Reggaeton and diplomatic deafness

HAVANA — The news uncovered by the American media and commented on in an official note from the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Relations about the auditive illness afflicting several U.S. diplomats makes for an espionage and mystery serial.

It all began in late 2016 when, according to The Washington Examiner and the AP news agency, several American officials and their relatives had to return to the United States suffering from hearing deficits of various degrees.

Without revealing the names of the affected officials, their posts or functions, the U.S. sources assume that the loss of hearing was caused by sonic attacks. They link the acoustic aggression to the residences where the diplomats lived, because all are state-owned. It’s a good thing the housing was not supplied by the private sector, otherwise they’d add fuel to the fire.

Nevertheless, to give greater importance to the news, and given that the world of information oscillates between the noisy threats from North Korea with Trump’s counterthreat of devastation “like the world has never seen,” and the domestic problems of Venezuela, which has been in the international crosshairs (with efforts to involve the Cuban government), an ingredient from the island would be nice. So, the media reported that the United States had decided on May 23 to expel two Cuban diplomats.

Later, on Aug. 9, the Cuban Foreign Relations Ministry issued an official note reiterating the island’s willingness to cooperate in the medical investigation into the diplomats’ hypoacusis and lamented Washington’s decision to expel the Cuban functionaries.

I don’t understand the motive in informing us two months and several days later. Was the expulsion carried out? They are our compatriots. From both sides comes scant and belated information, which prompts curiosity and intrigue.

How could an event that began in 2016 cause the expulsion of Cuban diplomats in May of this year? How was it hushed by both parties all that time? Why was it uncovered now? Why are the expelled Cuban diplomats not identified and how long ago did they return to Cuba complying with Washington’s order? Why the allegations without detail? Will the pilot episode open the floodgates of the people’s imagination?

So long as there is no clarity, I don’t buy this draft for an intrigue novel. I leave that to Washington, which generates enough such literature, intrigue and investigation. On the other hand, it all could be due to the popularity in Cuba of the reggaeton (I’m not against it but I repudiate its saturation), which is increasingly promoted and heard at ear-splitting volume everywhere and at all times, publicly and privately. Has anyone thought about this possibility?

It won’t be difficult for you, the reader, to find the reggaeton titled “Palón Divino” [Divine Stick]. Could it be that the diplomats damaged their hearing by listening to it a thousand-and-one times at every corner of Old Havana or at home? By excessively pumping and overheating the blood, that “stick” could create clots capable of clogging anybody’s ears — whether he’s a diplomat or lives in midtown Havana.