An airy, comfortable room somewhere on the first floor of the Palace of the Revolution, with big windows overlooking a lush inside patio. A big bed in the middle of the room, surrounded by modern medical equipment. A brand new, barely used exercise treadmill in one corner. Dozens of books litter the floor. The small desk against the window is covered with papers, more books, newspaper clippings … A television on the wall is tuned to CNN, with the sound turned off.
There, to the side of the desk, an old man sitting in his favourite rocking chair, wearing a pair of fine Italian silk pyjamas and hand-made Bally leather slippers. He is speaking on the phone, as he rocks back and forth.
“I warned you, chico,” the old man says, his voice raspy and almost inaudible but still recognisable. “I warned you that all this democracy business is shit, even when you think you control the numbers. Una mierda.
“I never made that mistake. Never. No elections. No referendum. No opposition. No nothing. Why do you think I am still here, Hugito?” the old man says, raising his voice, stabbing the air with his index finger.
A male nurse in white uniform rushes in and takes the phone away from the old man’s hands.
“No, no, Comandante,” the nurse says. “You know the rules: you cannot get too excited. I am sorry … come on, back to bed. Your brother is coming to visit this afternoon …”