A stage divided by the Berlin Wall on one side—seeming so much like Cuba today—a group of people who fight to buy, love and subsist. Through the language of contemporary dance, we Habaneros could review the history of the two Germanys united “like Siamese twins but separated.” The company Sasha Waltz & Guests performed last Friday in the Garcia Lorca room of the Gran Teatro and deployed a daring choreography around the concrete structure that separated, for nearly forty years, a single nation.

The dancers’ use of phrases from our everyday life contributed to the intense communication established with the audience. Nevertheless, I think that the frayed and tense atmosphere was more than enough to make us identify with what was happening on stage. The stubbornness of people continuing the course of their lives despite the iron curtain separating them was familiar to me. The tendency to forget the threatening shadow and to take refuge in intimacy, dedicating oneself almost entirely to survival. Twenty years after the fall of that arbitrary frontier, Cubans keep on desiring the elimination of the impalpable boundaries that surround us.

If at least our wall were like that one: of stone, concrete and barbed wire, we could take a hammer or pick to demolish it. If we could touch it and say, “Here it starts, here it ends,” I am sure we would have already torn it down. In our case, however, this barrier that separates us from so many things is intangible and reinforced by the sea. If, for one moment, this wall of controls and prohibitions that surrounds us would materialize, it would be a pleasure to paint an enormous graffiti on it. We could bring a ladder to look over to the other side—as the dancers did on Friday night—or dig a tunnel in its hard concrete. If none of that worked, we could take an abundant and challenging pee against the cold structure.

22 thoughts on “Zweiland

  1. yes: raul is quoted in various press as saying “no conditions” seems sort of odd in that just a few days ago fidel and correa were bashing the OAS, calling it a Trojan horse. Does this actually change anything ? or is it just another press release about another meaningless statement by a bunch of politicians ?

  2. Here’s what seems to at least part of the wording adopted at the OAS gabfest:
    1. That Resolution VI adopted 31 January 1962 at the Eighth Meeting of Consultation of the Ministers of Foreign Relations, by means of which the Government of Cuba was excluded from participating in the Inter-American System, is repealed by the Organization of American States.
    2. That Cuba’s participation in the OAS will be the result of a process of dialogue initiated at the request of the Government of Cuba and in conformity with the practices, purposes and principles of the OAS.”

    The various leaders are of course putting their own spin on what this resolution means, Hillary Clinton included. I suspect we won’t have to wait long for Fidel Castro to lay down the Cuban line.


    Cuba’s allies in Latin America instead called for Cuba to be allowed back in from the cold with no conditions, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came under heavy pressure at the OAS meeting here this week.

    In a diplomatic compromise, the group’s member countries agreed that Cuba’s re-entry would be “the result of a process of dialogue” which Cuba has to request and must be in line with OAS principles.

  4. Castro has already dismissed the OAS as a “pestilential cadaver” and insisted, Groucho Marx style, that he wouldn’t want to belong to any organisation that’s prepared to have him as a member. There is a massive humanitarian crisis looming in IberoAmerica but most countries there would prefer to ignore it. First Chavez has followed “wise Grandfather” Fidel down what Nobel Economist Friedrick Hayek called “The Road to Serfdom” (1944), then his “altar-boy” Morales. Nicaragua and Ecuador are headed the same way. Export oil sales are down 40% in Venezuela, where annual food price inflation exceeds 45%. Over 40% of the population has no regular employment and the country has the highest incidence of violent death of any not actually at war. The USA can and does easily preserve the Cuban people from Castro’s famine but these resources aren’t infinite. Perhaps the OAS should tackle a few real issues.

  5. This does not pertain specifically to the discussion: But then maybe it does.
    NEWs reported here just 20 minutes ago!

    Sources: …. OAS votes to readmit Cuba

    By NESTOR IKEDA, Associated Press Writer
    Wednesday, June 3, 2009

    (06-03) 11:50 PDT SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras (AP) —

    The Organization of American states has voted to revoke a 1962 measure expelling communist Cuba, reversing a landmark of the Cold War in the hemisphere, diplomatic sources said Wednesday.

    It was not immediately clear if the ministers set conditions on Cuba’s return to full participation in the organization.

    The diplomats spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the decision had not been formally announced.

  6. # 13 what blockade ? We allow Cuba to buy what ever they want, as long as they pay for it up front. Everyone else in the rest of the world is free to trade with them as they like. Those who have extended credit to Cuba have been burned, always. The bloque has nothing to do with the “extra special period” that is now starting in Cuba. Not enough diesel to run the generators ? where is Hugo when you need him ? Cuba’s problems are self inflicted. No amount of whining from the left is ever going to change that. What ever romance some have for the “revolution” is just that, a false mental image of something that never was. wishing that history was what one would like it to have been, and ignoring what it actually was

    One of my Habana friends once told me that “we are a nation of sheep”. He said it in such a resigned way, like there was no hope to ever change. The wall the Cubans must tear down is in the mind. It is built on sand, but the quicksand of the mind is a quirky thing. The water within that binds it can hold it firmly against some types of force, only to run like liquid when exposed to others.

  7. Cold in Chicago:

    I did read the post of your comment on the previous article, and, I did read this one also!!!!.

    Here is my resume about it:

    “I think that, we, the Cubans, after more than 50 years of cruel repression did learn the lesson!!!!!!, and, I hope that we will not repeated again the same stupidity,,,,,but, to change everything!!!!! we have to get among us several guys like Thomas Jefferson, or John Hancock, or John Adams, or Benjamin Franklin, or Samuel Adams, or James Wilson,,,etc, etc, etc, until we get 56, or more guys like those , with the same futurist view, we will be suffering from the same “illness” !!!! falling in love with anybody ready to promise something that at the end will never be accomplished!!!!!!!!!! ”


  8. Cándido: Gracias por tu explicación. Es para Latinoamérica importante que Cuba cuente las verdades de todos, algo que hoy sólo sucede en espacios como éste.
    Creo que el bloqueo también fue una excusa de los EE.UU. para atacar a la revolución, mucho antes de que esta se transformara en lo que es hoy. Creo que el bloqueo es mucho peor que un error; es una maniobra hecha adrede, lo que hace que EE.UU. deba asumir su responsabilidad.
    Coincido contigo en que el romance de los primeros años ahora es nada más que un recuerdo en páginas amarillentas. Y coincido también en que los atropellos, la represión, la pobreza (que la hay en mi país también, y muchísima) deberían terminarse.
    Es mi deseo y el de muchos latinoamericanos más que recuperen ese romanticismo de la primera revolución, que conserven muchas de esas ideas, pero que también cada vez más cubanos empiecen a pelear por lo que les corresponde, por aquello que la revolución tal vez soñó pero nunca concretó. Estoy seguro de que si eso alguna vez sucede, será en un contexto de libertad, y no de la mano de un gobierno gastado y anacrónico.
    Una vez más, me alegra haber recibido tu respuesta.
    Saludos para vos, y todos los lectores.

  9. Humberto Capiro
    I believe that is a very good question

    Why the cuban people don’t rise against the Castro Regime?

    Maybe we should each try to answer

    My own answer is because I had and easier solution to the problem
    Go to the USA and I would have what I wanted for Cuba
    That will be the answer probably of the majority that emigrated from Cuba.

    Notice that Yoani, herself did it too (went to Europe) but she returned!!
    I do not think I have her courage neither most of us!!
    What do you think will happen if WE all the cubans outside
    go back like Yoani and do in our own way claim and ask and fight for our rights as cubans?
    What if we could get the Cubans in the island out of their fatalism that Cuba can not be change while Castro is alive?
    The Castro regime’s propaganda have been very effective they have been able so far to control information and many people do still believe in the system. How many are those now is hard to tell but I will guess is a lesser quantity than those that oppose the system.
    Why we been the majority in opposition are not able to take control?
    I think is got more to do with the old roman saying from Julius Caesar.
    “Divide et impera” Divide and conquer.

    Maybe we should apply the same methods that the Castro regime applied on us to them.

  10. I seemed to be interested in this blog of a courageous soul when i read an article in reader’s digest asia. I genuinely sympathize to the pursuant deliverance of chained democracy as not truly pure democracy, this is coming from a citizen of a cramped nation, wherein, democratic ideals are impelled with so much history from the 1st EDSA revolution, the assassination of Ninoy Aquino, to the much struggled Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo administration, which is in turmoil of corruption until now. continue to do your best Yaoni, your country needs you.

  11. Cubans like Yoani are rising up against the Castro regime. There just aren’t enough Yoani’s – at least, not yet. It was only at the very end of the East German regime that people started taking hammers and picks to demolish the wall. Prior to that even approaching the wall was risking certain arrest and sometimes death.

    Like the former Eastern Bloc countries, when the end comes for the regime it may come suddenly and unexpectedly. Why hasn’t it happened yet? In my opinion, two words explain more than anything else: Fidel Castro.

  12. Candido:

    The fact is that people are going to have to change their mentality and how they view politics and politicians if the Castro situation is not to repeat itself again. I do care about Machado, Batista, etc. because this is history and the root problem of why Castro is there. This malaise goes back further than 1959. Buying into the eloquence of what are otherwise ignorant or megalomanical individuals is an idiosyncrasy that cubans have to exorcise if the country is going to survive long term without being taken over by an outside power.

    Read my post on the previous article if you could. I think the issues brought up are points we can all agree on so that a future Cuba post Castro has a chance.

  13. People keep asking me why the cuban people dont rise against the Castro Regime like they did in Poland and the eastern block and the first thing I ask them is “What is Cuba geographically?” they respond “an island (really and archipelago)” and my second question is “What is an island sorrounded with?”, they say “water”. How such beautiful and serene beaches encarcerate so many millions of hard working people in what many think was the famous “Atlantis” of the ancient world. The most important element in this world for humans which is water is the main reason why Cuba has not been able to get rid of its sharks!!

  14. Cold in Chicago:

    I think that my Spanish answer to Nicolas is explicit enough, but, anyways, I would say, as a resume about your last comment, that of course in 1959 when Castro took over the power,,,,ALL the conditions were exactly created, ready, and were enough to received the Revolution,,,once again,,,the Revolution,,, as a new process, as something that would carried transformations to Cuba’s society, for the better, with our open arms.

    When Castro’s fight started in July 26, 1953, he was not the first one to take this via as the way to remove the old regime,,,,,, before him, were several others and during his revolutionary movement were others also involved in that process.

    Everybody knows that all those Governments (before Castro) were corrupts, ambitious, etc, etc, because, like in every other Latin American country we felt in love with the leaders, with their speeches, with the romantic part of their dreams!!!!, but, at the end, we don’t use , or, we don’t respect the Institutions, the Laws, The Constitution, The Congress, etc,, etc,,then, after a short period of time, those politicians will be stolen and doing anything to be richer!!!!.

    With Castro, everything was different, because his ideas, his romanticism was deeper and “we did bite the bate”!!!!!!!!that is why I said that at the beginning , in January 2 , 1959 after Batista left Cuba , Castro took over the power and was able to keep everybody asleep , enough time until he was able to get total control of everything.

    The main point is that Castro and “his Revolution” were not able to accomplish anything that he promised , but he has been executing the power for more than 50 years!!!!,,,longer than anybody else!!!!! then he, and his loyal “servants”, have been the worse and the most corrupts, ambitious of all the times, and under his insane system, Cuba now is a total disaster!!!!.

    I don’t care about Batista, Menocal, Prio, Machado, etc, etc, or any other ex president before Castro, the point is that him, has been seating in the throne for more than 50 years!!!!!!!!!!!, that’s it.


  15. No. 4

    I agree with you that the issue of the embargo (or wall) is a complex one. Hindsight is 20/20. I’m sure there are other steps and tactics, that could’ve been taken by the U.S. to weaken the Coma-andante.

    However, I think as far as the responsibility held by the Cubans, it did not start with the Coma-andante’s robolution, it started way back when Cubans allowed an envious, power hungry criminal group led by Batista, who decided to violate the constitution of 1944 and take over power illegally in 1952.

    Let me do some Monday morning quarter-backing. Due to the traditional antipathy of the Cubans towards politics, who should have flooded the streets peacefully by the millions as they should have done to protest this criminal (Batista) from taking over. That in a nutshell is what started the ball rolling. The cowardly Batista handed the country over to the Coma-andante, by fleeing.

    Bottom line: it is a lot easier to blame others for your own mistakes, dictators are experts at this. Instead, we should all look in the mirror, recognize shortcomings, safeguard our liberties with our life if needed, and take early steps to address any violation of democratic principles from any quarter, even our grandmothers if that’s what it takes.

  16. No es comum que este de acuerdo 100% con alguien,pero en este caso respaldo totalmente a Candido.

  17. Nicolas:

    Con todo el respeto que merece alguien, que, como tú, tiene la intención de expresar su ídea de una forma tan clara y honesta, desearía, expresarte mi opinion al respecto.

    Primero que todo, los últimos 50 años de abusos, represión y desastre que nuestra amada Isla cubana ha sufrido, han sido total y absoluta responsabilidad de NOSOTROS los cubanos.

    No creas en eso del bloqueo, ni que tal o más cual organización , país o sistema ha incidido de forma que semejante barbarie pudiera subsistir en Cuba por todos esos años.

    Fuimos nosotros mismos, los que apoyamos el proceso Revolucionario desde que se gestó en los años 50, fuimos nosotros mismos, quienes aplaudimos la llegada de Fidel al poder en 1959, fuimos nosotros mismos, quienes permitimos que paso a paso, pero muy rapidamente, Fidel y su equipo de seguidores, tomaran el control total del país.

    Fuimos nosotros mismos, quienes apoyamos con placer todos y cada uno de los experimentos que Castro realizó en todas y cada una de las esferas de la vida de la sociedad cubana, y ejemplos de ellos sobran, te señalo, algo así como jugar a ser veterinario, médico, agricultor, maestro, ingeniero, arquitecto, sociologo, filosofo, militar, etc, etc,,,,pues construyó ideas que no tenian sentido, enseñó lecciones que no transmitian enseñansa alguna, exportó revoluciones , con sus consecuentes escenarios de muerte y violencia a toda América Latina, Africa, Asia, etc,etc,,,, en fin, al final, cuando nos dimos cuenta, que todo era algo tan útopico, idealista y sin resultado positivo concreto posible, era demasiado tarde,,,,es como decimos nosotros “ya estabamos sentado encima del burro y había que seguir dandole palos para que caminara”!!!!.

    En un principio hubo un grupo de personas que se enfrentó por medio de las armas, pero en aquellos años aquello era una causa perdida y todos fueron aplastados, luego, más tarde, la inmensa mayoría de nosotros, muchos de ellos siguiendo a nuestros padres y otros por propia convicción , marchamos al exilio, el cual, en síntesis, ha sido nuestra respuesta negando aquel sistema de tanto oprobio y corrupción,,,,,escapar se convirtió y todavía sigue siendo, nuestra mejor manera de denunciar y poder perseguir nuestros sueños de alcanzar nuestra felicidad.

    Tal vez, durante los últimos años hemos visto un incremento de compatriotas, que estan despertando y de una forma muy valiente y precisamente dentro de la Isla, han comenzado a alzar sus voces y estan denunciando de forma pacifica, los atropellos y desmanes que la Revolución cubana ha cometido y comete contra su pueblo.

    Todo lo que brilla no es oro y la propaganda gubernamental cubana en favor de sus logros ha sido muy extensa, precisa y bien calculada, por lo tanto, es muy facil engañar a otros pueblos, cuando reciben médicos y maestros que llegan prestos a ayudar a otros,,,,aun, cuando dejan detraz a miles de pacientes y alumnos de su propio pueblo privados de su propia ayuda,,,es algo así como dicen esos viejos refranes: “En casa del herrero, cuchillo de palo”,,,o, “Quien dá lo que tiene, a pedir se queda”!!!!.

    El bloqueo, de USA puede haber sido un error, puede, ser o no condenado, pero la peor consecuencia que ha traido para los cubanos, es haber servido de excusa, pretexto, denuncia, etc, etc, para todos y cada una de los desaciertos y errores, cometidos por la Revolución y especificamente por su principal leader, el Comandante Fidel Castro,,,quien, como el “Flautista de Hamelin”,,,y como respuesta para excusar sus equivocaciones y omnipotencia, llevó al país a la peor crísis jamás conocida en Cuba, sumió la Isla en la mayor pobreza, arrastrando a la sociedad cubana traz de él al compas del sonido de su flauta represiva, corrupta, insana , pero sobre, todo edulcorada por su propio ego de señor todo poderozo!!!!.

    Podriamos estar hablando acerca de este tema por horas, días, años y tal vez no lo entiendas, sencillamente, porque para entenderlo, debes haberlo sentido en tú piel, en tus sentimientos, en tú pensamiento, etc,,,,la pobreza es algo que existe, que es real, pero la Revolución cubana, prometió, ilusionó y llenó de vigor a nuestro pueblo haciendonos creer que habiamos llegado al paraiso, al sistema prometido,,,,el cual , despues de más de 50 años, sólo logró el mayor desastre que jamás Cuaba haya tenido.

    No pretendo bajo ningún concepto polemizar contigo, sólo estoy tratando de transmitirte mi opinion de una forma mesurada y resumida, pero sobre todo, con mucha honestidad,,,,,el caso cubano, se ha convertido para cada aspecto del quehacer cotidiano de cada uno de nosotros en algo similar a la “Pelea de David contra Goliath, pero,,,en este caso,,,David no tiene ni tan siquiera su Honda”!!!


  18. Yoani, mi nombre es Nicolás, y no tengo Ys. Soy de la Argentina.
    Te escribo porque me considero defensor de la autodeterminación de los pueblos. Creo que lo que Estados Unidos hace con Cuba es injusto, arbitrario y malintencionado. La gente de Cuba debe tener derecho a elegir, al igual que todas las personas del mundo.
    Sin embargo, deseo realmente que esa pared, ese muro, desaparezcan. Cuba sería mucho más legítima si todos pudieran elegirla todos los días, y no sólo aceptarla.
    A veces me encuentro en una situación rara; los defensores del bloqueo de USA me llaman “bolchevique”, y los pro Castro me tildan de comunista, algo que no soy.
    Creo que la situación de Cuba no puede polarizarse. Estados Unidos, que se meta en sus cosas. Y Cuba en las suyas.
    Espero no encuentres irrespetuoso mi comentario, siendo que estoy a tantos kilómetros.

    Te mando un gran saludo desde Argentina.

  19. Cuba’s wall is real, it is constructed all around the island, then, after 50 years full of lies, killing the hope, murdering any opportunity of freedom, became something like : “The fight between David and Goliath, but, David without his sling!!!!!!!!.

    Any chance of free expression, any chance of liberty, any chance of pursue happiness, any chance to be a normal human being has been punished with bullets, death and repression!!!!!

    As a metaphor, “We, the Cubans believe that the wall only exist in our minds,,,,but, is not, is real, is there, and will be, until Castro’s regime ended in the dump of history”!!!!


  20. Amazing,brilliant as always with that touch of cuban humor.I’ll love to take my pee on all those olive greens uniforms and on every paper of their insane propaganda.Well done Yoanis.

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