Mario stopped participating in only two May Day parades: when he was on an internationalist mission in Angola. His wife does not want to let him go to parade this year, but he says he’ll…
“I don’t want you to take a picture of me, I don’t want you to write my surname, it would seem that I am giving this interview for propaganda; just write that I have paraded fifty-three times at the Revolution Square and that I have always waved this flag that my mother sewed for me”.
Mario is 77 years old and in some afternoons his back hurts a lot: “I am no longer the one I was. I arrived in Havana, when I was a big boy. I came from Holguin to work in a factory. And when I decided to come, my mother gave me a pair of shoes and the flag, which she made from curtain fabrics. It is pretty, isn’t it… I paraded with this flag the first time and I will parade with this same one on Wednesday”.
Julia, the woman, doesn’t want pictures either. Nor does she want that Mario go to the gathering. “He may watch the event on television, he has already earned that right. He only realizes that he’s an old man when that damn back does not let him walk”.
Mario shrugs his shoulders. “That is a little pain that comes and goes. It never hurts at dawn, so I will go with other retirees”.
Julia thinks he’s incorrigible: “On Wednesday, at 3:00 in the morning he will be standing, drinking coffee. There’s nothing to do. I’m just going to tell you one thing, without he listens to me: that flag is not the one his mother sewed for him; that one got lost when he was in Angola. I sewed that in 1976. And I’m such a very good dressmaker that he didn’t even realize it”.
Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / CubaSi Translation Staff