On Sunday evenings Eduardo Chibás, the firebrand politician who had founded the Partido Ortodoxo (Orthodox Party) and had run as a protest presidential candidate in the 1948 elections, spoke on the radio, although it was actually shrieking and ranting and raving, condemning political corruption and government inefficiency and pointing out the many ills afflicting the country and ascribing them all to the negligence, malfeasance, cupidity and stupidity of Auténtico politicians and, specifically, to the Prío administration. I loved listening to his tirades because he would say in public what many said in private but no one else would broadcast or print, and because there was daring in his philippics and idealism in his jeremiads, and because he angered those who disagreed with him, and because in the middle of the profligacy, dissolution, turpitude and dishonesty that infected Cuban politics, he had managed to remain honest and forthright, and because his enemies called him el loco, the crazy one, because there was nothing else they could accuse him of, and because he had bolted the Auténtico organization and launched a new party that sought to return to the ideas and principles that had inspired the radical students and middle-class dissenters of the 1930s, and because he spoke with a lisp and couldn’t pronounce the erre, the Spanish double r.
I went to work in September—at sixteen. I reported to the bank’s branch on Zulueta Street, starting with a salary of fifty pesos a month for the initial six-month probationary period, which was the same as fifty American dollars since the Cuban peso was pegged to the dollar and both circulated freely throughout the island, and this initial salary was to be raised to ninety-five pesos when I became a permanent employee. This was indeed a good salary for a young, ignorant kid, way above the