The seven passing by Thebes

The visit of seven members of the United States Congress to our country has intensified expectations about an avalanche of American tourists.  The owners of rooms for rent calculate the potential earnings and the taxi drivers dream of those chewing gum who leave generous tips.  At Terminal Two in José Martí Airport some have already arrived, confident of the early relaxation of travel restrictions to Cuba.  People have nicknamed these early visitors “the brave ones”; I don’t know if it’s for the risk they’ve assumed in the face of the laws of their country or because of their audacity in coming to an Island where, according to the official version, they’re “the enemy.”

The expected “normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States” must occur mainly between the two administrations.  At the level of the people, we’ve been in agreement for some time, it’s only our leaders who fail to realize it.  Our Nation is bi-territorial, given the large number of compatriots living in the United States.  Hence, the Cuban side is more interested in the relationships flowing on both sides of the Straits of Florida.  However, it seems that Obama will take the first step, not Raúl.

I have difficulty calling to mind a single day in these last fifty years without the warning that the powerful neighbor was thinking of invading us.  What will happen with the slogan, “Cuba Si!  Yankees No!”, with the imported shout of “Gringos” when we are all greeting them here cordially, the “yumas”?  Most of the political speeches of the last fifty years would become anachronistic and there wouldn’t be any “boogeyman” with which to frighten schoolchildren. What will the party militants think if they’re ordered to accept those whom, until recently, they hated.  How can David look good in the photos if, instead of the stone and the slingshot, he sits down to talk to Goliath.

Curiously, I don’t see anyone on the streets upset in anticipation of these changes.  The nervousness is only among those who have used the confrontation to stay in power.  Rather, I observe the joy, the hope, the slight impression that the distance between Miami and Havana might become smaller and more familiar.


  1. ***
    Hi Yoani–I hope things will get better for the Cuban People like you. I think the politicians who visited Cuba are socialist traitors to the U.S.A. They want my country to copy the Cuban communist government. They did not talk to you, and will sell out your liberty. They like the Cuban government.
    Hola Yoani–Quiero que cosas van a mejorar por la gente Cubano como usted. Pienso que los politicos quines visitaba Cuba son traidores socialistas a los Estados Unidos. Quieren que mi pais copiara el gobierno communista de Cuba. No hablaba con usted, y van a vender su libertad. Estan a gustos con el gobierno Cubano.

  2. John — let’s not fall into the rhetoric of the tyrants. These congressional representatives are not “traitors” — they may be dense, misguided, misinformed, and all kinds of things. But they are not traitors. They are patriotic Americans voted into office by hundreds of thousands of their fellow citizens — also patriotic Americans.

    Attack their ideas, their behavior, but not their persons.

  3. Hola Yoani. Me conoces porque me tienes en tu lista de amistades en myspace. Le mande a Don Lemon reportero de CNN este comentario sobre estos congresistas Afro Americanos que fueron a Cuba a darse la lengua con los hermanos Castros.
    Don , I ask myself , now that the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus is visiting Cuba and meeting with the prehistoric Fidel Castro, Why dont they also ask to meet with Dr Oscar Elias Biscet an Afro Cuban doctor that in 2003 was placed in prison and serving 25 years just for asking Castro and his brother for free elections and change in Cuba. Dr Oscar Elias Biscet is one of hundreds of Afro Cuban prisoners of consience that are sentenced to many years in prison just for asking for political change in Cuba. I ask everyone who has a heart to please ask the U.S.

    Congressional Black Caucus to stand up for the rights of these sisters and brothers who are serving time in prison in Cuba just for asking for a free and democratic Cuba!!!! CUBA LIBRE!!!!

  4. From media reports I’ve read so far, seems to me the visiting congress people set back the cause of those of who -like me- think the US embargo and travel restrictions are counter-productive and should end. Perhaps unwittingly and completely unnecessarily, they allowed their visit to be used as propaganda coup by the Castro regime. Frankly, shame on them. Americans have a right to expect better from their congressional representatives.

    At the same time, I’m pleased that Yoani emphatically says it’s time for the Cuban and American people to normalize relations. If only certain members of the US Congress could be as clear-headed in their thinking as Yoani.

  5. The spam filter seems to have nabbed my last post ……….. hmmmm , was a good one


    My friends , take a look at this video from a ‘CANADIAN COMPANY’. It makes me sick , and being a Canadian I am even more sick.
    If this is a shade of what is to come if the Americans land …………. oh , oh ,
    Salud , donn

  6. Confused may be the word that describes these legislators. As if they did not have enough on their plate with the recession going on, I would think their constituents have higher priorities such as finding work, getting proper training for a job, or simply taking care that they don’t loose their homes.

    But maybe, just maybe inspite of the dictator’s grandstanding and phony bravado in their declarations, the regime is nervous about these visitors, chewing their nails unsure of how to react. Having these people visiting, ambassadors of the “big monster” up north, offering friendship. How could this be? What do they do now? This is not like the cozy old days when the Russians warships were in Habana harbor.

    We’ll find out….

  7. With this many cubans living in the USA and patriotic for both countries I wonder how long it will be before Cuba is a state of the USA.

  8. Is not the first time Americans legislators visit Cuba
    Jesse Jackson was there too and president Carter seem to have travel already multiple times and many others.

    I think is good for the Cuban people to see these 7 so they can appreciate how much freedom people in this great country have. They can seat at the same table and have dinner with “enemies” without any problem.

    Could it be possible for a few from the Cuban general assembly to come here and do the same?
    that is to come here and ask the Castro brothers for the release of all political prisoners, freedom of expression for all Cubans, freedom of the press, free elections etc

    without being asked for their resignation letters afterward?
    I guess we all know the answer to that one.

    On the other hand I do agree that we should not have embargo and that we should all be allow to travel to Cuba as much as we want and send as much as we want.

    When any government tells its citizens what country they should travel or should not, is very similar to what we all complain the Cuban government is guilty of doing to its citizens and that is basically wrong.

    It should be each individual personal choice if they like to travel to Cuba or not, and not a imposition by the government.

    As for the embargo we know is useless then why continue on that path?
    I think we could do better than that.

  9. Silent:

    This is the first time legislators go to Cuba while a sitting president is talking about opening up bridges and travel, partial lifting of the embargo, there is talk of meeting with hitherto enemies, etc. In addition, there are no great saviors backing the regime, except perhaps for Chavez, but he’s in trouble with the price of oil the way it is.

    Defenitely anyone has the right to travel anywhere they want. But it’s interesting that these representatives are so obsessed with the regime in such an obtuse way, that it seems the go straight from the airport to visit each of the Castros, then maybe some staged industrial facility, then head straight back home. Like I said earlier, there maybe a purpose to which we are not privy at this point.

  10. #3 John Two.
    Yours is not a good argument. You have to understand your enemy in order to attack them. Fidel and his regime and many people in this USA, use the false pretext of the Embargo. There is nothing I can do if this Administration decides to do away with the Embargo but I can assure you and the rest that share your sentiment that if is not the Embargo, they will create a new issue to bitch about it, nothing will stop them to continuously attack the United States.
    If for some reasons the Embargo is lifted, Fidel and Raúl will appear on CNN to denounce the Imperialist and complain about not receiving enough credit from our banks or that the interest charged by Financial institutions are excessive and that we are trying to bankrupt the Cuban economy, bla, bla, bla.
    Few years after the Embargo is lifted and with an enormous debt to this United States they will advise our banks their inability to pay their debt and the name of our country will be added to the list of previous contributors to their cause.

    If you are not sure of what I am talking about it, ask China, Germany, Spain, Italy, France (just to name a few) and many other nations that have lend a hand and in response they have not even been paid the interest on their loan.
    Cuba’s propaganda will continue no matter if the Embargo is lifted or not.

  11. Cold in Chicago

    If you notice one of them mentioned when they got back that they wanted to see if there was pre-conditions by the Cuban government to open relations. I think that may have been the objective of the trip.
    They were probably asked to go and check to see how warm was the Castro government to the idea of relations with the “enemy”. They also wanted to know if they were really interested or if they were just doing a show.

    We will see how the Obama administration will react.

    I am not sure where some people do come up with observations like the Cubans in Miami this and that.
    Its my believe that only a minority of the Cubans in Miami will be oppose to relations etc.

    Why should a minority imposed on the rest of us their hatred or self interest.

    I keep saying, there is other path that can be explored.
    Is time to end this.

  12. The US Congressional visit by the Black Caucus was an outright embarrassment to the US and especially those Cuban Americans concerned with the civil rights of the island population. Yoani, I can only hope that the Caribbean Stalin’s – aka Castro Brothers will relent soon and abandon their failed policy. So too should the US lift restrictions. The Black Caucus was hypocritical in their approach… they gave credibility to a dictatorship government stilled ruled by an overwhelming white class over a large poor, and un-empowered black population.

  13. Just to illustrate my point about Cubans in Miami not supporting the existing policy of embargo


    “Cuban-American leaders could use more help in their shrinking corner — especially after a new Florida International University (FIU) poll showed that, for the first time, a majority of Miami Cubans oppose continuing the 47-year-old U.S. trade embargo against Havana.”

    So it seems only a minority of the Miami Cubans are oppose to the change towards better relations with Cuba and different solutions to the problems we face.

  14. About my comment above about the objective of the legislators trip

    read this

    “Our purpose was to see if there were preconditions on the Cuban side. We heard that there were no preconditions,” Lee said Wednesday. “And, in fact, we wanted to find out if they were interested. We have to remember that every country in Latin America, 15 countries, have normal relations with Cuba. … We’re the country which is isolated.”

  15. how hard would it have been to see the Ladies in White, how hard would it have been to ask about Dr Biscet or Atunez ? That they talked about Dr Kings words and made no mention of Biscet who is in prison for teaching about those words, that says it all. Maybe they are not traitors to our country, but they did betray those principles put forth in the Constitution.

    The Embargo has not failed, otherwise the despots in Havana would not constantly invoke it as the source of all of their problems. What they want is access to credit. If “lifting ” the embargo means that the Cuban people still have to shop for everything at the state store, at the state price. That Cuban farmers must still sell all their produce to the state store , at the state price. Then what sort of change is that ? If lifting the embargo meant that US companies could set up stores and sell directly to the citizens of Cuba, buy produce directly from Cuban farmers, employ Cuban workers, then I would be all for it. If it does not mean that, what are you people really asking for ?

    I watched the video from Canada, those cliffs where they want to build their golf course are limestone full of tropical caves. You think the same environmental protections for sensitive groundwater resources are going to be enforced as at any other carribbean country ?

  16. Is it no wonder that Attorney Greg Craig of Obama’s cabinet is the same as that hired by Fidel to represent the Father of child Elian Gonzalez found floating on an inner tube in the Atlantic ocean after his mom perished at sea, seeking liberty. The People in CUBA is who needs more Rights, and especially the BLACKS who are treated like third class citizens.

  17. Who could had said that the aging Black Panthers ( B. Rush, B. Lee, volunteer at the Oakland chapter of the Black Panther Party’s Community Learning Center and worked on Panther co-founder Bobby Seale’s 1973 Oakland mayoral campaign) would come to the rescue of their “Comrade in Arms” Castro?

    Could it be payback time for the support Castro provided to the Panthers, or the time Hew Newton spent in Cuba?

  18. I have just read a novel by the wonderful Jose Latour. One section has a character reflecting that an end to the embargo would be the Chief’s worst nightmare. He’d have no more excuses.

  19. Do you think that Cubans political was the problem and not the USA enbarg against Cuba?
    You are a stupid reactionary masked by intellectual
    Your country is too good to you, so there is no dictatorship which you speaks, you are nothing for Cuba so you can write because you are nothing, The revoulution against the power Usa in Cuba and South America is all, W Cuba W Che Guevara, W Fidel, W Raul!!

  20. Fidel and Raul Castro are murders that are killed thousands of persons, and more than 200 are suffering prison only for think different.

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