Carlos Blanco's A Time to Talk, released on January 13
"Uruguay's President told them what was obvious: a referendum to approve the government"
Dolores has not taken possession of the Presidential House at Turiamo, simply because of minor qualms: She does not want somebody to believe she controls more than what she really does. This is why she stays on the other side of the bay, where her gait is famous and her audacity has the impact of a hot coup d'état. She comes at a trot wearing a pair of very short pants that leave her precious legs exposed and dazzle because of her sexy sweating, while her heady behind maintains the pace of the trotting march of the Army gunners. Her wet t-shirt, stuck to her battling torso, reveals her rounded shoulders from where her beautiful arms, which look impeccable thanks to her practices of judo and shooting, descend and end in her potent hands with long and powerful fingers and pink, short, adolescent nails.
The Navy adores Dolores and there is not a single Admiral that does not surrender his fleet to her presence; they also admire her because she does not have any problem to spread around her opinion about Molero Bellavia, the Minister; this makes her more popular among the Navy. She always remembers that this Admiral was almost the last of his class and that his highest attainment has been his forced conversion to Chavezism a despicable act that was rewarded by an absent chief.
I see her approaching, wrapped in a sadness fog; and with good reason, given the situation of her always missed love that she says is lying on a bed in Havana. "Hugo had also preferred another death," she lets out as foreword to our encounter.
NEWS FROM THE EMPIRE. We approach to the Base Commander's vacation home, where a succulent "hervido de rabo" (tail soup), which, as a dialectic allusion, is offered to the exquisite comrade, is waiting for usit could not have been otherwise. She tells me about the meeting with Diosdado (Cabelllo). "You have not understood the nature of the game. You (the opposition) insist on looking for knots in a bulrush and have ended up promoting our military chief; who would have believed it¡ our own Raúl Castro." When I try to argue, she smiles and finishes her 25-year old Chivas with coconut water; when I look at the combination of aristocratic and plebeian fluids, she murmurs: "This is my little contribution to coarseness, which has its Kodak moments."
-You have been mistaken with Diosdado. He does not want to become President; he wants the power. He is where he wants to be. While Nicolás (Maduro) cannot move even a single finger, dismiss anybody or giver orders to anybody, Diosdado is, in fact, the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.
-I do not believe that thesis, I say. Nobody dislikes being president and Cabello's problem is that Cubans do not like him.
-Cubans adore, or used to adore, Hugo. And he adored them back. They did not give him any orders, but convinced him and he implacably complied with the agreements with them. With Nicolás, the thing is different: Raúl and Ramiro do not care whether the Vice-President is convinced or not, but they give him orders that he accepts because he has no other choice, he does not have any support at all. If he does not obey, then he would lack material and political existence. With Diosdado, things are different.
-Why? I ask; I know that the comrade will not stop talking or enjoying her agreeable drink.
-Look at what happened last Thursday, the famous 01/10. Without Nicolás knowing, Diosdado ordered the Air Force to fly the Russian Sukhois. When "the relentless (albeit broken down) paladins of the sovereign space," roared, Maduro's sudden fear and the smile of the pilots were a clear display of how balances are.
WHY DID HE NOT FIGHT? The comrade is now eating two "grilled" red snappers, as she loves to say, while I see her doing her gastronomic surgery, as perfect as her hands. Nobody would have thought that one of those fingers pulls triggers and sometimes even shot fire against a human being; she did not kill him, but made hierarchies clear, back then during the Caracazo protest times...
Diosdado, Dolores insists, is going to let Nicolás hug him as much as Nicolás wants, but he is set out to turn the National Assembly into a source of executive government and he will not relinquish the military command. Before, he had influence on officers; now, he is their superior. "Everything else is just poetry," she states without letting me know whether she is praising poetry or belittling its usefulness. "And he will not obey orders from any Cuban...he wants to get even, because, among other things, Maduro's closest circle refers to him with the code-name "el enano" (dwarf), which Cabello cannot stand.
-People of mine, she says, attended a meeting in which the short chief assured that he would not accept presidency without doing substantial changes.
-Such as? I ask.
-He would send Nicolás back to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and would appoint Jesse Chacón Vice-President.
THE RISK. I believe that Dolores has a critical mind, but that she is dazzled. What they have done is a disaster, I argue. Have you (Chávez's followers) realized that you have imposed a President that was not elected with even a single vote; that if you tell in any place that there is a country where a public servant, whose term has expired and has not been elected by the popular vote, has assumed as acting President, everybody would assume that this is a coup d'état? But she, with her Snow White witch's smile, tells me that the solution came from the South. Uruguay's President Pepe Mujica told them to do what was obvious: an approval referendum, for the sovereign people to confirm Cubans', Chávez', PSUV's and allies' orders. In that case, the issue of the temporary or permanent absence would be left behind, because the referendum would serve to approve the government just like it is constituted today, until conditions for a new presidential election which Maduro and Cabello, the co-rulers, should agree, existed. Therefore, the usurper, the usurper revolution, would receive, they believe, a mass baptism.
FAREWELL CITY. We said goodbye amidst a dismal atmosphere. The late cry of the comrade reappears. "This revolution is over since long time ago." Since when, I ask. "Since today's chiefs wear Vacheron Constantin watches that cost more than 3 million dollars... that they have received as gifts from their friends in exchange for their souls." "However, there is still a mystery about which I'm not going to talk today: it's about family..." Looking at my surprise, she goes on: "Hugo always believed that the only ones that would be loyal to him beyond his death were his relatives... He could not catapult his brother Adán, who was his inspirer and political leader for years; he had not time either to do the same with his descendants." She continues: "Don't you believe that the family's silence is too loud?
Translated by Álix Hernández
At first she agreed that I use her real name, that she had no problems with that at all. After all, living with HIV had driven her to help others – as a workshop facilitator giving talks and conducting seminars, or as a volunteer for local AIDS Service Organizations like Acción Solidaria (Solidary Action) and Mujeres Unidas por la Salud (Women United for Health, or Musa), a support group network for HIV-positive women. But when we were well into the interview, the realization that she might lose her private health insurance coverage made her change her mind.