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Yoani Sanchez

Yoani Sanchez

Posted: June 13, 2009 08:07 PM

Cubans Wait Uneasily Through Power Cuts and Food Shortages, Their Dreams Deferred


I'm thirty-three with two gray hairs. I've spent at least half my life wishing for a change on my Island. In the summer of 1990, I peeked out the shutters of my house at the corner of Lealtad and Lagunas, when people's shouting made me think of a revolt. From there I saw rafts carried on shoulders to the sea and saw the police trucks controlling the nonconformity. The anxious faces of my family foretold that soon the situation would evolve, but instead the problems became chronic and solutions were postponed. After I had my son, between blackouts and calls of "don't despair," I understood that it would only happen if we ourselves could make it happen.

This June has begun very similar to those dark years of the Special Period.* Uneasiness, power cuts in some neighborhoods, and a general sensation that we are going downhill. I'm no longer that fearful and passive teenager whose parents said so many times, "Go to bed, Yoani, today we have nothing to eat." I'm not inclined to accept another era of slogans and empty plates, of a city stopped by lack of fuel and stubborn leaders with full refrigerators. Nor do I think of going anywhere, so the sea will not be the solution in my case for this new cycle of calamities which is starting.

The restless seed of Teo will soon fertilize a woman to create another generation that waits. I refuse to believe that there will be adults looking out the window hoping for something to happen, Cubans full of dreams deferred.

Translator's note:
Special Period: FIdel Castro called the extremely difficult era after the fall of the Soviet Union and the loss of its monetary support for Cuba, "A Special Period in a time of peace."

Yoani's blog, Generation Y, can be read here in English translation.