríguez de Tió eons ago in a pean to the twin Caribbean islands.
We are mirror images of each other except that we are not.
Your star is on sangre roja. Ours on cielo azul. We are cojitditas de mano except that you took the Platt Amendments and we got la ley Foraker. Cuba walked la Revolución and we stayed with the patrón. You are decrepit and corrupto on the outside, while we are decrepit and corrupto on the inside, each with little oxygen flowing to the little people hasta no poder respirar.
We are el mismo pájaro that was killed with what looks like one stone in hard hands. Una piedra en manos duras. Lame-brained politicos too many to name and Tío Sam for us; Fidel, Ché and Kruschev for you.
Wendy Guerra writes in The New York Times, “What will become of us without that person who will think for us…” after Fidel?
In Puerto Rico a fiscal control board will do the thinking for 3.4 million people after a $72 billion economic botching mostly of little local caudillos’ making. Meanwhile, the big kahuna Donald Trump threatens to undo renewal of ties with Cuba in a move so retro it throws besitos at Fidel.
Tío Sam has arrived at Puerto Rico’s doorstep bearing gifts of austerity that threaten to shrink the island down to even smaller size, while the same Tío Sam dressed in different clothing is dreaming in Cuban of a new era of Batistismo so large a corporate stampede awaits, one that even the big kahuna’s little fingers cannot restrain.
Raúl is tempted but will the ghost of the gigante who was carried through the streets of La Habana in an itty bitty box allow it? In Puerto Rico the fiscal board already rejected the last flaccid budget by the governor who cut and ran.
What will life be like after Fidel? What will life be like under la junta? ¿Qué dicen los babalúes? What say the babalús?
We are the wings of el mismo pájaro, unable to take flight, to feel the wind beneath our wings. Volar, volar.
Here’s to the next 50 years.
˜˜Maria Padilla, Editor