What You Saved Yourself From Camilo!
What You Saved Yourself From Camilo! / Reinaldo Escobar
Posted on October 29, 2014
Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 31 October 2014 – For the first and last time,
I saw him from afar for a fraction of a second on 21 October 1959, the
day he passed through Camaguey to arrest Comandante Huber Matos. No one
understood anything, but the presence of Camilo in the midst of the
confusion gave us confidence that everything would be solved in the best
The details of the moment when his disappearance was reported (a week
later) has been erased from my memory, but I haven’t forgotten that
instant when they announced the false news that he had been found.
People on the streets brought out flags and pictures of the Virgin of
Charity. The joy was brief, but unforgettable.
How is it possible that in all these years, when not a single square
yard remains unexplored, that not a single vestige has appeared (…)?
For a long time I was convinced that he might appear at any moment. In
the years when I thought myself a poet, I even penned some verses
describing his return. All the times I flew between Camaguey and Havana,
every time I do it, I wondered what could be the reason for plunging
into the sea… how a Cessna, that never flies too high, could fall on a
site other than the island platform? How is it possible that in all
these years, when not a single square yard remains unexplored, that not
even one vestige has appeared, a part of an engine, the propeller, what
do I know…
If he had survived what happened and not been involved in another
similar incident, Camilo Cienfuegos would today be another octogenarian
at the summit of power. If he had not been sacked, imprisoned or shot,
he would be burdened today with the responsibility for a national
disaster. We would no longer be discussing if he was more popular than
the “other one,” but if he was as guilty.
Right now, as I write these lines, students are marching along the
Malecon with flowers, the people who work in offices are leaving earlier
than usual because they are going to throw flowers in the sea for
Camilo. A ritual now lacking the emotions of the first years, when those
who went to the shore to pay homage did so with tears in their eyes, and
without having to be summoned by the director of a workplace or the
principal of a school.
Death has immortalized among us his cheerful and popular image. If there
is something beyond, and from that place he is watching us, he must feel
happy to have disappeared in time. The death saved him from the
ignominy, and the probable temptation of corruption and the humiliation
of having been treated as a traitor and as an accomplice.
Source: What You Saved Yourself From Camilo! / Reinaldo Escobar |
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