Saturday, October 31, 2009

Bringing down the Wall

It is a well-known landscape for the world: The Wall of Berlin. In 1990, it made headlines around the world; today, it is a place to remember and make peace with the past; today, it is a place drawn into the past.

In the other side of the Atlantic, in the small island of Cuba, there is another wall less known and as deadliest as that wall of Berlin: it is the wall that Cuba’s authorities lift around their own people to discourage them to travel abroad their country. The story is repeated twice, both as a tragedy.

People who live in democratic countries are use to travel around the world, they get vacations or get a job in another place outside their homeland, or simply they retire and want to live the rest of their life in the Caribbean or Hawaii, looking after a warmer weather and gorgeous landscapes. For them, there is no other official procedure than get a ticket to their destiny and start a new chapter in their life.

So, it is not too understandable for them the mandatory permission to travel that Cubans have to request to achieve every single move outside their country. No matter what, you have to request a permission to go anywhere and it involves money, documents to present under the authorities in charge, and if the move means immigration the vigilant state proceed with an inventory of all your belongings.

This is one of the chapters more insulting and despicable in all the story of the Cuban Revolution: the Castro’s regime took off from our citizens everything. In our own behalf and without any choice, our children are educated with the regime’s agenda in every topic: history, philosophy and believes. Parents are restraint to choose their education, where they want to live, where they want to go, if they want to stay or not, how, where, when.

I remember the last moments when I was through my process to obtain the inevitable piece of paper that represented my ticket to the free world. During those moments, I had to admit an inspector in my mother’s house where I was living to get an inventory of her house, even when she wasn’t immigrating: with or without her permission, it was a mandatory step in order to get the permission.

They go, they check every single piece of furniture, electronic equipments, everything you have in your house and you acknowledge as yours (not anymore). They look, they scribble in a piece of paper, and they leave. And then, you wait, and wait until they decide to fill a simple letter detailing you are controlled in their list.

As citizen, you have been rescinded of all your rights and belongings, and you have to ask an act of magnanimity from the royal family of Cuba in order to leave or travel. That is the Wall of Cuba, while they don’t need actual concrete or bricks or cement to lift a wall (after all, Cuba is an island and the Caribbean Sea acts as a wall of water around us) the government of Cuba built a statutory wall of permissions and violations to the most basic right signed by every single nation signatory of UN treaties: the right to move out abroad on your own behalf without any prohibition or restrain.

The wall of Berlin disappeared in 1990, this is 2009 and in Cuba there is still a wall to contend our citizens from their freedom. We hear about the Berlin’s Wall every day: it is in CNN, in the news in our TV, in any other newspaper you get in your way home, or in the radio.

But about the Wall around Cuba nobody talks. It is a shame for the politicians and reporters of the free world. We need to break down that wall as we did with the eastern European’s. It is a necessity for everyone as citizen of this planet.

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