The Maleconazo in a Can of Condensed Milk
The Maleconazo in a Can of Condensed Milk / Yoani Sanchez
Posted on August 5, 2014
14ymedio, YOANI SÁNCHEZ, Havana, 5 August 2014 – We had run around
together in our Cayo Hueso neighborhood. His family put up several
cardboard boxes in vacant lot near Zanja Street, similar to those they’d
had in Palmarito del Cauto. His last name was Maceo and something in his
face recalled that Titan of so many battles, except that his principal
and only skirmish would entail not a horse, but a flimsy raft. When the
Maleconazo broke out he joined in the shouting and escaped when the
arrests started. He didn’t want to go home because he knew the police
were looking for him.
He left alone on a monstrosity made of two inflated truck tires and
boards, tied together with ropes. His grandmother prepared water for him
in a plastic tank and gave him a can of condensed milk she’d been saving
for five years. It was one of those products from the USSR whose
contents arrived on the island congealed, after the long boat ride. My
generation grew up drinking this sugary lactose mixed with whatever came
to hand in the street. So Maceo added the can to his scanty stores—more
as an amulet than as food—and departed from San Lazaro cove.
He never arrived. His family waited and waited and waited. His parents
searched the lists of those held at the Guantanamo Naval Base, but his
name was never on them. They asked others who capsized near the coast
and tried to leave again. No one knew of Maceo. They inquired at the
morgues where they kept the remains of the dead who washed up on shore.
In those bleak places they looked at everyone, but never saw their son.
A young man told them that near the first shelf he had come across a
single raft, floating in nothingness. “It was empty,” he told them, “it
only had a piece of a sweater and a can of condensed milk.”
Source: The Maleconazo in a Can of Condensed Milk / Yoani Sanchez |
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