Carlos Alberto Montaner, Madrid, 15 April 2023 — We went to see Jacuzzi, a play which premiered in Cuba. Our group was not at all majestic. It was four people: Linda (my wife), Gina (our daughter, also a journalist) and Rogelio Quintana, an illustrator and painter, who escaped from Cuba and has lived in Spain for more than 40 years.

It was a Tuesday night. The Teatro Lara was bursting at the seams. The actors, Yunior García Aguilera, who wrote the work and plays himself, Claudia Álvarez, who plays Susi, and Yadier Fernández, who plays Pepe. All three of them were magnificent. They are prodigiously “naturals”. So much so that they were met with an ovation and had to return to the stage three times.

Yunior is an idealist who wants to be a friend to revolutionaries and counterrevolutionaries, because he cannot accept the premise that any child ‘per se’ is opposed to the values of friendship and decency.  

It wasn’t a jacuzzi at all – just a simple bathtub or, as Cubans say, a “bañadera”, full of water and soap suds. Susi has worked abroad and saved enough money, which allowed her to buy a house in Cuba, “jacuzzi” included. (There is no doubt that Raúl has been better than Fidel in this regard, or at least less stupid.) Susi has returned triumphant from her blessed jobs. She  complains about the Revolution in concrete terms: how expensive “everything” is, and especially, that it is impossible to work to improve your quality of life, “except for daddy’s children”, who have everything going for them.

Pepe is the revolutionary, the child and grandchild of those who have defended the “process”, and accuses all the “gusanos” [‘worms’] of acting against them, but admits that the situation is exasperating as it inevitably deteriorates. Yunior is an idealist who wants to be a friend to revolutionaries and counterrevolutionaries, because he cannot accept the premise that any child ‘per se’ is opposed to the values of friendship and decency. He wants to be a free person and choose his friends beyond the narrowness imposed by the Revolution. However, it is Pepe who requests and constantly says, “let’s not talk about politics anymore.” It is a declaration imposed by the Revolution and that he allows without question.

There are two high points in Jacuzzi. One when Yunior tells Pepe that, despite the hogwash he must listen to when he defends the Revolution and the gratitude people are supposed to feel when they speak of the apparent “achievements”, Pepe is still his “best” friend. The chatter Pepe has learned by heart doesn’t matter. There is always and will always be a place in Yunior’s heart to admire his friend.

The second high point is when 40-year-old Yunior creates Archipiélago in Havana, along with Diana Prieto, his wife – a monologue apparently written outside of Cuba – and develops a strategy to get Cubans to demonstrate as if Cuba were a free country. It is not. The regime went to their modest home and organized an “act of repudiation”, in which their neighbors did not want to participate because to their neighbors they seemed like a couple of decent, hard-working, young people. And it is not to the point that he ended up exiled in Spain, betrayed by the very people who seemed to help him, accused of being a “CIA agent”, and plotting something unspeakable with Felipe González.

Welcome to the exclusive club of the “CIA agents”.  I hope that after so much trash talk  from the Castrist regime it has completely lost its effectiveness.

Welcome to the exclusive club of the “CIA agents”.  I hope that after so much trash talk  from the Castrist regime it has completely lost its effectiveness. Cuba is the only country in the world that gave the order in writing, in the 70s, before the Archipiélago generation had even been born, of breaking relationships with the Revolution’s “disaffected”. And the only society that dared to comply. Husbands and wives who never again heard from their spouses and partners. Children who never heard from their parents and vice versa. Brothers and friends who pretended not to see their relatives so they wouldn’t be associated with them.

At the height of machismo, the secret service spied between the legs of women of the higher ups to surprise them during their comings and goings and demand that they spy on their husbands or divorce them. The slogan was clear, “Never had a revolutionary leader been cheated on.”

I hope that Yunior García Aguilera realizes that the only favor State Security did for him was to expel him from the jail and the Island of Cuba. A dilemma presented itself to the regime: kill or exile Yunior García. It opted for the latter, but not before or simultaneously creating an atmosphere of suspicion. In exile, there is no doubt, creative freedom exists. Last Tuesday, Yunior proved it by stirring up the Cuban catharsis in a jacuzzi.