August 30, 2007

The Three Manolos

Once upon a Cuban history lived three men with the same first name but different points of view.

They were born at a time when their island was still the subject of some controversy among the new and aging empires of the world, but at one time, as children, they were each called “Manolo,” or “Manolito” by those who loved them and had access to their youthful energy.

The three young Manolos had dreams and hopes for what would be their adult lives; one of them wanted to be a doctor and cure the sick; another wanted to build skyscrapers and airports; the other wanted to fly airplanes and see the world from above the clouds.

In time, the three grew from the “Manolo” or “Manolito” stage to the respectable “Manuel,” in which life is serious and dreams have to be evaluated against reality.

As life would have it, the three Manuels (Manuel-3) had something else in common. At a time when they might have been living out their dreams, their country called upon them. It was a loud call, and Manuel-3 responded.

In the end, all things being equal, Manuel-3 didn’t find it easy to get along with its highly individualistic fractions, and that hurt their nationalistic efforts.

Artíme, Varona and Ray, traded their personal dreams for the collective dream that is Cuba. And while this humble story teller does not condone all the values they were forced to adopt from their imperial allies, we salute their bravery and appreciate their commitment and motivation.

Long Live The Three Manolos.