The Largest of the Antilles is beginning to change

Yesterday’s dinner ended up orbiting very common themes among most Cubans who emigrate to any part of the world: the island’s economic situation, the absurd measures imposed by the government, the ease of the media to misrepresent the real situation in the streets, among many other disappointments. As I finished my second glass of wine, I asked the new friend who was sitting on the patio: do you really think that there will be a change in our country? He didn’t know what to answer and stayed silent for some minutes. After his pause, I explained my hopeful vision, which is possibly a consequence of my little experience, or lack of financial knowledge. Despite this, I told him: Cuba has begun to wake up! His face was filled with a quiet, almost old doubt. My mother’s gaze became doubtful as well, but I continued my argument about the brutal repression performed by the authorities towards Cuba’s civil society (artists, workers, elderly, women, men, black, all). They were surprised to hear that during the month of April 203 protests were held in Cuba for the first time, of which 57% ended up in police abuse. Protests may sound very ordinary and trendy in this modern world of the 21st century, but Cubans pay really high prices for that practice. As in the case of Luis Robles, a young male from Havana who has been in jail for seven months just for holding a sign in the street asking to free a Cuban rapper named Denis Solis. The conversation went on and we started commenting on the reaction of the Cuban government before the resolution on the violation of human rights that was approved by the European Parliament this past June 8th. Even though there were 386 votes in favor, the Cuban government/press, denied the facts. It is worth mentioning that anything happening in Cuba, either protest, economic crisis, or any other matter, the government will cynically blame on the United States, and this time was not an exception. My friend said it has been the government’s number one strategy to maintain power over the years, but there are not as many people believing in the news anymore. A little after I left Cuba six years ago, the Internet arrived, and ever since Facebook has been the alternative news source of the population. The sun had already set and there was almost no light on the patio. The conversation became a little more sentimental. We shared memories, common difficulties, our journey to get here, the families left behind, and of course a bit of music. My mom doesn’t say a lot about these topics. She grew up learning how to keep silent, even when it hurt.

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