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.

Translator’s note
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.


  1. Merry Christmas! Thank you for continuing to blog, best wishes in the New Year. Hope for change for the better of all. A special thank you also to the translator(s) of your blog to English, it is very much appreciated and they do a terrific job.

  2. When the other people of your island discover how little the government has done for them in 2008, maybe they will demand better for 2009. Many big fires have been started by a small match. This Blog is great and love to read it. Thanks everyone involved.

  3. Hola Yoani,

    they just showed on Swedish TV a Finnish documentary called´Cuba after Fidel´. It was extremely interesting. We saw that you had a blog and here we are leaving a message. We will put your blog in our favorites and follow your posts.

    Happy New Year from Stockholm

  4. Yoani,

    It is disheartening to see that the only voice being heard outside of the island gulag is yours. You are the Aung San Suu Kyi of Cuba, the voice of freedom in face of a fascist regime that has placed an embargo on it’s own people. I’m sure when you began to write about life clandestinely about your life in Cuba you never thought of yourself as a voice of freedom. You have become that, and the state recognizes that yours is the voice of hope for those oppressed, and can not easily be move against you due to your international recognition. Unlike Dr. Oscar Biscet (the Nelson Mandela of the America’s) your voice was first heard outside of the island’s prison wall.

    May God bless you and may your dreams come true in the coming year.

    Feliz Navidad y Prospero Año.

    Que cante mi gente.

  5. @Cuba Libre,

    Actually Yoani’s voice isn’t the only heard outside of Cuba anymore, although, by far she is the most prominent. On my blog I link to a blog called Octavo Cerco, which is also featured in the sidebar here along with two other blogs Desde Aqui and Sin Evasion… All three are currently translated into English and they are all excellent reads if you want to hear more about Cuba from people who are still within the island. Also if you scroll to Yoani’s post A Virtual Island she is organizing a contest for blogger from within Cuba and the judges all have blogs and websites of their own which are listed there if you read Spanish. They’re all worth checking out and all of these people are taking great risks so that those of us who can’t go there can read what Cuba is really like.

  6. Yoani:
    Nothing changes until it changes, for whateve reason… change does happen in everything at some point or other. This is the clue to everything, TIME…and, time is a limited factor for the life of a human being. Almost half a century without freedom is not acceptable. People are born and die in Cuba without seeing change…born, live and die on the island. Unless they made it out, no change has happened. Perhaps the USA exiles could realize that the important thing here is the lives of cubans IN Cuba; the rest escaped elsewhere so once they have their cars/AC/steady income/pensions etc they remember their past but dont LIVE IT nor are they IN IT. To look for change via another country is to idealistic…to think that change from within is impossible is to unrealistic…the whole question is what price do you pay for change and isn’t half a century of no-change to high a price to pay when you see what has happened in Cuba. There is always a way and to think differently is not to have the hope of change for such a difficult almost-five decades. There can be no getting-used to a situation like that, there can be no patience for half a century…it’s fine to say that sooner or later things will improve but that implies just waiting or hoping that an outside-factor decides the future…keep on waiting if someone thinks like that; proof: 50 years almost. We all pray that change happens, happens FAST, Cordially, Ymmot

  7. Dear Yoani,

    I just discovered your excellent blog and will continue reading it with much interest as I have a cuban boyfriend living in Havanna. Your blog is making me realise even more how truly difficult every day life is and how complex the political situation is. I have already discovered many inconveniences in trying to keep contact with my boyfiend, it’s practially impossible and outragingly expensive to send money or clothes to him and his family and not speaking of the difficulties of communicating (no access to MSN, Skype, Facebook etc – calling is extremely expensive nad a luxury I can only afford a few times). I recently came back from Havanna (in November) and have also been there in the 90ies. Each time I’ve been to Cuba I’ve been well received and it strikes me how friendly and caring people are although the situation.

    I wish you all the best with your writing and hopefully a better 2009 with some radical changes in Cuba for the Cubans,

    Feliz Nuevo Ano 2009!

    from Stockholm, Sweden

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