By candlelight


I haven’t been able to sleep since three o’clock in the morning.  The phone started ringing within minutes of when Granma posted the latest thoughts of Fidel Castro.  From that moment I could not go back to bed.  It is difficult to think clearly when you get up before the crack of dawn, so I am still at the stage of “pinch me to see if I’m awake.”  My friends aren’t much help, waking me up and harassing me with questions, as if anyone on this island might have “answers” to something.

All of my life I have had the same president.  Not just me, but my Mom and Dad – born in 1957 and 1954 respectively – do not remember any other than the one who, today, has resigned his position.  Several generations of Cubans have never asked the question of who will govern them.  Nor do we have many doubts about which person will occupy the highest post, but at least there is someone who appears to be ruled out once and for all.  As in one of those films by Alfred Hitchcock, we have heard, only five days before the elections, that our disciplined parliamentarians will face a different ballot; that they will not have to mark the box next to the “same” candidate.

Despite being nearly asleep on my feet, I managed to realize that today has closed a cycle.  It is worth asking whether the new one that begins will wear our names, will take the course of our desires, or will last another fifty years.

For the moment I close my eyes and I already feel much lighter.

Text on the billboard:  Socialism or Death

Text above the pink and white hut:  Towards the future

Translator’s note:  Granma is Cuba’s daily morning paper.

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