Rebeca Monzo, 22 April 2015 — I have a friend from the old days who has a big heart, but a mouth even bigger than that vital organ. We meet a bunch of years ago when I moved to this neighborhood, and we bonded over our noble sentiments towards our fellow humans, animals and nature — despite our great differences insofar as ideas about homeland and liberty.

A few days ago she sent me, via a mutual neighborhood acquaintance, an unexpected message: “Tell Rebeca that if this time she will not vote, I myself will go get her and drag her by the hair, kicking her in the….”

Gross error, I told the messenger. Above all, I do not accept, under any circumstances, threats from anyone — but even worse, that type of message is one that only she can give to me directly, if she respects herself — and even less do I accept vulgarities. Taking advantage of the fact that the intermediary is a member of my block’s Committee for the Defense of the Revolution, I made the following remarks to her:

“I went to the polls for the last time 30 years ago now. At that time, I would take the precaution of carrying a ballpoint pen hidden in my bodice to substitute the famous pencil, and that way be sure of being able to annul the ballot. Then one day I realized that to vote was a right and not a duty. From that point on, I exercised the right to not take part in these strange suffrages.

“Besides,” I continued, “on the day that one of those unknown candidates with a resume boasting harvests and internationalist missions, presents a credible plan against animal abuse, indiscriminate cutting down of trees, raising of wages, repair of streets and sidewalks, hygienic improvements to the city, daily garbage collection, cleanliness in hospitals and clinics, improvements to supplies and transportation, etc., then neither she nor anyone else will need to send me little messages to encourage me to visit the polls! I myself will go on my own two feet, transported by conviction and hope. Until this happens, my message to you, to her, and to the rest of society is and will be, ’Elections, for what?’”

*Translator’s Note: Likely a reference to Fidel’s “Armas para que?” (“Weapons…for What?“) speech, made shortly after the “Triumph of the Revolution” in January, 1959.

Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison

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