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Nuclear Physicist Seeks New Home

David W. McFadden
From:   There'll Be Another. Vancouver: Talonbooks, 1995.


In the lovely old neighbourhood of Miramar in Havana
I met a man who said he spent five years in Moscow
studying nuclear physics and when he returned he was given
a professorship at the University of Havana

He was a nice little guy pleasant handsome sociable funny
he looked a little like old photos of Federico García Lorca

He had a beautiful antique 1959 Oldsmobile
and a garage full of parts
he maintained the car with care

He had a beautiful house
he married a beautiful student of his
who later became an industrial engineer

But he was fired from his job because as he says
it was determined by a review committee of his peers
he had too many foreign friends
Peruvians Mexicans Colombians Venezuelans

So in November he is leaving his house and his car
behind forever and moving to Santo Domingo with his wife
from there it will be easy to get into Miami

He says he is not being unpatriotic he says one can love
his country and hate the system that has it enslaved

Fidel he says thinks he’s the country it’s the old
l’état c’est moi syndrome anyone who hates him
hates Cuba a lot of people in Havana talk like this

Later I tell the story of the nuclear physicist
to René Caparros a dedicated supporter of the Revolution
who took me on a tour of the old seventeenth-century
Convento de Santa Clara at 610 Calle Cuba

The convent is now the headquarters of the
Centro Nacional de Conservacion Restauracion y Museologia
They are responsible for restorations nation-wide
and since they have as their headquarters the old convent
they feel obliged to begin restorations there
and as soon as they’ve finished restoring the old convent
they can start on other projects

Restoration is going on slowly but a lot has been done
There are three young students busily involved
in restoring old silverware

René has met Fidel Castro several times
he says Fidel is 6-3 and has a lot of charisma
it is somewhat intimidating to be in his presence
and as for the nuclear physicist

René says a revolution is composed of people
and people are not perfect
therefore a revolution cannot be perfect

People keep telling me only 10 per cent support Fidel
René is one of the ten but those who support Fidel
somehow don’t sound as convincing as passionate as those who don’t

And when they speak about the Revolution
The Victory of the Revolution
The Triumph of the Revolution
their voices drop
they speak slowly
as if long ago they memorized
what they are about to say



David W. McFadden's works copyright © to the author.


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