In honor of all the media attention these days on a bankrupt totalitarian island, here’s an excerpt from “The Lieutenant of San Porfirio“.
One day Fidel had been walking down a dirt road not far from Havana when he had come across a goat, with the name Esteban scrawled on a sticker around its neck. Looking at his register of the farms adjacent to the road he saw that there was no reported goat among the meager possessions of the farmers. But the goat was beautiful, and since he was the fearless leader he knew he had the right to anything he saw in his path, especially unregistered goats. He went to pick up the goat, to carry it back to his 1950’s American made military jeep that he’d seized from the house of Batista, having watched the former dictator drive the car he really wanted – the fantastic limousine – into a tree beside the presidential mansion. To his dismay, as soon as he picked it up the goat had asked him, in an intelligent and thoughtful tone, “What in the name of all that is holy do you think you are doing, old man.” Not accustomed to being spoken to in this fashion, he dropped the goat back onto all fours.
Now the fearless leader was flustered. He couldn’t have his authority challenged by goats, especially beautiful unregistered goats he found along one of his roads. But the goat was so lovely, he couldn’t bring himself to harm him, and his tongue was so piquant that he was immediately enamored by the animal. So he decided to go about teaching the goat in the ways of revolution. He found that the goat was a willing and eager student. Every day, shirking affairs of state, he would drive out to the village and hold lessons for the goat about poverty, about fighting the empire, and about the evils done by capitalism. “I never knew,” the goat would say in awe, “about any of this. I was just a simple goat, going about my duties here in this village, following orders and eating grass. But now that I know, I will be a faithful follower and a willing mentor of other goats.”
And the goat went about converting the other goats in the area to the cause until Fidel had a revolutionary army of goats at his beck and call, ready for any imperial invasion or domestic conspiracy. And a strong and lasting love developed between Fidel and Esteban, a love that seemed to both natural and powerful – a true love that would stand the test of time.
I invite you to buy the series – if you believe Cuba will some day be free, and you long for that day: