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Yoani Sanchez

Yoani Sanchez

Posted: May 18, 2009 04:10 PM

In Cuba, the Party "Faithful" Must be Bribed to "Believe"


2009-05-18-mascaras.jpg
I read the exchange between Silvio Rodriguez--who didn't receive a U.S. visa in time to sing at Pete Seeger's 90th birthday party--and Adrian Leiva about the constraints on entering and leaving Cuba. In recent months, this has been one of the themes most discussed in Generation Y. I've come to be, to my regret, a specialist in every nuance of the restrictions on traveling outside the island. After checking around and verifying that these migratory restrictions don't enjoy any popularity and that even an ex-parliamentarian has declared himself unhappy with them, the question I ask myself is why are they still in place?

The answer that occurs to me comes from a simple question: What will my neighbor--a communist party militant who's never been sent on an official trip--think if I succeed in accepting one of my invitations from abroad? What will happen to his ideological "loyalty" if he finds it's not a prerequisite to step foot outside of Cuba? It will be a hard blow to him to see all those now on the black list of those who may not enter Cuba, arriving loaded down with gifts.

If applauding no longer wins you the privilege of buying a new refrigerator, spending a couple weeks at the beach, or receiving an incentive trip to the countries of Eastern Europe, what then is the advantage of maintaining the mask? I can only conclude that permission to exit or enter the country is one of the last dikes of containment, so that the waters of free behavior do not wipe out everything. The fear of not being granted the "white card" has remained one of the few reasons to keep faking it.

In Silvio Rodriguez' blog: the letter from Adrian Leiva and Silvio's answer are here.

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