You too, Carlos?

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We spent Tuesday between the phone ringing and friends coming over to tell us that Carlos Otero, the best known presenter on Cuban TV, had asked for asylum in the United States. This has been the news that has circulated the fastest by word of mouth in the last few months, maybe because it concerns a man of the media. He had come to be the only one who, in our sleepy programming, had a space with his own name: “Carlos y punto.” [Carlos and full stop.]

Accustomed as I am to seeing some of my friends leave each year, I am not surprised that this “man of success” has chosen the road to exile. His decision looks like that of many who have understood that here they have no future, who have come to realize that Cuba is not a country where dreams can come true. I confirm this every time I ask my acquaintances about their plans and I hear, more than half the time, the phrase, “What I want is to leave.” This answer grows alarmingly when we ask those who are younger.

This continuous bleeding that every month takes away the youngest, the boldest and, why not say it, the most talented, is proof that the well being of the people is not the center of attention of the Cuban government. Political elements, ideology, and past evidence of loyalty are prioritized above the “here” and “now” of our needs. As long as “up there” they don’t recognize that they haven’t been able to build a country where people want to stay and use their energies, the problem of emigration will not be solved.

How many will have to leave so that we can hear the phrase, “We failed, we haven’t been able to give a future to Cubans.” I suspect, because I know the hardheadedness that comes with too many years in power, that not even this desolated postage stamp of an island full of tired and aged people, with their children living in other latitudes, will make the Cuban government come to reason. I imagine the accusations of “sold to imperialism” and “traitor” that will be heard these days in the Institute of Radio and Television, while talking about the exiled newscaster.

They don’t know that with the exit of Carlos Otero, those who stay feel the island to be increasingly empty and terribly boring.

53 thoughts on “You too, Carlos?”

  1. Hola! Te dejo este comentario solo para darle un calorcito a la version en inglés tambien. Espero que estés bien.

  2. I live in south florida and have lots of experience with cubans and love the way they love this country. I’ve always wondered how our military would be received if they were to bring a couple of wal-marts
    with them as they convince your military not to take sides while the cuban people decide their fate after Fidel

  3.  ?El artículo sobre este blog es leído por mí, y sospecho, millones de americanos en el Wall Street Journal de hoy. Es asombroso para mí que nos sentamos y por permitir que el totalitarismo tan cerca de nuestro país. Hay muchos aquí que no son cubanos, pero sí de atención.

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  5. Me gusta tu blog, pero me impacta el leer y reconocerme en este post. Soy mexicana y el problema de la emigracion por cuestiones politicas y falta de recursos economicos no es exclusivo de Cuba. Es tan paradojico. Muchos mexicanos de nuestra generacion ven a Cuba como un ejemplo de resistencia. Pero al leerte, no puedo evitar pensar que somos la otra cara de la misma moneda.

    Si hablas con los mexicanos de hoy en dia, lo primero que se piensa es salir del pais, porque el pais no promete mucho a futuro, a pesar de ser “libres” tenemos nuestros suenios negados, y eso que tambien tenemos la supuesta “libertad de expresion”, que es entonces, que nos hace falta? Admiro a la gente como tu que tiene el valor de luchar desde adentro. Yo, como muchos, deje Mexico hace cinco anios y me duele ver el futuro de mi pais. Tambien me pesa leer la prensa extranjera y ver que se elogia de manera incuestionable a la derecha sin ponerse a ver la realidad de la gente comun y corriente que lucha dia a dia por solventar sus necesidades basicas. Claro somos mucho mas privilegiados que los hermanos cubanos en muchas cosas pero tambien carecemos otras tantas mas, como es la educacion y el pensamiento libre que con ello viene.

    De que sirve la libertad de expresion si el pensamiento no es libre para expresarse?

    Un abrazo solidario!

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