01 April 2008

Raúl's Magic Show

I have begun to view Raúl Castro’s recent changes as slight of hand tricks that attempt to create the magical illusion that real changes are taking place. For magic to be effective however, the audience has to buy into it, believe and not ask how the trick is done.

Obviously, Raúl keeps the lights in the circus’ theater dimmed and the music loud to distract the audience-misdirection. Those in the front row have seen these tricks before and aren’t too impressed. The ones in the rafters, well, they tend to want to believe in Raúl’s socialist magic and don’t want to ask any questions for fear of ruining the illusion. They got in the show for free-corporate seats or ideological discounts. Those that have to pay the full price of admission, well, they have more at stake; especially after Raúl himself has warned them not to have “any illusions that we are magicians and were going to solve problems.”

Still the Magic show continues and the pragmatic non-magician, I would say, is getting to the crucial point in the show.

So far, all his tricks have been run of the mill slight of hand tricks. He asked for audience participation he said he would take requests. The audience was used to the old magician-the one with the beard who is now the circus’ mascot and official greeter, He only knew one trick. So given the chance, they all shouted the trick they wanted to see out loud. The new non-magician, knowing what he already had up his sleeve, pretended that he heard the request for the trick he had planned to perform and performed it.

He did the microwave oven trick, the Computer trick, the cell phone trick and he topped it off with the highly requested hotel trick. He already had these tricks ready. They didn’t cost him anything and he could do them with his eyes closed. And Hell! They might even bring in some much needed tips.

The problem is that some in the audience might think that he was really taking requests from the audience. They may start to scream for the new non-magician with the sad eyes to perform some better tricks. Fiery tricks. They may have gotten emboldened, Hey, they’re stuck in the circus, after all, and cant leave and the admission was steep-not as steep as the exit price-but steep nonetheless. Might as well demand some real magic like making some food, clothing and houses appear out of thin air or like making some chains disappear.

Sadly, the new non-magician won’t do these tricks. These are the tricks that require him to play with fire. The now emboldened audience, who thought the magician was listening, may start to heckle him. Some, especially the impatient youth, may demand their money back. Some may want to leave.

The audience might begin to demand a real magician.

And Raúl will stop the show and remind them he’s not a real magician. He’ll remind them that he can’t make anything appear, but that if they keep heckling him, he can make them disappear.

But by then, it may not matter because his act might be over.


roland said...

Wonderful post! Te la comiste!!

Anonymous said...

I wish the magician would let me visit my aging mother and father still in cuba.

Of course, Bush is the ultimate puppet master to blame for this.. at least 1 per year would be just. Right now, its like i live in prison (not being allowed to visit my parents), from the US side. Inhumane.