The Star-Spangled Banner was finally raised at Havana’s Malecon ocean drive, against the blue disk of the sea and beneath a tropical sun that beat down on the glass-enclosed building on Calzada and L streets. A few weeks earlier, the Cuban flag had been raised in Washington, D.C.
Howard Zinn told us that neutrality, strictly speaking, doesn’t exist. There is always a point of view —about war, gender equality, civil rights and other matters— that impacts on the selection of events by every historian, as well as on the way they discuss and address these issues.
I’m telling this story about our sound system not because it’s is so significant in itself, but because it fits like a ring in illustrating the problem of services in Cuba. This is one of the areas where citizens have to suffer the torments of slackness, indifference and inefficiency.
In Cuba, the origin of pirated movies and music goes back to the 90s, when these first entered the country in a somewhat coordinated manner. VCR players took the place of the old Beta-format recorders, which could be found here since the 1980s.
But nonviolence in Cuba is not a new phenomenon: it was mentioned for the first time at the end of the 1960s by several Protestant church leaders. They broke with a tradition that had been adopted in the conservative gospel of the North, now being reformed by its Black American adherents, especially the southerners and particularly by the thought and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement.
Not a single yawn was seen in the theater; the silence was like a knife cutting the air, evidence that the new productions have placed their fingers squarely on the wound. Don’t forget: Intelligence is everywhere in Cuba, even in the snout of the caiman, where Guantanamo is located.
Although both sides had kept the meetings discreet, D.C. felt tremors radiating from some Washington offices. Feeling the ground shake, right-wing Cuban-American congressional offices requested the Department of State convene an “immediate informational meeting” on the activities of Bisa Williams to consider if contacts with the Cuban government had risen to “unnecessary levels.”
What is clear is that while average people on this side of the Florida Strait-especially the youngest-welcomed Juanes with his magical golden flute, the Jurassic generation on the other side responded to him with the dark tones of a tuba. Isolation has many avenues, and opinions like these constitute only one part of the fat that separates them from the bone.
The issue of the embargo/blockade has returned to the fore. In August a survey by the firm Bendixen & Associates revealed that Cuban-Americans were divided about its use as a political instrument directed against Havana.
Some say in the US that the embargo or blockade is like a piñata hanging from the ceiling, one which doesn’t have to be pulled down in a single jerk, but just taken apart piece by piece – today an arm, tomorrow a leg, later the head – until it finally falls from its own weight.