Let the Skies Fill with Airplanes

Alfredo Fernandez

Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES, Feb 1 — A few years ago, when a student asked the president of the island’s National Assembly when would Cubans have a real chance to travel, the nation’s highest legislator responded with a paroxysm: “If everyone in the world could do that, the skies would be filled with airplanes!”

As for me in particular, I wouldn’t mind living with less sunlight, especially if this were because so many planes were flying around. That would be a sign of respect for the right of every citizen to travel freely.

Personally, I’m 36 years old and I’ve never been travel beyond the Isla de la Juventud, to the south of our mainland; and to Cayo Jutias, just off the northern coast of Cuba.

The right to travel is so basic that it’s enshrined in Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – in this case within paragraphs 1 and 2, which read:

–  Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

–  Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

So I repeat — with all due respect to the environmentalists — if by satisfying this right “the skies of the world become filled with airplanes,” I don’t care, because I believe that a right is above any ideology, political party or government.

A right is born with me and it can never be taken away. It’s not a possibility, such things are almost always distant, abstract, and usually take place under circumstances created by an individual or group that enjoys blocking people’s potential rights on whatever grounds.

A right always has to be there, for when you need it.  So when for some reason I need to use it, all I have to do is whip out my passport and take it to the embassy of whatever country to which I hope to travel; that embassy then becomes the only entity that can decide whether I can visit that country or not, never a Cuban official from the Ministry of Interior.

Therefore — begging forgiveness from of my beloved ecologist friends and especially from our president of the National Assembly of “People’s Power,” Ricardo Alarcon — let me be the one who exclaims “Let the skies fill up with airplanes all around the world.”

This would assure a right that, at least since December 1948, should never have been taken away from us Cubans.


Alfredo Fernandez

Alfredo Fernandez: I didn't really leave Cuba, it's impossible to leave somewhere that you've never been. After gravitating for 37 years on that strange island, I managed to touch firm ground, but only to confirm that I hadn't reached anywhere. Perhaps I will never belong anywhere. Now I'm living in Ecuador, but please, don't believe me when I say where I am, better to find me in "the Cuba of my dreams.

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