Hands emerging from well-cut suits at the UN pressed the red, green or yellow button today to rule on the blockade/embargo *. Over the last few weeks, television has thrown at us the entire collection of statistics, testimonies and analysis on the ravages of the trade restrictions affecting Cuba. The issue has been so manipulated by politicians that, from down here, many have chosen to “press the off button… to make it shut up.”
Anticipating the outcome of the vote, I would like to refer to another siege in effect every day. This one prevents me from entering or leaving my country freely, from associating with a political group or creating a small family business. An internal blockade, constructed on a base of limitations, control and censorship, has cost Cubans countless material and spiritual losses. I try to match my mood to that of the newspaper Granma—which requires a huge effort—and make myself care about the outcome of today’s debate in the United Nations. I go out into the street and what is most glaring are the continuing restrictions imposed on us by our leaders; the wall that no one in the UN will vote against today.
What if they let us press the button! What if we could vote to rid ourselves of the fence that blockades us within the Island! I would leave my finger on the green button for many days.
* I refuse to call it either of the coined terms; they already know how bad-mannered we linguists are about these things. In my daily conversations I simply say, “the pretext,” the clumsy “justification” that is so very convenient for those who block us in here.