Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. -

30 de Junio del 2000

TRIUMPHS OF THE REVOLUTION. By Rafael Contreras, Cuba Free Press.

Pinar del Rio.- Rosaura hated her mother fiercely. She always remembered those last words of her mother when she died, "It wasn't my fault, my daughter. I had to do it so I wouldn't die of hunger."

Rosaura grew up to become a woman remembering that her mother had been a prostitute. But she did not find out until some time after 1959, when Fidel Castro and his guerrillas triumphed. She was then just seven years old. Her mother soon thereafter started to work as a taxi driver. The Castro government had created a rehabilitation plan for the women who before 1959 had lived by practicing prostitution, although Rosaura did not then know about that plan.

Taxi jobs were created throughout the island. There were a lot of vehicles left by North American companies whose property was taken over by the revolutionary government of the guerillas.

Rosaura did not then know her mother had had an accursed occupation. Her mother took her to school in the same taxi she drove daily. The greatest thing in the world for Rosaura was her mother. She never knew her father. Rosaura's mother said she never wanted to waste time speaking about the child's father. For the time being that did not much affect the loving relation between mother and daughter and Rosaura kept growing.

The time of her high school education arrived and soon afterwards the misfortune. One afternoon as Rosaura was walking on the high school playground she heard the words that changed her life forever. She saw a boy seated on one of the playground benches surrounded by a group of other students who seemed very quiet until Rosaura was close.

"What's the use of passing herself off as proper? Her mother was a whore!"

Rosaura heard riotous laughter from the group around the boy. Then they were quiet again and looked at her, waiting for her reaction. Right there she realized that the phrase and the laughter were meant for her and her mother.

She rushed home that afternoon dying from uncertainty and shame. Only the truth from her mother could remove the shame and uncertainty. So she demanded the truth. At first her mother tried to hide the truth but Rosaura repeated her demand at the top of her voice. And Rosaura let loose a threat filled with rage and resentment, "Tell me the truth or I'll stop being your daughter! I'll go live with my aunt and you'll be dead for me!"

The greatest thing her mother had in the world was Rosaura. The threat broke down the walls of secrecy. Her mother told her everything. Rosaura had no doubts; she was convinced for good. That boy was right. Her mother had been a whore. When her mother finished telling her everything, she tried to hug her daughter. Rosaura avoided the caress with a gesture of disgust and turned her back. She was never the same again with her mother. She only spoke to her when necessary.

If she needed to know where something was kept she asked her mother in monosyllables, empty and spoken only out of necessity. Her mother tried reconciliation but over the years realized the effort was useless.

Rosaura wanted to cleanse the image of her lineage. She decided to join the tasks of the island's system with all her powers and effort. That was a clear way to be clean, to be loyal to the system. In that way everyone would forget the past and respect her. She became a militant among the youth and later among the adults in the party. She set an example! That is how stalwarts of the government in Cuba are described. Rosaura was an example of a revolutionary militant.

She left her mother thrown into oblivion for good. Rosaura married a revolutionary like herself, an exemplary man, a high-ranking state official. They had a daughter. The daughter of Rosaura became the greatest thing in the world for Rosaura.

Rosaura, her daughter and her husband were happy, but happiness is made of soap and floats weakly like a bubble. Destiny burst Rosaura's bubble. The exemplary husband fell in love with another woman and abandoned Rosaura.

The 90's came suddenly to the island. In Rosaura's home they no longer lived the same. The advantages of a house of a high-ranking official had been lost for good. The husband of Rosaura was no longer her husband. And he felt no obligation to send his former wife anything and sent only a meager allowance to his daughter, now a young student on the threshold of maturity.

One night Rosaura saw her daughter arriving home very late. She went to the girl's room and spoke of the fear she felt when her daughter took so long to come home. The two lived alone. The young woman barely spoke. She fixed her gaze on a picture of her dead grandmother next to her bed.

"Would you hate me the way you hated my grandmother, mama?" she asked.

The question shook Rosaura. It was the only question in her life that she never had thought about an answer for. She looked gently at her daughter, stroked her face and gave as her answer another question, "Why do you ask me that, my love? I could never hate you, my daughter."

The daughter looked her in the eyes. Rosaura thought she was seeing a look of revenge as if from her deceased mother. But the girl's words were the revenge.

"You are going to have to hate me the way you hated my grandmother, mama; I've been a street-walker for some time. You know what that is. I'm a whore."

Rosaura felt the ground spinning at her feet. She leaned against the wall so she wouldn't fall to the ground from the weight of the words. The girl left the room like a breeze that escapes, stealthily, without a noise. Rosaura looked at the picture of her dead mother. She heard the picture talking to her, "It wasn't my fault. I had to do it so I wouldn't die of hunger, mama."

Then she knew it was her daughter who had spoke, from the other end of the room. Rosaura didn't have time to hear any more. Her heart missed a beat in her chest. Something broke inside of her. She squeezed her arms against her heart with force, trying to keep down memories rising from within her.

But all she could remember was, "It wasn't my fault, my daughter. I had to do it so I wouldn't die of hunger."

Rafael Contreras, Cuba Free Press.

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