Missing the marches

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There is a glaring absence in our daily landscape.  Those calls to march, so frequent two years ago, have become rarer, leaving behind the impression of a city permanently on edge.  It used to be a rare month that Habaneros were not called to a demonstration to shout slogans and applaud passionate speeches.  They regularly administered the spoonful of necessary hysteria to keep us feeling that we were in a permanent state of siege.

On those days of successive marches, public services were closed and the entire city’s transport system was put to work moving people from other provinces who came to swell the number of participants. Days in which the streets were filled with trampled paper banners and water bottles to calm the thirst. The city collapsed and for those of us who were waiting for the parade to pass, we had the sensation of living through a never ending mobilization.  They were days when it was best to stay home and hope that the shouts, the edginess and the loudspeakers were easing off.

Nevertheless, it wasn’t entirely like what the cameras and the press reports showed.  Political rallies—organized by the government itself—also had an enjoyable side.  The high school students were delighted that classes were suspended and they could play in the middle of the crowd.  In the workplace, many preferred the confusion of the demonstration—which allowed them to sneak home—over a day of working under the control of a boss.  Even those who  were brought in by bus found the crush of the demonstration offered an magnificent place for the lewd excesses.  The informal vendors waited for the mob to shout “Vivas” and sold them untold amounts of peanuts, pastries and soda

It’s not that we miss the marches, but my city looks different without these euphoric outbursts, without the leader shouting from the podium, without the thousands of genuine and false enthusiasts who were waving the flags.

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13 thoughts on “Missing the marches

  1. Carlos eco the quote from Sunrise in Havana. Here is what Zurmascuba posted on their blog:
    As I wrote last night, Yoani Sanchez, winner of the Best Weblog in the “The Bobs”, for her Generation Y blog exposing the reality of life in Cuba, as well as numerous other awards, was summoned to a local police station in Havana where she resides with her Husband and son.

    Yoani and her husband were interviewed by two members of the Interior (secret police), who refused to sign a formal statement-the bastards want no paper trail!

    They read from a script………

    “We want to advise you that you have transgressed all the limits of tolerance, with your proximity to elements of the counterrevolution”.

    Referring to a scheduled meeting, that will bring together Cuban bloggers from inside and outside Cuba, they informed her that, “The activity planned in the next few days, can not be realized”.

    They went on to say, “On our part, we will take all measures and will make the pertinent reports and accusations necesary. This activity, with the moments this Nation is living, trying to recuperate from the hurracanes, will not be permited”.

    BASTARDS!!

    Before they asked her to leave, she called them Cowards, for not signing the statement read to her. Wow……What guts!

    by ~Zurama~ at 9:55 AM
    Labels: g2, police station, Yoani Sanchez

  2. We’re on it!
    Let’s raise awareness folks… get the message to your local media and get people interested.
    I’m going to see who the Canadian embassy has there in Cuba as registered journalists.

  3. I was reading this blog in Spanish and there is a new post that had not being translated into English yet. Yoanni has received a citation from the Revolutionary Police to appear at 9 am on Dec 3rd. at a police station located in Vedado section at 21 and C Street. For those who are unfamiliar with the lack of freedom in a totalitarian regime, this citation is similar to a court order without the legal status. She does not know the reason why she has to appear and is concerned
    if she should take her toothbrush or not.
    In her blog, she swear not to have run a red light ever, it is being two months now since she had not bought any cheese in the black market and that she had never left a store without paying, she had not even try to pass for a tourist to use the internet at a hotel. So today she and Reinaldo are summoned for 9 am. A copy of the citation was posted, she expect to be back on this blog by 2 pm.
    So there you have it folks, I wonder if Madonna’s ex, ever read this blog and try to talk to Fidel or Raúl about the lack of freedom of speach in the Island, that will never happen, all he cares is that Obama and Raúl will be able to have a meeting to agree as to when the embargo will be lifted.

  4. IMPORTANTE….. IMPORTANTE…..IMPORTANTE

    Primer round
    Escrito por: Yoani Sanchez en Generación Y , Diciembre,2,2008
    Juro que no me he llevado la luz verde, que no compro queso en el mercado negro desde hace más de dos meses y no me he ido de ninguna tienda sin pagar. No recuerdo haber violado las leyes –demasiado– por estos días, ni siquiera me he hecho pasar por extranjera para usar el Internet de algún hotel.

    Tengo, no obstante, una citación junto a Reinaldo para mañana en la estación de policía de 21 y C en el Vedado. Me pregunto si debo llevar el cepillo de dientes o será un breve halón de orejas lo que recibiré.

    Les dejo el documento oficial que recibí hoy de un sudoroso oficial, que subió los catorce pisos por la escalera –no tengo ascensor desde hace un mes–.

    A las nueve de la mañana sabré de qué se trata, esperen noticias mías después de las dos.

  5. IMPORTANTE….. IMPORTANTE

    Primer round
    Escrito por: Yoani Sanchez en Generación Y , Diciembre,2,2008
    Juro que no me he llevado la luz verde, que no compro queso en el mercado negro desde hace más de dos meses y no me he ido de ninguna tienda sin pagar. No recuerdo haber violado las leyes –demasiado– por estos días, ni siquiera me he hecho pasar por extranjera para usar el Internet de algún hotel.

    Tengo, no obstante, una citación junto a Reinaldo para mañana en la estación de policía de 21 y C en el Vedado. Me pregunto si debo llevar el cepillo de dientes o será un breve halón de orejas lo que recibiré.

    Les dejo el documento oficial que recibí hoy de un sudoroso oficial, que subió los catorce pisos por la escalera –no tengo ascensor desde hace un mes–.

    A las nueve de la mañana sabré de qué se trata, esperen noticias mías después de las dos.

  6. I have been reading your comments and I want you to know that most Cubans are sick and tired of being manipulated by the regimen. I was born and raised under Castro’s Cuba. Both of my parents were rebels amoung Castro’s guerrilla in Sierra Maestra and were supportes of Castro until it was time to see their child leave in a raft.

    I was bombarded with indoctrination and propaganda since I was 5 years old, I was one of those Cubans who went to “The revolution square” to chant loaths to these brutal regimen, until I grew up to see the real Cuba. The Cuba that segregated me from enjoying the tourist spots of my country, the Cuba that didn’t provided college education to me, because I dissented, the Cuba that educate foreigners that are inclined to promote Castro’s regimen positive views with the resources denied to my education.

    The Cuba where a brutal police beats anyone and it is never reported on the news controlled by Castro.

    beatings like this one happens too often in Cuba, and it never get reported by the news outlets, because they are all subyougated to the “State”( castro).

    This video shows how a Cuba civilian is being questioned by cops, suddenly one of the cops push the teen to the pavement almost having him getting decapitated by a passing car, then a mob of cops beats the teen, kicking his head and body, the victim is lifted and throw against a wall. All of this is happening in eyes of other people who aparently were so afraid of the cops, that they made not intent to stop the beating. This video has been circulating the internet for almost a month and so far, there has been not mention of this incident in castro’s television of word press.

    Anyway, I just want to know, that in my Cuba there is not freedom, and it is unaceptable to say that castro’s Cuba had help the Cuban people, we the Cubans don’t risk our life in innertubes made of rafts just to come to America to dress well and have a car. It ain’t about food, clothes or materialistic views what makes leave Cuba, but the brutality of Castro’s dictatorship.

  7. Yoany Sanchez the Cuban blogger featured in TIME magazine edition of the most influential people in the world has been cited by Cuban police. We are really worried for her. Please help us bring awareness of this recent tactics of intimidation by Castro’s represive aparatus against Yoani.

    Call your local news agency and report this new thread against her freedom.

  8. Even here in Santa Cruz, California, which has a fairly large interest in Cuba’s perspective as compared to many other parts of our country, I think there’s a pretty big hole as far as real information about how people feel in Cuba, especially now in this transitional period. Adrian McKinty posted about your blog, which I assume he’s told you. Thanks, Adrian. I’ll put this on my blogwatch list, Yoani. Or will try to, anyway. I never know what it will accept.

    I am fascinated and grateful that this appears in English translation. I can understand a bit more Spanish than I can actually speak, but obviously it helps to read your blog in English.

  9. I remember seeing those every now and again on television… File footage and stuff like that of these huge pro-revolution parades whenever the CBC would talk about Cuba they would show them in the background. After visiting the island and understanding things a little better… you realize it’s not just spontaneous for Comandante… it’s something that these people had to do. It’s really sad when the government, any government, forces you out onto to the street to cheer for them.

    It makes me think of the schoolyard bully that had to force people to come to his birthday under threats of violence. Everyone went, because we were scared and not because we wanted to.

    Just my two cents!

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