Alfredo Fernandez Rodriguez
A friend asked me for my New Year’s predictions for Cuba. I —who don’t include optimism among my strong points— consented to this with what I consider a sound presage.
Let’s imagine that at the end of 2009 the country’s prime minister went before the Cuban people to proclaim, “Next year will be as good as Cubans wish it to be” (instead of what he did say: “This will be a difficult year”). From this supposition, I wrote these notes replete with conjectures and hopes. My predictions are as follows:
1. State measures will allow the establishment of small businesses to the point that urban cooperatives will resolve the country’s transportation problem for the first time in 51 years.
2. Measures taken in the agricultural sector will result in a greater supply of food in the country to the point that having enough to eat ceases to be a problem in Cuban homes.
3. Cubans will make use of their right to travel and corroborate the effects of the world economic crisis, while at the same time seeing the “real world.”
4. Residents of the country’s fourteen provinces will directly elect their First Secretaries (governors).
5. Cuban émigrés are allowed to return to the island regardless of their political positions.
6. The country’s universities are given autonomy, choosing their own presidents and the rest of the faculty who works in them.
7. The duel currency is eliminated, bringing an end to 17 years of “economic apartheid.”
8. Marriage between homosexuals will be approved, as well as the adoption of children by these couples.
9. On November 6, 2010, the group OMNI will organize a march for nonviolence with the unrestricted participation of youth from all areas of the country.
10. Official Cuban discourse is stripped of its belligerent tone when dealing with relations with the United States.
With this wish list I hope I have responded to the difficult request posed by my friend for a national prediction for the year that has just begun. Let’s hope my dreams become reality; and even if they are not fulfilled in 2010, let’s hold the optimism that they don’t delay too much.