News and Facts about Cuba

Machado Ventura – Neither Young Nor Female

Machado Ventura: Neither Young Nor Female / 14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez
Posted on September 1, 2015

Generation Y, Yoani Sanchez, Havana, 31 August 2015 — If anyone embodies
the most antiquated orthodoxy of the Cuban political system, it is
undoubtedly Jose Ramon Machado Ventura. With his frail gait and infinite
power, the vice of the Councils of State and Ministers
represents the most reactionary and ultra-conservative wing of the
island’s government. Thus, the excessive role he has gained in the media
in recent weeks worries many.

Machadito, as his elders call him, has starred this summer in activities
ranging from visits to sugar mills and a meeting with cattle ranchers,
to the speech at the closing ceremony of the Federation of Cuban Women
Congress, a day at the 10th Congress of the Young Communist League, and
the closing words this Saturday at the National Council of the
Students Federation. All this, although he is neither a
farmer, nor a woman and much less young.

So many photos and statements have been published in the official press
about the second secretary of the Party Central Committee are giving
shape to a question on the mind of many Cubans. Will the most intense
hardliners end up imposing themselves on the reformers who will
potentially be part of power in Cuba? The frequent appearances of
Machado Ventura on the public scene leave no room for hope.

The little tree man some call this functionary, loyal to the core and
grey in every mitochondria of his cells. To him is attributed a circular
that prohibited the display of Christmas trees in hotels and public
places in 1995. Years later, life imposed its own designs and now Santa
Claus and colored lights are seen everywhere from the first days of
December, in a defiant gesture that must in no way please this man who
is a doctor by profession who has long since forgotten the last time he
treated a patient.

This octogenarian, who acts as if he knows everything, represents what
should end once and for all in Cuba. He incarnates this old-fashioned
power that only approaches those below only to demand from them greater
efficiency and more sacrifices. In his person is the sum of despotism,
arrogance, the superiority of someone who hasn’t boarded a in
decades, nor counted out the centavos to buy a a couple of pounds of
chicken, and much less felt the cold emptiness of a refrigerator
maintained on the average monthly salary.

Fortunately for the future, Machado Ventura will be one of those faces
that are lost in history. Like in one of those jokes so popular in
Eastern Europe that later jumped to the island, when someone looks for
their name in some encyclopedia and finds barely a succinct note.
Perhaps it will say he was a “cadre of the Cuban Communist Party who
lived during the era when Cubans resumed the practice of decorating with
trees and garlands at Christmas.”

Source: Machado Ventura: Neither Young Nor Female / 14ymedio, Yoani
Sanchez | Translating Cuba –

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