They have the same name, but they are actually three: Jorge Díaz, Agustín Martínez and Antonio Mercero. The first has a preference for historical notes of entertainment; the second, for the most heartless aspects surrounding the murders and the third, for the most romantic passages, those that conclude the description and outline of the characters. Or, at least, that’s what they say. Carmen Mola returns and she does it in “Hell” (Planeta), a novel that runs between the Spain of Isabel II and colonial Cuba, with all the signs of her identity (mystery, chilling rituals and plot in love). ) and brought it the incentive to reveal one of the darkest episodes of our past: the slave regime that survived the sugar mills that flourished on the island of Cuba.
These farms, dedicated to the cultivation of sugarcane, use, above all, workers from Africa and China. “It is a violent story for two reasons. The first, because the 19th century was very violent. Second, because slavery was violent and it existed in Havana, where Spain still ruled, with the shame of will be the penultimate country to abolish slavery,” said Agustín. He himself said that “it is easier to be violent in a time where impunity prevails. And more than a slave who is deprived of rights. Agustín himself made it clear that “in the 19th century, the English prevented and American ships with slaves from Africa reaching American shores.”
For this reason, slavers turned to salaried settlers. “Many Chinese were brought in under a regime they called “salary dwellers.” It consisted of these people who came, at first, with a contract, but later, upon arrival in Cuba, huge debts were imposed on them. They were told that the trip was too expensive, the livelihood was different and so they were kept for years and years working in the mills without pay, in theory for a salary, but instead of the salary that never paid. the debt.. explained Jorge Díaz. During the investigation, the writers found an unexpected piece of information. And this method was also used by the Spanish. «It was done by north of Spain. The Galicians and Asturians were brought. This was done because there was no more work in Africa. The violence committed against them was the same as committed against Africans,” said Agustín Martínez.
Antonio Mercero makes an allusion to today and assures “that the same thing happens today with women from Africa or South America. They come with contracts that are not real and they are enslaved to pay debts. If you write a historical novel, you know that many of the things you describe still exist. Human trafficking is one of the great evils of the Western world, we feed it. “Cuba was built on a system of slavery and became rich thanks to it.”
Antonio added: “The current system of slavery is more subtle, but it still exists. Just think of the factories in India, where people work to fill the shops with clothes or make products so that we can consume them . It’s another system of slavery, more comfortable because it’s not in front of us and we don’t see it either. “We play with rights that other people don’t have.”
Jorge Díaz affirms that “many fortunes in Spain are based on slavery. Elizabeth II herself has an interest in it. Both in Malaga, Catalonia and Cantabria there are individuals interested in its continuation. And he continues: «In 1812, many deputies who went to the Cortes to approve the Constitution, came with their slaves. In Spain there was a relationship with slavery.
Carmen Molas walks through the cathedral square in Havana, a space closed by the facades of several palaces and where a sculpture is dedicated to Antonio Gades. In this place, and in the surrounding streets, such as O’Reilly, or the building of the Captains General House, in the center of the old city, some of the fantastic scenes of the novel took place. Here walks Leonor, a serpent who conquers the Madrid theater scene, and Mauro, a man with conviction who wants change, even if it is through weapons. The two had to leave our country and flee to Cuba, where they discovered the “hell” of the sugar mills. “Spain and Cuba are troubled places. There are many revolutions. In Spain, people are fed up with Isabel II and the financial scandals,” said Jorge Díaz. In fact, Mauro embodies the revolutionary air of that time. “The difference is that today the revolution is feminist and it is peaceful. The other revolution is technology. With that, there may be suicides … or someone will use weapons if we lose our jobs due to Artificial Intelligence,” said Antonio Mercero.