The first sun of 2009

Men succeed each other, ideologies collapse, leaders die and speeches get shorter; everything is under the repetitive cycle of the sun that sets and rises again.  When I look from my balcony towards the rising sun, I realize how small we are, how laughable are some peoples’ pretensions of superiority.

Here is the first sun of 2009, the golden circle of light that will survive us all.  I wish you a Happy New Year and may the rays of this dawn warm everyone.


  1. And before that same rising sun heralds in another year, 2010, the people of Cuba will be free, I just know it; the end of the Castro brother’s stupid dictatorship is at hand, and will happen without the bloody murders and persecution that brought them to power. For them the sun is setting; their day is done.

    Long live Cuba and a happy new year to you too.

  2. Nature is bigger and better than all mankind because is god. At the end CUBA will be free and they will have a lot questions to answer we just have to keep the faith. HAPPY 2009. ERES MUY VALIENTE.

  3. Thank you…so generous and loving to make that for us. I have presumed on your
    goodness and posted both todays blog greeting and the movie on Google Maps…
    under ‘Happy New Year’…I just used the general Havana, Cuba address, as I do not
    know the city better to know where you live exactly.

  4. Yes we are indeed small and mostly insignificant in the Gand scheme of things. Yet every now and the a voice rises that speaks to us all from amid the clamor and opens doors that have seemed closed forever. It is the call of the courage of ones convictions. Usually simple, but a simplicity so long unstated that it shines as true and clear as the Sunrise of a new day. I am an American who has lived and studied extensively in Cuba for the last 18 years. I have a Love/Hate relationship with this blessed Island and all all its absurd contradictions and your work Yoani has incited a new level of hope within me.
    Ache’ pa ti Hermana

  5. Happy New Year and I hope with the warmth of the sun it brings some happiness for 2009, takecare and best wishes from England xxx

  6. I am Romanian and I have lived through Ceausescu’s dictatorship. Therefore I know what it is like to live under a dictatorship. Therefore I wish that you remain brave in the face of adversity. La multi ani! (Happy new year!)

  7. Que presente! Me deliciei com esse nascer do Sol, com o som da cidade e de pássaros ao fundo, mas bem discreto. A correria dos nossos dias atuais é tanta que nos esquecemos de acalmar o coração e a mente para ver (e sentir) um presente que a natureza nos dá todos os dias, e não nos cobra nada por isso.

  8. Happy New Year to you Yoani.
    I had the fortune to visit your beautiful country some time ago and I agree that there are many things that are not right…
    The striking difference with the almost neighbouring Miami however should not be the measure of comparison. Poor people here are only more apparently freer than you are in Havana but they are not really. The illusion of freedom in a free country is that one day also a poor person can make it. And that’s it. But for one that makes it, there are are still hundreds of thousand, millions, that don’t and will continue living at the fringes of a society that accepts them only because they do the jobs that the people they aspire to become don’t. A poor person here is allowed to the top floors of the high rise condos overlooking the ocean (and Cuba) only because they are delivering the shopping, or because they are going to do the cleaning.
    I live in England and I am currently spending few days in Miami. I like exploring places I don’t know and I don’t mind getting lost and getting out by asking people, taking public transports and so on. Today I gave up a rental car in Fort Lauderdale and came back walking through places, taking buses and so on. I was observing people on the buses: almost exclusively black and spanish. A couple of white americans were asking for the right stop for the shelter. They were carrying a backpack each. I guess all their belongings were inside those backpacks.
    I sat at various bus stops and noticed that the majority of the people there were no different. Beyond the high rise buildings, in the small streets with no spectacular views, there lies a vast representation of this country. It is not the representation the those who aspire to get more freedom actually look at. Because there is very little interest in this representation. They are not the possibly smartest people because they are rarely educated as much as the “others”. They only make the first page of the press or the top news of the idiotic Fox Channel when something tragic happens. It can be a fire that devastated a poor dwelling killing an entire family, or some story of drugs dealings (because if you’re poor and you stopped dreaming that one day also you can make it, you take a “shortcut” to money and fame).
    These people are freer than you but it is only an illusion. They say it is the imperfection of democracy.
    I believe something will change soon in Cuba. Raul Castro is not going to be there for long. Obama will (must) do someting with the embargo. I just hope that the people of Cuba will strive to keep the principles that fuelled the Revolucion 50 years ago. The USSR is no longer there. Communism seems to have faded. But the principles of socialism remain more solid than ever. 2008 has been disastrous for capitalism. The financial world has collapsed and the cracks permeated to the real economy showing how weak all the wealth we thought we had and took for granted did ot really exist. This system without the rules of a socialist society will lead to further disastrous consequences at social level. Cuba can become an example for the world: you made it despite the hurdles that all the world has made for you. Don’t waste this extraordinary experience just t mock the rest of this failing world.
    Happy New Year

  9. Marco above has a point. I live in New Zealand and visited Cuba this year and absolutely fell in love with the place and its wonderful people. It was a unique experience, especially as we spoke Spanish and mingled and talked with the local Cubanos – their values, wisdom and warm heartedness are remarkable.
    But the desperation of poverty is tangible, and change is inevitable. However if opening to a consumer oriented culture, I really hope that Cuba can avoid corruption, exploitation by corporates, and organized crime. Maybe Cuba can achieve EVOLUTION rather than REVOLUTION? To the beautiful people of Cuba I wish that their dreams may come true….

  10. Happy New Year, Yoani and your translators….my thanks to each of you for your words. As I hope for Cuba to become more open with Obama’s presidency, I also really worry because if you have a closed country that tries then to “compete” with open countries like the US, it can be a disaster in itself. I would cry at the immediate construction of towering homes along Cuba’s pristine beaches built by those who are corrupt enough to rush in and overtake a country that has not trained leaders to manage corporate America (we are a greedy bunch here).

    But being “hungry” literally and figuratively is certain to cause chaos. When Yoani wrote of a copy machine costing $700 I thought of the one in my basement, still in the box, for $29 at Walmart. Or being able to buy hamburgers at McDonald’s for a buck, or glasses at the dollar store for 99 cents. How could any person resist these prices when their children are hungry or need to read the print in a book? Or to see the rows and rows of low priced medications on shelves—small price to pay for a huge ugly store like Walmart in every community??? We are used to it here, though it sickens many of us, and yet we rush to shop there for the low prices we are offered. Cuba is no different except that your country is small, and not impacted, except at Veradaro, by strip malls everywhere, occluding the view of any horizon.

    The last time I was in Cuba I visited with a tour guide I was friends with who said Bush’s 2004 restrictions had nearly put him out of business. I reminded him, if he were free to do so, he could advertise on the Internet and that would have solved his problem right there. In this way Cuba is not ready to jump into the 21st century should/when the embargo go/s away.

    Hopefully, Obama and Cuban leaders will have enough foresight to have leadership boards who will get input from the Cuban people so the riot of Americans wanting a piece of Cuba will be slowed down and in some cases stopped entirely. Yoani, as one of Time Magazine’s most influential people, I hope you will be instrumental in organizing your voice with others who also have international knowledge, so you can help lead the Cuban people to a new democracy in 2009. Bravo to all of you in Cuba, my heart hopes for you and wishes your families enough food, enough medicine, enough education to withstand the revolution that will be upon you. Peace to all.

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