Five Years

“The chocolate is over!” screamed my two friends, as I opened the door that night of July 31, 2006. They were alluding, with their improvised slogan, to the latest plan pushed by Fidel Castro to distribute a chocolate quota to every Cuban through the ration market. When the doorbell rang there were only two hours left before the first of August and Carlos Valenciaga, Fidel’s personal secretary, had already read a proclamation on TV announcing the unexpected illness of the Maximum Leader. The lights at the Council of State remained lit — oddly — and an anomalous silence settled over the city. During that long night, no one could sleep a wink in our house.

As they reached for their second glass of rum, my friends began to count how many times they had planned for that day, predicted that news. He, a singer-songwriter; she, a television producer. Both had been born and grown up under the power of the same president, who had determined even the smallest details of their lives. I listened to them talk and was surprised by their relief, the flood of desires for the future now unleashed. Perhaps they felt more free after that announcement. Time would bring them to understand that while we were chatting about the future, others were ensuring that the package of succession was neatly tied up.

Five years later, the country has been transferred, entirely via blood. Raul Castro has received the inheritance of a nation, its resources, its problems and even its inhabitants. Everything he has done in the last five years stems from the imperative not to lose this family possession, passed on to him by his brother. The slow pace of his reforms, their timidity and superficiality, is marked in part by feeling himself the beneficiary of the patrimony entrusted to him. And what, you wonder, of my friends? When they realized that under the younger brother the repression would continue, that the penalization of opinion would remain intact, they distanced themselves, frightened. Never again did they knock on my door, never again did they enter this place where, in 2006, they had come screaming, believing that the future had begun.


59 thoughts on “Five Years

  1. From a castro speech on Feb. 2nd. 1992, ocation: minint soldier’s funeral.

    Please note the statement & compare w/the actions of “el chancho” (che) executing or ordering the excution of many Cubans during the rebolution’s struggle (struggle lol) & later appointed by castro to run La Cabana for the “cleansing program however before the creation of concentration camps to house just about anyone percevied as an enemy of the rebolution.

    “…How different the behavior of the revolution has been in comparison,
    throughout its history and without exception! During the Moncada assault, the
    first act of war, the prisoners taken at the beginning were respected. In the
    Sierra Maestra, thousands of enemy soldiers were our prisoners, and not one was
    mistreated or murdered. Hundreds of these enemy soldiers owed their lives,
    hundreds of these wounded enemy soldiers owed their lives to the medical care
    and medicine our troops gave them…”

    I always belive some people forget what they say beliving everyone else does too.

  2. FIDEL and his family is who has been MILKING the Cubans and the Island for the last 50+ Years. You can thank Fidel for the destruction and the corrupt system in Cuba.

  3. cuba libre: “had they participated in implementing their leaders visions and ideas for Cuba, maybe Cuba would be a better country to live in today, even better than the way things are now.”

    If the leaders had participated in implementing the people’s visions and ideas for Cuba, it would definitely be a better country to live in today. That’s the idea of democracy.

    The reverse that you described is called a feudal monarchy. Although I have to say the Castros give that system a bad name also.

  4. Imagine that,
    These friends of Yoani celebrate and feast at the news of their leader getting sick and fighting for his life. The person who has been seeing to their needs since the day they were born, or so I beleive since they were born after the revolution. That is the thanks that Fidel gets for having risked his life to rid his country of the capitalist casino owners and drug smugglers who were sifting out every single peso that they could from Cuba.
    Had these so called friends of yours, Miss Sanchez, been grateful for everything Mr. Castro and his brother have done for them, had they participated in implementing their leaders visions and ideas for Cuba, maybe Cuba would be a better country to live in today, even better than the way things are now.

  5. @#43
    as much as u condemn the actions of the US, look east to the actions of the USSR, the massacres commited by the Stalinist repression, I am talking about the “Great Terror” which
    lasted from 1936 to 1939. The majority of victims during this period were from the Communist Party (eh?) the economic ministries, the military, the Communist International, and minority nationalities. No precise numbers yet the official KGB figures for 1937–1938 claim just under 700,000 executed & by the beginning of the 1940s there were about 3.6 million Russians in labor camps and prisons or how about the Ukrainian famines in the early 1930s, which Stalin had planned to crush anti-Russian nationalism?
    Crimes committed by right-wing dictators have always been easier to track down than the crimes against humanity committed by communist leaders, for example: this day the Chinese government has not disclosed how many people were executed by Mao’s red guards during the “cultural revolution” or how about the many people who were killed in Tibet during the Chinese invasion of 1950 or do know how many dissidents have been killed by orders of Kim Il Sung in North Korea, many, many thousands.
    I guess those crimes just to name a few from ur ideological family r not worth mention while u r free to quote & use selective points in history to justify ur hatred … eh pal?
    Keep in mind when u point accusingly w/the finger of ur hand there r three pointing at u

  6. @#43
    Once again misleading to prove a point of urs …

    Agosto 4th, 2011 at 00:17
    “…6060 years to the murderers and criminals against humanity in the Guatemalan civil war.
    Let us just briefly mention here that the civil war in Guateala was started by the usa nazist dictatorship, who had financed and encouraged local generals to rebel AGAINST the democratically elected socialist government…”

    There is no nation in history blameless when it comes to atrocities of any kind, there is also the effort not to repeat them. Many nations have commited crimes yet they evolve using the lessons from the past for a better future.
    U r using the past, ignoring the giant steps forward the achived by international community, u r using the past to twist & justify ur hate filled destructive statements.
    What’s w/u? what makes u to so twisted w/hate? eh … pal?
    U r so liberal w/the use of insults & yet u blush in anger if u feel insulted.
    U claim to know what is best for Cuba & her people & feel free to tell Cubans residing outside Cuba that we have no right to talk because we “are no longer Cubans” yet u are not (by ur own statements) Cuban but u feel qualified.
    What is good for the goose is good for the gander … pal

  7. La la la la la la – La la la la la la (I cant hear you!!)
    My Cherie Amir, loony as a summer’s day
    My Cherie Amir, distant-minded as the Milky Way
    My Cherie Amir, petty little one that I abhore
    You’re the only troll my heart beats up for
    How I wish that you were gone!!
    La la la la la la – La la la la la la (I cant hear you!!)

  8. My D just doesn’t want to stick…


    Just like the true meaning of “Democracy”…

  9. Post 29, Friendly English Translator, if you can ban a user, that is because you can see their IP addresses and block them. You know by now what IP addresses I am using…

    ; )

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