By Margarita Alarcón Perea
There is an old Mel Brooks film where he repeatedly utters the phrase “It’s good to be the King”. I am neither a king nor a queen, but at times when I find myself in circumstances that are extraordinary I use the phrase.
Last week a colleague from work called requesting my help as interpreter during an interview she had been granted, she is a journalist for TeleSur. The person she was interviewing was Danny Glover. I didn’t need to jump nor did my hands begin to sweat, I’ve been privileged with the opportunity to call Danny a friend for some years now. I did feel the satisfaction of knowing I’d have the chance to spend time with him during his recent visit to Cuba.
Danny Glover came down this time to take part in the First Encounter of Film Makers from Africa, the Caribbean and its Diaspora which took place last week here in Havana.
During the interview many questions were asked and he responded with his characteristic gentle and comforting voice, never the movie star, never the head of TransAfrica, always the down to earth man that is above all a true humanitarian.
One thing we (he and I) spoke about during a brief power failure was President Obama. Danny told me he had promised himself never to speak about the President in public. And I must admit I admire him for this, it shows class and respect for others, which is pretty much an outline of who Danny is.
What he did do, during the interview per se was talk about why he wouldn’t speak about the president, and that’s what is worth writing about and made me think “its good to be the King,” because I was present.
His take on the administration of the current president has more to do with the system than the man in the Oval Office. And as is usually the case, Danny is right. Not until you can achieve a truly participatory grassroots movement will a truly democratic process ever exist. Things have to start from the bottom up. It’s not about the presidency its about changing a system so that its truly “by the people, for the people and of the people,” till that happens we will get nowhere.
He went on to say “what is happening in Latin America is an example to the world and should be studied carefully by us in the United States,” he is again correct. In the region men like Evo Morales, an Aymara Indian and a miner was elected over five years ago as the leader of Bolivia and was democratically elected – emphasis on the word “democratically”, Rafael Correa in Ecuador has the following of his people, Lula left office with as much popularity as he had when he first entered office, and in spite of all the media hype both inside and out of Venezuela, Chavez no se va!
I was present during a master class in social and political philosophy by Danny Glover, a black man who stood side by side with his father doing dishes during his youth to make ends meet and fortunately has never forgotten.