What will they do with the flags?


At night a few red flashes lit up a bit of the Malecón, just where the guards’ whistles warned that no one could sit. The United States Interest Section had a lighted news ticker, which few managed to read, to transmit news items, articles about the Declaration of Human Rights, and political messages. A forest of flags in front of it prevented anyone of human height from seeing the scrolling letters slide past. With their constant beat, the enormous fabric flags “contributed” a noise to the neighborhood that made it difficult to sleep in the nearest buildings.

Although the official version says that the 138 flagpoles are there to remember the victims of terrorism, we all know that they accomplish the mission of covering, almost entirely, the statements appearing in the windows of the Interest Section. The screen on one side, and the flags on the other, were the visible symbol of the confrontation between the two governments, whose evolution is still very difficult to predict. To vary the repetitive path of the conflict, some days ago the Americans deactivated the luminous notice board that projected over the street. A little before, the Cuban side had also removed the billboards, with their mocking and insulting tone, that had been located on the sidewalk in front.

The question many of us have is what will happen now with the beating pieces of fabric if there are no phrases for them to cover up. The enormous costs of replacing the material damaged by the wind and maintaining the masts, strongly attacked by the saltwater, makes no sense if there are no words on the other side. Removing the banners will be gesture that will come about a little later, but in the end it will happen. Some day I will walk along the coastal avenue of my city and nothing will interrupt the union of the two blues made by the sea and sky.

If they have already disconnected the digital ticker with its messages, then it’s time, also, to lower the flags intended to hide it.

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17 thoughts on “What will they do with the flags?

  1. Thank you all for your comments and insights. I agree,there is interdependence amongst states on various levels.I also agree that tourists visit and ‘see what they want to see’. Put simply this is not a rant angainst the USA,reather it is an observation that democratic nations are all unique and are viewed differently on the international stage.Politics is always politics with the end objective being re-election!!(democratic or not!).I believe that we all need to foster understanding and appreciation for our unique differences.Having spooken with many Cubans while travelling,Canada seems the destination of choice for many.We Canadians wish them well.

  2. To Anita#7
    What you need to understand is that this economic crisis is mostly worldwide and Canada is not except from it.
    Believe me, I know it is frustrating but we are all in the same boat and we have to learn to navigate into the rough weather.

  3. To Cándido #12
    I agree and share your comments and sentiments.
    Sometimes I get mesmerized by the comments some other Cuban made in this forum and I think is the product of the system in which they grew up, can’t blame them, that is part of the indoctrination they were exposed while growing up.

  4. COULD THE CUBAN GOVERMENT BE SETTING UP THE ANNOUNCEMENT THAT FIDEL CASTRO IS DEAD? SOMETHING IS FISHY HERE! or “ALGO HUELE A MIER**”

    REUTERS Article: Cuba’s Communist Party postpones key congress

    Castro said the party has to carefully analyze economic matters to determine “what must be perfected and even eliminated” as Cuba moves into the future without him or brother Fidel Castro at the helm, according to the newspaper Granma.
    The congress, where direction is set for the country’s future, was expected to take place at the end of this year. No new date has been set.

    The congress has been heavily anticipated because, among other things, it will determine if Fidel Castro, 82, stays on as head of the party.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSTRE56U2NQ20090731

  5. Anita:

    25 years ago, traveling to Europe (by working reasons) after my plane landed in Gander, Province of Newfoundland, Canada (right in Terranova Island)I decided to stay there.From that moment on, the Cuban’s Government did use the classic adjective to classify me: I became a “defector”!!!!!

    I never considered myself as a defector, because, I never did sign any contract, or I was not in the army,etc, etc,,,,I just had the fortune to escape!!!!,,,yes,,, escaping from that cruel system was the only choice I had, because asking for a normal way to abandon my country was a dream, or a long inclined way going up to get the authorization from the “Cuba’s owners”!!!! that I did not want to test!!!!.

    I have the best memories of my life while I was living there,,,,from the very beginning , the Canadian authorities, the people, everybody!!!!! were so kind, so helpful, that, today, I can say that: “from that moment on I became a normal human being”!!!!!, no more whispers, no more censures, no more hiding,,,I was able to speak my mind without any hesitation, etc, etc.

    After this brief introduction, I can tell you that I learned that the Canadian, lot of them,,,,but a lot!!!!,,,don’t know anything about Cuba’s situation, they only know about Varadero Beach, the Cuban Cigars, the tourism -that by the way was very cheap-,,,, and that’s it.

    At the beginning, it was very confusing for me understand that, because went I left Cuba I did it- supposedly- knowing that the all world knew about Cuba, about the system, the situation, the struggle to build a better society, but as usual,,,,,a lot of people did not know anything about it,,,once again, Cuab’s leaders, the Castros, their mafia gang had lied.

    It was a very slow process to digest this, but, once I was able to understand it, when I started to explain to the Canadian, the crude Cuban reality,,,talking with passion, with examples, with comparisons, then, a lot of them were able to see exactly how cruel and repressive that system is.

    I was living there for one year,,,waiting and considering the options I had to get the release of my family, that at that moment were used as “Affective Hostages” of the Cuban’s Government,,,finally Canada was able to provide the documentation to receive my family, but, Cuba did not authorize it, and Canada was unable to do anything, no pressure, no diplomatic ways,,,,nothing,,,that is why I came to USA where finally I was able to bring my family after a hard and long struggle denouncing everywhere the human right violations of my family.

    I just want to let you know that sometimes the people have problems, and hard situations right in front of their noses but they can’t see it,,,just like that,,,very simple,,,may be, they just need that somebody step on top of their callus, then, when it hurts then they will learn!!!!

    Candido

  6. Hello Yoani to you and to your husband and child:

    Those flags need to be taken away, when? how? that’s a tough question to answer.The flags maybe taken away one by one not all of them at the same time, and that can be done when some improvements are reached between the Obama Administration and the Cuban regime.

    But that is unlikely to happen.This means that if the Cuban regime turned off that kind of electronic sign in front of the United States Interest Office that was a cold war sign, the Cuban regime could try to take another step regarding the flags like putting them in Malecon Ave. one after the other and not all together.

    Sincerely,

    Julio Glez Jr.

  7. To: Anita

    I’ve been to your country and admire not just its natural beauty and open highways (without billboards), but also the warmth and sense of care Canadians have for their fellow compatriots. I can understand how the U.S. system might be intimidating to some of you. I personally think that Canada represents a good model for Cuba, as an island nation where people are feel close to each other.

    As far as the impact of the U.S. economy on Canada, this is unavoidable as this is an interdependent world, and any economic discomfort felt is the price we all pay for the long term prosperity brought on by international trade and commerce.

  8. To: Anita

    Democracy is democracy, whether in Canada, the U.S. or France. As I understand it, the right to freely elect, speak, and live where and how you choose as long as you don’t disturb others, comprises democracy.

    The details and degree to which governments gets involved in the production of goods and services varies by country, and it’s up to the people and local culture to decide what best works for them.

    Often times the U.S. economy is used in this blog as a reference because there are over one million Cubans living here having arrived penniless after being shaken down by the Castros, and for most of whom the status quo as it exists has worked just fine.

  9. A question: I understand the historical relationship (or lack of) between Cuba and the USA. That being said,in the dialogue about democracy I believe that other forms of this exist in other countries. Canada has a wonderful system of free enterprise and government supports (often mocked by American’s who can not/will not understand this). I empathize with the situation but caution against comparing ALL democracy to the US model.As a Canadian I see first hand the impact of the US economy on ours and it is truely frustrating,especially now.

  10. At the end of World War II, the Italians were so fed up with Missolini, that finally, when a partisan anti-fascist group got hold of him, they executed and hung him by his feet at a Milan public square – Piazza Loreto. Now the big bully’s corpse and that of his cronies were at the mercy of the population he had brutalized for many years. It is said that there were lines of people, particularly women who’d lost sons in the war, waiting to mutilate this body, as it tumbled in the air. See story at http://www.awesomestories.com/flicks/corelli-mandolin/mussolinis-execution

    Unlike the Cuban regime, who wears the honor of bringing to the twentieth century the “Acts of Repudiation” I myself do not believe in this kind of violence. And I hope, perhaps naively, that the latest installment of the Castro dynasty bends just a little and tries to meet Obama halfway as well as make peace with the more than half of the Cuban population who wants freedom and reconciliation. However, it would not surprise me if upon the end of this dynasty, and based on the adamant reflexions by the Coma-Andante, which are nothing but an attempt to maintain the unmerciful status quo, the Cuban people mete out the same justice as the Italians, in order to vent their frustrations. They may not limit themselves to just the infamous brothers, but also to those around them, who blindly support their ferrous attitude towards change.

    If such were the case, and given the symbolic aspect of those flag poles, they could just come in handy. It would not surprise me if just as a precaution,the authorities take out the poles, lest they be put to use some day, (a la Mussolini) ropes and all, should the dynasty meet an abrupt end and the people filled the streets in anger.

  11. Yoanis:

    Does anybody knows the meaning of the word “naive”?,,,of course,,,, I’m sure that the answer will be “yes”,,,but in Cuba’s case -as usual- this word has a different ways of interpretation, which could be:

    1-Cruelty :Because the Government has been smart enough during more than 50 years to do a total distortion of the Cuban’s reality, hiding all the crimes and violations performed by their leaders which has been able to create the terror and panic that every Cuban citizen has in his mind.

    2-Intransigense:Because the Government and his leaders have been enough hard, stubborn, and bloodthirsty to keep the people inside of his fist, eating from his hand.

    3-Cynicism: Because the Government and his leaders have been acting in every scenario and performing the best show that anybody can image to hide, and change the Cuban’s situation during more than 50 years.

    4-Hypocrites: Because the Government and his leaders, have been playing the “victims role”, but the reality is that they have been using the confrontation with USA as shield to justify all their mistakes and cruelty.

    5-Cuba’s Government, Fidel Castro, Raul Castro and the rest of the mafia gang, never, ever, will be ready to talk about democracy, freedom, liberties,etc, etc,,,,never ever, will be a dialog , as far as the dialog mean “changes”, or “New ways of Government”, or “New strategies to develop the Country”, but the most important of them,,,,as far as it mean “Releasing the power”!!!!!

    Then,don’t worry, the 138 flagpoles will be enough – in quantity and strength – to hang all those who deserve it when the dictatorship ends!!!!.

    Candido

  12. Yoanis:

    Does anybody knows the meaning of the word “naive”?,,,of course,,,, I’m sure that the answer will be “yes”,,,but in Cuba’s case -as usual- this word has a different ways of interpretation, which could be:

    1-Cruelty :Because the Government has been smart enough during more than 50 years to do a total distortion of the Cuban’s reality, hiding all the crimes and violations performed by their leaders which has been able to create the terror and panic that every Cuban citizen has in his mind.

    2-Intransigense:Because the Government and his leaders have been enough hard, stubborn, and bloodthirsty to keep the people inside of his fist, eating from his hand.

    3-Cynicism: Because the Government and his leaders have been acting in every scenario and performing the best show that anybody can image to hide, and change the Cuban’s situation during more than 50 years.

    4-Hypocrites: Because the Government and his leaders, have been playing the “victims role”, but the reality is that they have been using the confrontation with USA as shield to justify all their mistakes and cruelty.

    5-Cuba’s Government, Fidel Castro, Raul Castro and the rest of the mafia gang, never, ever, will be ready to talk about democracy, freedom, liberties,etc, etc,,,,neverC ever, will be a dialog , as far as the dialog mean “changes”, or “New ways of Government”, or “New strategies to develop the Country”, but the most important of them,,,,as far as it mean “Releasing the power”!!!!!

    Then,don’t worry, the 138 flagpoles will be enough – in quantity and strength – to hang all those who deserve it when the dictatorship ends!!!!.

    Candido

  13. What happen when your boxing match opponent lower arms and does not want to fight anymore? Should we not hug and embraced him?

    The US has lower the barriers so that there could be dialog.

    Why is dialog not happening?

    We know that for both governments having their arms up and ready to fight had produce nothing but misery for the Cuban people in Cuba and here because we do suffer too when our brothers in Cuba suffer.

    How long should it take to stop the inertial movement for the Cuban government?

    Are we changing too fast for them to take a position?
    or are the people in charge in Cuba too old to adjust to the new changes?

    How will a Cuban government survive without a threat of a US enemy to justify a one party system?

    Or is the enemy of the Cuban government what the majority of the people of Cuba think of a government that is incapable of finding solutions to the problems they face daily?
    Or of a leadership that is totally detached from the reality of the average Cuban?

    You will hope that the number one priority of any government is to satisfy the interest of the people it governs but we see that is not the case for the Cuban government.
    They don’t care about Cubans. One have only to read Castro’s reflexions to see this.

    Just think how many times had he reflected in solving the water issue in Cuba or the milk problem etc etc?

    What ever happen to all the request made by Cubans a few years back?

    Like the freedom to enter and exit your own country without special permission?
    and the many other freedoms denied to Cubans?

    How long will it take until Cubans can speak and write freely? without a concern to some government retribution?

    What would happen pr should happen to a government that had always said

    The wolf is coming!, The wolf is coming!

    But we have seen it.. the wolf never came!

  14. from flag’s to building’s,to building’s & bridge’s that need to be constructed faster , it seem’s that no peace has been left for us.Like the price hike is’nt enough , like the pollution is’nt enough,whatever peace we could’ve found in a soothing little park,or just a lonely walk on the beach,has been lost.What else will they take away from us?

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