Today could be the 3rd of June or the 9th of September, because there are hardly any signs that it is Christmas. Few, very few, offer holiday greetings in the street. Compared to December 25th of last year, this is a lifeless day with fewer expectations for the future. More than twelve months have passed since we predicted–in the privacy of family and friends–anticipated reforms that have turned out to be a mobile phone or a room in a hotel that we can’t afford.
Today the rooster will crow for a people whose actions are reduced to the deliberately complacent verb: to wait. Meanwhile, my address book fills with the phone numbers of friends who have emigrated and our president jumps like a caged cat when they speak to him of imprisoned dissidents. What little progress we’ve made in 2008! What a ridiculous marching in place we’ve managed, right up to December.
Cuba, like other Spanish-speaking countries, traditionally celebrates Christmas on December 24, Noche Buena [Good Night], which ends at midnight with La Misa del Gallo [The Mass of the Rooster ]. Tradition holds that the only time the rooster crowed at midnight was to announce the birth of Jesus.