Disclaimer: notes transcribed as is, no editing has been made so as to preserve my original feelings as I read the chapter.
Part 6, Around The World & Above; Chapter 6, Seryosha Garcia Alvarez.
I had a little difficulty with this chapter. Señor Alvarez, although likeable, is a little foreign for me. I don’t know very much about Cuba and it’s history. Not being an American, I don’t think it was very important for me to learn about the circumstances surrounding the “Bay of Pigs” or Fidel Castro. Although, Castro is enough of an icon, for whatever reason, for me to at least know who he is. That is why I’m not certain about the political circumstances to which Señor Alvarez relates.
Politics aside, which is my worst subject as anyone could guess from what I’ve written so far, this is an interesting chapter. Señor Alvarez comes across as quietly passionate and dedicated to the new regime in his homeland.
He mentions the pre-war U.S. blockade, the oppression, the military & medical presence on his island home.
How all of these factors managed to keep the number of infected to a minimum.
…our leader knew the true nature of the infection weeks after the first outbreak was reported. By the time of the Great Panic, when the world finally woke up to the nightmare breaking down their doors, Cuba had already prepared itself for war.
Cuba seems to have dealt with the initial outbreaks in a manner similar to Iran, it had the edge by having borders that were already policed and closed off. Being an island also keeps the amount of refugees down compared to those merely crossing over a border on land. An island could be considered a natural defence.
Seryosha points out that those islanders in the Lesser Antilles also discouraged would-be refugees (although he also calls them invaders & modern-day conquistadors).
After all, they did not have the military might and hardware that Cuba has. If they could turn away the masses of refugees from their shores, Cuba damn well can.
After all, a small island only has so many resources and could not hope to sustain both the flood of “boat people” alongside the indigenous population. Then there is the problem of defence against both the zombies washing up on shore and those carriers of the virus seeking sanctuary. Both of which have to be actively policed against, lest the whole population suffer. Compassion has it’s place of course but perhaps that is why people like Africa’s Paul Redeker was unpopular but integral to the zombie solution.
Along with humanity’s continued survival.
Seryosha’s Cuba had a novel solution to the amount of poeple flooding their tiny island, unfortunately I can barely visualise the kind of conditions Seryosha describes in the Resettlement Centers. Not to mention the amount of resentment towards the former Americans now residing in these camps. Quite a bit of hostility too.
Mother Nature was kind to them. The guards, however, were not. “Be glad you’re alive,” they’d shout after each slap or kick. “Keep complaining and we’ll throw you to the zombies!”
Excuse me while I allow a shiver to race up my spine.
Fear has proved to be an effective weapon over the centuries, I suppose this situation was no different. How else were the Cubans to prevent total disorder within these camps. Five million refugees (mainly from the U.S.A.), too few people to guard over them.
Fear, not bullets, prevented a rebellion against their new government.
Seryosha insists that the guards never made good on their threats, but he doesn’t seem too distressed if perhaps a few actually were thrown to their fate.
However, it seems the camps were gradually emptied and these people were slowly integrated into Cuba’s society.
Bringing with them the reality of freedom as opposed to just the idea of freedom. A dream.
Those ex-Cubans who were re-patriated and reunited with their families, also brought with them these new ideals.
Lastly, Señor Alvarez describes the change in power and the senior officials in government who at last recognised their redundancy. Castro, he says, manages to make his step down from power seem like genius.
This new democratic regime brings it’s own problems, but the Cuban people seem to be thriving post-war. Wealth they have never seen before and are now a post-war superpower functioning as a new source of valuable manpower and resources in this terrifying post-apocalyptic world.
After all, the dead are still out there. They could show up at any moment and the survivors of this world must be ever vigilant.