This article today in El Universal, a fictional report from a Cuban sent to Venezuela as part of Chavez’ alphabetization campaign, by Elides J. Rojas was too funny not to translate and share it:
Report to Fidel by Elides J. Rojas
My dear, considered and respected Commander:
As you indicated in my character of multiple observer of the revolution, I am sending this first report about the activities that will be developed in the execution of the binational project of alphabetization that we are carrying out with the other commander, the son.
In general, I think things are going so so. We have a number of problems that I will explain later, although I consider that our experience in other countries could be useful, so as not to repeat our mistakes. The work will be rough and countercurrent, but with the spirit that moves us, once more we will forge country before death makes us flee. Like in Bolivia and Nicaragua.
The toughest problem is that these people are so contaminated. They watch TV like crazies. There are TV advertisements that are devilish, gorgeous women and very well designed men, all perennially on the screen. That soap this and that, that big car, suits by Boss, resorts in Aruba, Armani lenses, Antonio Banderas and Brad Pitt, the San Antonio Spurs, the New York Yankees and the money of Bill Gates. They drink Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Gatorade, as if it were water. They are always betting on horses, playing 5 and 6 (a horse racing game), they kill for something they call the numbers, go after another one called the Triple Fat One, they never miss a party from sunset to dawn on weekends, they go to discothčques without shame and drink white rum, beer or good scotch without classist regrets. They all fool around with women. There is no discipline, brother. This, despite the economic crisis, is a continuous party. They even eat some meat pastries in the streets. They call them empanadas. They have them with chicken, cheese and even chorizo. What a luxury!
To teach them to read and write will be the easy part. Except for some real dummies, which I will also tell you about, they are smart and learn fast. But, the other stuff, the one we are interested in, will be much more difficult. Here, even those that are doing badly, dye their hair and wear earrings. As if this jungle was Amsterdam! The women think Marx is a brand of sandals and that Lenin is a French perfume. Another very tough thing is that people go to church. They believe in priests and virgins. They are rebels, answer back and never shut up. To introduce hard communism the way that we want, I think you will have to come yourself, my boss, and be sincere with things at Miraflores (the Presidential palace) That guy also likes good things and he does not hide it. What happens is that since they forbid him to wear the military uniform he has become so refined that nobody would believe that until recently his canvas shoes gave him bunions.
On the other hand, with respect to the alphabetization itself, I report that we do what we can with the guys up above. With professor Otayza we are not doing well. He is slow and does not pay attention. The one called Lucas, only speaks of miracles ad writes like an officer that rides only mules. He is a lost cause. The lady with the hat and the frizzy hair, does note even come to classes. She spends all the time with a guy in his station wagon from march to march and from stone to stone. She does not want to understand that even to make a good Molotov bomb, you have to know at least how to read. The lawyers of the process, all a bunch of personalities, did not even pass the admission test. And the boss, he is the worst. He is full of himself. He thinks he knows everything. Now he has become an artist, leading man and globe trotter. He has a little horse for a logo that is really cute. Too much glamour for our taste. We are going to have to make the revolution ourselves here. Will keep you posted.
Until victory, always, my commander.