Of equinoxes and grandchildren

They took Adolfo one morning six years ago, after raiding his home as if it were that of a dangerous terrorist.  There were neither weapons, nor chemical substances in his poor home in Central Havana, but his papers bore witness to many opinions, written without permission.  They indicted him with the same urgency that—in those same days—they shot three young men for hijacking a boat to emigrate to Florida.  It was near the equinox but to all of us it seemed so dark that we could only call it one thing: The Black Spring of 2003.  Not even the war in Iraq managed to obscure the news for the families and friends of the seventy-five prisoners.  The old trick, so often and successfully repeated, of taking advantage of everyone looking the other way, didn’t work.

From his prison in Ciego de Ávila, he called this week to tell us that his daughter Joana is going to have a baby.  He probably won’t be able to see this baby get its first tooth, due to the stubbornness of those who condemned him to fifteen years.  His release has been converted into a bargaining chip, saved for a political game that no one knows how or when it will be played.  Only one man, dying and therefore stubborn, seems to have the ability to decide his release from prison.  For that fading old man, the future of Adolfo—free and living in a plural Cuba—must hurt more than the needles of the serums and injections.  Despite the enormous power of this octogenarian patient, he cannot prevent the grandchild of this humble English professor from seeing him only as one more name in the history books, as the capricious caudillo who put his grandfather behind bars.

March has not turned out to be the month in which the days last as long as the nights, because a persistent eclipse of freedoms has settled itself on all of us.  I look and look but it continues to seem that we are in the midst of the solstice and the penumbra.  Far ahead, I manage to see my children and those of Joana under a persistent light, calling to us.


  1. I remember it well. Both the European Union and the United States responded by tightening sanctions or reducing links. Unfortunately, fat-cat Spanish multinationals, desperate to rip-off Castro’s serfs (a long-standing complaint among whom is that, while Castro is paid in hard-currency and has thus become a billionaire, his indentured peasants are insulted with his almost worthless scrip, and have to slave for the foreign capitalists for three days to buy, for example, a bottle of milk), persuaded the incoming leftist administration to abrogate its responsibilities. Eventually, the EU effort disintegrated and, on the very day sanctions were lifted, the triumphant Stalinists rounded up another group of hapless Cubans. Obama is in the process of lifting the US response.
    Of course the Cuban regime is devoid of the remotest shred of humanity and, to them, a person is nothing but a “bargaining chip.” However tempting, however, the civilized world must resist any temptation to respond. Castro will find plenty more victims where the present crop of prisoners came from.
    One point – the various sanctions that a few countries apply are largely symbolic and were never likely to overthrow the Communists. As such, the don’t “fail.” So long as the Politburo thugs whinge about them, they are worth keeping.

  2. The Castro’s do not have time on their side. People are leaving even their closed knit ranks in droves. Just last night there was a recently arrived Colonel being interviewed on satellite TV, who was one Castro’s personal bodyguards, describing the life of luxury the brothers enjoy, including a private island (Cayo Piedra) with olympic size pool, helicopter pad and two private, teak lined yachts, and fleet of Mercedes automobiles, all bought with drug money. I looked at the island on Google Earth, but it’s too blurry to see detail. Maybe someone has access to a better picture, and if they do, please circulate the link so they might possible see it in the island.

    It would be nice if someone took charge and dethroned these two weak old dictators. Either directly, or simply by allowing them to get themselves in serious trouble, as given their decayed intellect at this point in their lives, they are bound to do.

    In the meantime, lets call their bluff and allow free travel so we can all take part in disseminating reality throughout the island. Not for the purpose that the vultures in Spain envision, – i.e. fat cats enriching themselves and cheap, low class tourists taking advantage of desperate women. But rather to help the country out, by buying from private vendors, staying in private homes, and shunning government run businesses wherever possible.

  3. Carbo Servia dice: 19 Marzo 2009 a las 19:47

    #72 Michael N. Landis dice: 19 Marzo 2009 a las 18:03

    ………….!Hasta La Victoria Siempre!…………….. (che guevara’s preferred utopia)

    (Written TODAY by comrade landis under Yoani’s post “Notice of Repairs”… that means ….. 5 posts ago!!!!!!!!!!!)

    I knew it!!!!… this guy uses to sneaks in old pages and try to left “the last comment” in order of avoid uncomfortable replays from other commenter and in such way make believe eventual readers that his comment can’t be rebated!!!!
    It is a castroll’s normal tactic; I have seen it many times in the spanish site……… take notice of this John 2!!!!!!!

    But for our Che freak comrade landis have I very bad news…. I left Cuba not too long ago and I know perfectly that the only birds that still fearful fly Havana’s sky are the uneatable sparrows. The same can witness whoever of the hundred of thousand cubans that has left the island in the last decade WE WILL NOT ALLOW YOU LIE HERE. Yes we know the special period in not now so hard as it were in the 90’s, we know the people now can find better things to eat than cats or condoms but as you self reckoned it was a time were cats had it very hard. It was a time that Havana’s sky were crossed by band of wild birds of any class, Havana’s rivers were full of milliards of tropical fishes and streets alleys were cat country. But all this despaired thanks the “good job” of your beloved tyranny, the same “good job” your admired che guevara did when he enjoyed exterminating the cuban youth in La Cabaña prison were you confessed been reclined on a tree seeing birds and maybe trying to imagine your self helping the che killing no cats but people.

  4. Sorry guys, you know what? All of these Johnny come latter’s were benefitting until not long ago from all the freebies that the system and their bosses provide them. They are as guilty as their bosses as far as I am concerned. Send them back.

  5. Re: “Johnny come latter’s” comment

    I can understand your concern about people who up til recently may have been “sleeping with the enemy” or even have been the enemy themselves, coming here and making declarations. Nevertheless, gotta keep a cool head about this. Do not make the mistake of not talking to, welcoming and/or not using what is essentially a discredit and setback to the regime, against them. Everyone is entitled to change their minds, some sooner than later. These folks look like they were born, if not during the revolution, at least just prior. Anyway, it doesn’t make a difference, humans are what they are. Some of us first dated girls at age fourteen, others at twenty. What are you going to do, hang a chain with a label around the neck of the guy who’s a late bloomer. Come on. don’t be like the hot heads, you’re bigger and smarter than that.

    Anyway, right now, I’m sure the appropriate authorities are beaming these broadcasts to Cuba via satellite, regular TV, etc. Since many of these personalities are well known in Cuba, if people are informed as to what the Castro’s get away with right under their noses, it could make a difference in people’s attitudes.

    Gotta play the game and keep your eyes on goals and objectives, not petty issues. This is not to say that if someone has directly committed serious crimes that they should not be persecuted.

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