Life, Culture and Travels from the perspective of a Cuban
Categories: XYZ

After 5 years of silence, I am back. Life got busier, the wonderful and the terrible happened but I can say I am back to a happy place, the empty page that always helped me unload… and today, I may need it more than ever.

On July 11th, 2021 we had 11 million Cubans glued to their screens, to see what was happening on the Island. All our friends and family lost internet as soon as the protests started and it didn’t come back for days… Alright, let’s be honest, those with ties to the government did not lose it at any point of the day or night. As Cubans, we have loved ones on all sides. We know how this works.

One American told me once: -“There is a Trump voter in each family!” I say now: – “We know there is at least one ‘comunistón’ that we care for”. We wish it was different, but we care about that elementary school friend or relative that posts verbal diarrhea every couple of days. We want to hug them when we see them. We have a history.

The issue is that both sides need to be equally free to express what they think. The Cuban government and its followers cannot stand different opinions. This is not new. They (the government) do not only overlook what is happening in the country, they deny it, they get extremely offensive and persecute you if you speak up, let alone go out in the streets… All the alarms went off. The pacifist mask fell off and they showed their real face. They will do WHATEVER it takes to remain in power. All they do is for that purpose. Even the good they may do for the citizens it is only to put another coat of paint on that image and reputation they like to be proud of.

On July, 11th, the violence was brutal. My eyes bled. Why was I surprised? I always knew that if we (the people) dared to go out in the streets this would happen. There is no lack of resources for repression. The government gave a green light to violence, to any “revolutionary” (a word that lost its meaning in Cuba a long time ago!), who wanted to defend the Revolution, it gave them the power to originate a civil war. Even today the streets of Cuba are militarized, watching closely at citizens that are completely unarmed. Today, you cannot walk freely along the Malecon, you are sent to the other side of the sidewalk by the police. In Cuba, the words are considered to be weapons of war. A video, or even a joke on social media, can put a whole system to work against you.

All these events reminded me of my mom saying: – “I am happy you left Cuba otherwise you would have ended up in jail” – This was after one of the times I showed my discontent. I was just talking. You can pretty much summarize the kind of government you have when your mother fears that by talking you could be detained.

Then the Decree – Law 35 showed up. This is the reason I am writing today. Even those who do not want to talk will feel like talking if this continues down this path. Even those who support the system and are left with a good heart will turn their backs on this madness and will open their eyes and ears and mouth. More than 60 years later, we now have another way (and a more aggressive one) to throw eggs at people who criticize or want a change for the country.

This is 2021. People are fed up. They are hungry, they have a crumbling roof over their heads. They are talking loud and clear and they are not paid by any American plot. The WHOLE COUNTRY already survives on the Cuban Americans who support their families. The system is on a vegetative state and they will not disconnect the machine that keeps them alive. It is heartbreaking to see how the Cuban citizens are facing the pandemic, with a currency change, without medications (not even Ibuprofen), with endless lines to enter a market where the prices are coming from a dystopian novel and you cannot even find all you need. How much more do you think people will keep silence?

This is not the 90’s anymore. Borders are not open. Rafts will not be leaving Cuba for Florida in August. They (the government) know they need Law 35 – to let people know inside and out of the country, if you do not shut up, there will be consequences. They are afraid. Even a song that says “Patria y Vida” (an explicit opposition to the government’s usual narrative) shakes their ground. They are aware that they need to keep the rope strongly held. We (the people) in and out, want to live with dignity and freedom, without having to lower the voice when we talk politics, without being able to even suggest a change in our system, without being terrified they won’t let us enter our country. We are also afraid but I have the feeling not for too much longer. When we lose hope of a better tomorrow we even lose our fear.

Each of us shows our unhappiness the way we know, the way we can… some will do it screaming on a street, some will write, some will still shut up, but we are all hurt and tired of the system, a system that many people do not believe in anymore.

Leave a Reply