Party In A Whisper: The End Of The Year To Come / 14ymedio, Marcelo
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 15 December 2016 — Celebrations
postponed, revelry suspended and a call not to party in the street, is
the reality for Cubans at this year’s end. The sobriety for the death of
former President Fidel Castro has spread to television programming and
the popular comedy show, “Living to Tell the Tale,” with the lead
character Pánfilo, has not been broadcast for three weeks.
“We have received a circular with details on what can be broadcast and
what cannot,” a specialist from the Cuban Institute of Radio and
Television (ICRT) who preferred anonymity told 14ymedio. “The directions
are clear: everything that is programmed has to be analyzed very
carefully so as not to fall into frivolities,” he says.
Throughout the country, all the centers with cultural programming have
held meetings to direct their workers to show austerity and moderation,
but the calls to avoid celebrations extend beyond facilities for shows,
concerts and movies.
Vivian, 42, works as a nurse in a polyclinic in the city of Santiago de
Cuba. She explains that in a meeting she was in last week, they were
ordered not to hold the gift exchange the medical staff had organized
for the last week of December. “I already bought everything,” she said.
Pedry Roxana Rojo, a LGBT activist and worker at a branch of the Cuban
Book Institute (ICL) in Caibarién, Villa Clara, published on her
Facebook account a protest against the suspension of popular festivities
traditionally held at the end of the year.
Rojo, who is also an independent reporter, complains about the secrecy
of the official media about the postponement of the festivities. “They
have suspended the holidays here this year by royal edict,” she quipped
on the social network, telling14ymedio that the decision affects not
only residents but also tourists coming to the area for those dates.
The parrandas of Remedios, along with other popular celebrations in the
center of the island, have been postponed to January 6 and 7, according
to a source from the Municipal Assembly of People’s Power speaking to
this newspaper. It is the fourth time in the last six decades that these
celebrations have been suppressed or had their dates changed.
The first cancellation of the parrandas occurred in December 1958, when
guerrilla commander Camilo Cienfuegos arrived in the area with the
so-called “invading column” that brought the combat actions from the
Sierra Maestra to the west of the island.
In 1969, the parrandas were again suspended in the midst of the
“decisive effort” promoted by Fidel Castro’s government to achieve a 10
million ton sugar harvest. All the end of year celebrations were
postponed, but the harvest did not achieve the planned figures.
A decade later, an official directive moved all the popular celebrations
of the country to the months of July and August. The parrandas were not
allowed to be held in that December of 1979. The measures became more
flexible with time and “the waters took their course,” says Moisés
Luaces, a peasant from the area who remembers every interruption of his
So far, official media have not called for the moderating of Christmas
parties held inside homes, but many fear that the ruling party will urge
Communist Party militants and members of the Committees for the Defense
of the Revolution (CDR) to snitch on the most enthusiastic.
Source: Party In A Whisper: The End Of The Year To Come / 14ymedio,
Marcelo Hernandez – Translating Cuba –