A few days ago the foreign press revealed that when the Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos traveled to Havana, a message from the American administration came with him. It suggested that our leaders take steps to improve civil liberties in order to move in the direction of ending the dispute between our countries. The hidden message was not mentioned in the official Cuban media which, at that time, heightened the critiques of the economic sanctions imposed by the United States. It is these trade restrictions, so clumsy and anachronistic in my judgment, that can be used as justification both for the setbacks in productivity and to repress those who think differently. I am struck, however, that on market shelves the labels and the fourpacks reveal what the anti-imperialist rhetoric hides: much of what we eat says, “Made in USA.”
Never before have we had so much riding on the ups and downs of Washington or Wall Street. In reality, the vaunted sovereignty of this island and the supposed example of independence we show to the rest of the world hide how dependent we are on that nation where thousands of our compatriots live. To the extent that the political slogans against the Yankees become stronger, people become more interested in the economic and migratory flow that has been established between the two shores. The Florida Straits seem to separate us, but in fact there is an invisible bridge of affection, material help and information that links this island to the mainland.
The poor people’s shoemaker was born a couple of years before the United States broke relations with our country, but the glue he uses for repairs was sent to him by a brother in Miami. The flash memory that young man hangs around his neck he received from a “Yuma”, an American, who docked his yacht at the Hemingway marina; the hairdresser on the corner sent to New Jersey for her dyes and creams. Without that flow of products and remittances, many people around me would be begging and neglected. Even the whiskey that the highest Party leaders drink exhibits the unmistakable seal of the forbidden.