Kabir Vega Castellanos
HAVANA TIMES — Although the repeal of the “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy had undoubtedly been the result of long negotiations between the Cuban and US governments, it seemed to have happened within the blink of an eye for the Cuban people.
I’ve been trying to find out what people I know think about this change. Everybody knows what this apparently “open door” on the horizon has meant for years; it has incited thousands of Cubans to cross the sea.
The majority of the young people who gave me their opinion were disappointed by this event. They don’t believe that this measure will encourage more urgent and inevitable changes to take place. They don’t think they’ll have ever be able to feel like they will have a future in the country where they were born. They dryly claim that “this” is going to carry on like it always has and that the only hope they had has been crushed.
Others, from different generations, reacted with indifference. Some because they never thought that they would leave by illegal means (although they have admitted that they would like to emigrate), others because they have more or less comfortable means to get by which only work here, others because they hope to leave through the Cuban family reunification parole program and feel like this change won’t affect them.
Only a small of group of more opinionated adults thought that it is now the time to face our problems instead of looking for a solution at sea. They said that in spite of constantly complaining about the same things, the Cuban people never see demanding change, starting a dialogue and doing away with their apathy. Incredibly enough, it’s easier to embark on a suicidal journey, putting even small children who don’t know what they are about to face at risk, and dream (like those who bet everything they have on the lottery) about setting foot on dry land 90 miles away.
It’s true that the sudden repeal of the “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy has left many completely abandoned. Those who sold their homes, choosing to travel using underground migration networks and are now stuck half-way on their way to the “Yuma”. The same goes for those who also sold their homes or other assets and haven’t even been able to leave the country.
I’ve read in the news that even those who have managed to reach the US are now being repatriated. All of these people are begging the US Father to not be so hard-cutting, to let them make the dream they’ve been chasing come true. Will there be an exception for them? It doesn’t look like it.
It’s a tricky and very unfortunate situation. Losing your home, traveling God knows how long or in what conditions, facing all kinds of danger, just to come back in the end empty-handed.
Now I ask myself, once they get back, what will happen? Not only with those who have been deported but with those of us who stay in Cuba for one reason or another.
Will we finally protest against what has affected us for so many years or will we continue to search for alternative escape routes?
Some people are already saying that the repeal of this policy isn’t anything serious, that Trump has promised that he will reinstate this policy once again. I don’t know if that’s true, but I still can’t get my head around the fact that our fate always depends on the United States.