They took Adolfo one morning six years ago, after raiding his home as if it were that of a dangerous terrorist. There were neither weapons, nor chemical substances in his poor home in Central Havana, but his papers bore witness to many opinions, written without permission. They indicted him with the same urgency that—in those same days—they shot three young men for hijacking a boat to emigrate to Florida. It was near the equinox but to all of us it seemed so dark that we could only call it one thing: The Black Spring of 2003. Not even the war in Iraq managed to obscure the news for the families and friends of the seventy-five prisoners. The old trick, so often and successfully repeated, of taking advantage of everyone looking the other way, didn’t work.
From his prison in Ciego de Ávila, he called this week to tell us that his daughter Joana is going to have a baby. He probably won’t be able to see this baby get its first tooth, due to the stubbornness of those who condemned him to fifteen years. His release has been converted into a bargaining chip, saved for a political game that no one knows how or when it will be played. Only one man, dying and therefore stubborn, seems to have the ability to decide his release from prison. For that fading old man, the future of Adolfo—free and living in a plural Cuba—must hurt more than the needles of the serums and injections. Despite the enormous power of this octogenarian patient, he cannot prevent the grandchild of this humble English professor from seeing him only as one more name in the history books, as the capricious caudillo who put his grandfather behind bars.
March has not turned out to be the month in which the days last as long as the nights, because a persistent eclipse of freedoms has settled itself on all of us. I look and look but it continues to seem that we are in the midst of the solstice and the penumbra. Far ahead, I manage to see my children and those of Joana under a persistent light, calling to us.