By Irina Echarry
Since last month there has been concern in the streets. Official news about the global crisis, the scarcity of fuel, the lack of a “conservation” ethic in our culture, possible (almost sure) blackouts…
At the beginning of the 90’s Fidel announced the Special Period in peace time. Many of us didn’t know what that meant, but we learned little by little, until it crept into our lives.
The immediate goal was to resist. And we did.
We had heard the slogan “Resist and Overcome” again and again and again for many years.
We have resisted hurricanes, enemy aggressions, torrential rains, droughts, threats, and financial crisis, both international and national.
In the 90s we left behind better days (we had relied on trade with the Soviet Union and the socialist bloc) and entered into a phase of terrible political and economic relations with the world.
Some Cubans left the island looking for a better life; others had no option but to continue resisting.
These years in which we have had close relations with Venezuela, have given us the impression that we were moving forward. But in 2009, we still have not come out of that awful episode.
Transportation has just now become a bit better in the past months. We continue with one roll of bread per person, although other bread is available for purchase at slightly higher prices.
Last year, after the hurricanes hit, the State once again closed the private neighborhood produce stands that helped provide food to the population for a good while (once they were permitted), in order to supposedly divert all agricultural production to the State produce markets.
What could have been a good solution resulted in chaos, because the State couldn’t provide enough.
Recently, several officials of the Transportation Ministry, with serious expressions, have expressed their desire to maintain their achievements of improved transport, “although it doesn’t only depend on us,” as one railroad company official said.
We still have not recovered. It will take a lot more time and resources. We have only taken 2 or 3 steps forward, and now we have to go backward, knowing this time what a special period within a special period means.
I wonder if we will end up slipping into a psychedelic Beatles experience and travel in newspaper taxis and eat cellophane flowers.
However, we are not the same as we were in the 90’s. The people who walked kilometers and kilometers to get home have grown old. The youth of those times are now adults.
How will the people react in 2009? This is a people fed up with the crisis, the difficulties and the prohibitions. People are sick and tired of resisting.
We want to move forward; we have resisted long enough.