Goodbye, 2009, and welcome 2010! The last year was a year with good vibes and hopes. In first time in history, an African-American took over a presidency in US and began a period of good will, closing doors to a period of time when all the hopes were bet to a warrior. Obama opened the door to American diplomacy rather than the armed muscled.
With regard to Cuba, Obama ended all the prohibitions lifted by the Bush Administration: lifting the ban to Cuban exiles to travel to their homeland, allowing the remittances to their relatives and, in an unprecedented gesture, allowing to telephone cable companies to negotiate any deal about internet connection, all at one showed that what Obama promised in his electoral campaign wasn’t just simple words of a young politician, but the good will of a mature and more realistic leader.
I need to add a little bit of salt to this. I hope Obama show in 2010 a higher stature in regards of Cuba, allowing our fellows Americans to travel to our country as well. As I said in another post: (“Embargo and Immobilism”), “with the American dollars would be travelling freedom, democracy and concepts unknown by Cubans”.
What’s left it is the matter of the Cuban government which, by the way, it didn’t show any visible signal of openings and approach. Rather than that, Castro accused Obama, in the same old language well-known of his brother Fidel, to try to destroy the “Revolution”. At the matter of fact, Cuba stepped up its anti-American rhetoric and set in the Council of State an old hardliner from the 60’s: Ramiro Valdes.
Is that a signal for the times to come? We don’t know.
Recently, Newsweek announced its predictions to 2010. Within them there is the probable death of Fidel Castro, which is something, honestly, insignificant in the Cuba of today. I mean, you could probably say that the old Castro is shadowing the new Raul’s, but the truth is we are not facing a different policy or a different approach. Raul is not as charismatic as Fidel, he doesn’t have the incendiary attractive voice and it is less diplomatic at the time when he has to announce something. But, without any doubt, he is not lacking his own voice and showed he can jump “theoretical” barriers, when he has to settle in some throne “some old personal opponents” (some analysts had said Ramiro Valdes is an old opponent, there is no evidence whatsoever).
2009 came as a year of new challenges and goals to the civil society. Internet saw a surge in blogs and websites, even when internet is not reaching Cuba, internet definitively is approaching Cuba. And the real sign is that Cuba’s government paid attention to that phenomenon as usual as it does: repressing its surge. That is always in Cuba the signal that what was something insignificant is becoming dangerous to the establishment.
November and December were months when our civil society received the baptism of fire of Raul Castro’s policy: sometimes attacking its more visible figures abroad, for instance Yoani Sanchez, sometimes creating more pro-governmental blogs, or even trying to open accounts in some services in internet, like twitter, to confuse the net surfers about the dissidence voice within Cuba. But even the more traditional and well-know dissidents, like the Ladies in White, felt the surge.
December 9th and 10th were days of intense activity against dissidents. Cuba detained around 80 of them in their houses, in public spaces and even before they tried to move and participate somehow. Today, there are some of them holding stands up, especially in Holguin, in solidarity with a political prisoner, Orlando Zapata Mayo. We have to gain support for them, that is our task.
Personally, 2009 was the year of my launch on internet. In October 21st, I wrote my first post, named “The Seven Planets”. I wrote in that: “Cuba is still in time”. But it is not. Cuba is moving little by little, and we have to move with it. I have the purpose to reach out a wider audience, somehow, open the doors to a new Cuba from a new approach. I would say it is not as easy as I thought, because my blog is not intended to the Cuban audience worldwide. I want to reach Canadians, Americans, people in English language because we need them on our side to reach an Open Cuba.
2009 is gone, 2010 is just few hours ahead. I don’t expect an easy year in Cuba, I don’t expect Fidel Castro death as Newsweek did, and I don’t expect an Open Cuba. But I do expect an increasing push to reach our goal. There are signals ticking everywhere, we only need to push forward in every different directions possible.
Who were thought we were here today? Nobody
It looks as for Newsweek Fidel Castro’s death is a goal, not for us. We are not in a brink to wish the death of a person, a leader or a dictator (he is all in one), even when his own disappearance could allow our goal. We are trying to destroy a system that broke our dreams and our freedom to be ourselves.
What it is in front of us is not a person, even when that person personifies the system. In front of us, we have a system designed to crush our hopes and our voices, and we have to raise the voice of everyone inside and out of Cuba to achieve the new.
Do we have any leader? No, we don’t. But he will come.
Do we have a huge social movement towards? No, we don’t. But it will come.
Do we have a date to Open Cuba? No, we don’t. But that day will come, sooner or later.
It will come inevitably... It will come.