El libro de remembranzas No hay que llorar, compilado por Arístides Vega Chapú (y cuya lectura recomendamos) ofrece una amplia suma de testimonios y visiones sobre el llamado Período Especial. En el texto, varias firmas cubanas, pertenecientes a diversas manifestaciones de la cultura, cuentan sus vivencias durante algunos de los momentos más crudos vividos en los años noventa del pasado siglo. De las muchas historias, algunas en extremo duras, recuperamos esta, del escritor y poeta Aramís Quintero, quien fuera, además, uno de los integrantes del reconocido grupo humorístico La Seña del Humor, de Matanzas.
Supongo que por Período Especial se entiende un espacio de tiempo caracterizado por una penuria material más aguda que la de cualquier otro momento. Y con esa definición comienzan mis indecisiones, porque en mi memoria y percepción personales los años que van de 1968 a 1972 bien pudieran ser un período especial, que comenzó con la “ofensiva revolucionaria” y terminó, para mí, con el fin de mi vida de becado y mi regreso a Matanzas para empezar a trabajar.
Pero dejando eso de lado, para mí el Período Especial que todos mencionan abarca desde 1992 hasta 1999. ¿Por qué esas fechas precisas? Por razones, otra vez, personales. En 1992 exactamente, comenzaron mis dificultades para hacer lo que hasta entonces hacía normalmente: trabajar. Dejó de haber transporte y dinero y hospedajes para que La Seña del Humor se moviera. Y cada vez hubo menos. El grupo se fue desintegrando. La moneda cubana fue convirtiéndose en el fantasma que es, y el dólar ocupó su lugar, como sabemos.
De modo que no se trataba de dejar un trabajo y tomar otro (profesor, asesor de Cultura o guionista de radio), porque en términos económicos ninguno tenía sentido. Solo tenía sentido ganar dólares y La Seña no tenía acceso a estos, aparentemente por razones legales, jurídicas. (Pero es el caso que el equipo de Sabadazo, el programa humorístico de la TV, por ejemplo, podía ganarlos sin ningún problema jurídico).
Durante los años noventa me quedó claro que todo el trabajo, la creatividad de La Seña, el éxito, el reconocimiento ganado desde 1984, no valían de nada para que ese trabajo subsistiera. A nadie le importaba. Nadie se acordaba. Me refiero, por supuesto, a los dirigentes, las instituciones […] Hubiéramos tenido que irnos a vivir a La Habana como pudiéramos y hacer el humor para turistas y alcohólicos que se hacía en los centros nocturnos. No podíamos hacer eso. No sabíamos.
Al fin, a finales de 1998, la administración de Ruinas de Matasiete, centro nocturno de Matanzas, acordó pagarnos una pequeña cantidad en dólares por trabajar allí los sábados, a veces también los viernes. Era poco, pero algo y sistemático.
Entre noviembre de 1998 y febrero de 1999 hicimos allí un público que antes no existía. A local lleno. Con nuestro humor de siempre, sin concesiones al alcohol; sin que ocurriera ni un solo altercado ni problemas de ningún tipo. Ganaba la instalación y ganábamos nosotros. Hasta que, el día 14 de febrero de 1999, después de una función especial con el local repleto y mucha gente que no cupo viendo el espectáculo por fuera, unos inspectores determinaron una vez que aquello “no era legal”. Y se acabó.
No cobramos ni siquiera esa función. Días después, llamé a Pelayo –exdirector de La Seña– a Chile y le dije que estaba decidido a reunirme con él allá […] En mayo de 1999 estaba volando. Terminó para mí aquel Período Especial y empezó otro diferente.
Pero para mí lo más grave de este período tiene un carácter cualitativo, en él aparece un nuevo factor psicológico, condicionado por la situación económica: la inseguridad, la percepción del “sálvese quien pueda”. Eso no existía antes.
La penuria mayor o menor siempre existió, pero, en sus pobres niveles, todo estaba asegurado, empezando por lo primero: el alimento diario. Con el Período Especial comenzó la angustia y el estrés de “resolver” el pan de hoy, “el de mañana, ya veremos”. Estábamos acostumbrados a la pobreza inamovible, con su notable aburrimiento, pero no conocíamos el estrés. Ω
Tomado de Arístides Vega Chapú (compilador): No hay que llorar, La Habana, Premio Memoria 2009, Ediciones La Memoria, Centro Cultural Pablo de la Torriente Brau, 2011.
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