The accounting of the disaster is over and our news programs seem to have entered a rosy period where there is only room for reports of recovery and optimism. Neither regret nor doubt have a place among so many calls to confidence. The opinions and faces shown on TV are carefully selected; they only show those who have something hopeful to say. The phrase “back to normal” is repeated by Party general secretaries, by drivers of trucks loaded with roofing and even by the victims themselves. They try to erase at all costs the “now” to return to the “before” of the two hurricanes.
The truth is that I do not believe that a month ago we had anything resembling “normal.” Furthermore, in the three decades that I have under my belt I do not think I have lived in anything other than what is anomalous. To those who trumpet the word, I would like to ask them if they believe the Special Period* is “normal,” the fear of the zero option,* the endless speeches, the Battle of Ideas, the rallies of repudiation, my friends arming a raft to take to the sea, the “it exists but it doesn’t touch you, or it touches you but it doesn’t exist,” the perennial lines, the promises of change that is not specified, the idle land, the idea of the public square where dissent is treason, speaking in a whisper, the paranoia that everyone could be part of the Apparatus,* travel restrictions, the privileges of a few, the dual currency, the indoctrination in schools, lack of expectations, billboards with slogans that nobody believes and the hope, the expectation, the dreams that sometime everything will arrive at a point close to “normal.”
Special Period: The period following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the loss of its support for Cuba.
Zero Option: A contingency plan from the post-Soviet period that envisioned Cuba surviving “alone” in the world, with its economy cut off from almost all other countries.
Apparatus: State security.