Me, I like the “Yumas” (Gringos)

Veronica Vega

Raul Castro annouces on December 17th his decision to mend fences with the United States.

HAVANA TIMES – The reaction of many people to the sudden official announcement of a rapprochement between Cuba and the USA brings to mind a line from a popular reggaetón song: “A mí me gustan los yuma.” [“I like the yumas”]

I confess that when I watched Raul Castro’s speech, my first question was whether those who had spent decades repeating that shopworn discourse about the imperialist enemy (out of conviction or convenience, only God knows), would feel betrayed. But no, many of them are the most enthusiastic, and have leapt from one extreme to the other to reveal a pro-yankee tendency and a voracious consumer appetite.

It’s a mystery to me how they manage to reconcile these contradictions in their minds. Perhaps their premise is more or less one of “the end justifies the means.” Phrases like “now, finally things are going to get good.”, or “they’ll be putting a hamburger stand on each corner”, reveal the intense reaction to the years of shortages and austerity.

For those everyday Cubans who erected in their minds the shining illusion and mecca of Miami, those who proudly flaunt their shorts, pullovers, caps and the “Yuma” flag, the only difference is that what was previously a defiant attitude is now in perfect harmony with the circumstances.

With the notable profusion of United States programs on the official television stations, and of US movies in the theaters; with a long tradition of clandestine consumption of Miami programming; with independent shops that offer imported clothes from the United States; and with a good portion of our citizens surviving thanks to the money sent by family members from “over there”, the pact sealed by both governments is nothing more than the official declaration of an existing reality.

We should also recognize that of all the economic allies we’ve had (the Soviet Union, Venezuela or China) the US people are the closest to us, perhaps due to our past as a pseudo-republic that many remember with nostalgia. This is a fact, as it is also a fact that this step forward was taken once again by those who are eternally grateful to the revolution.

But what has astonished me most about the general reaction was to see how effective the melodrama of the “Cuban Five” has been. Even people who are usually critical of the government were drawn into the sublime finale and the concert broadcast on television. They didn’t wonder why similar television coverage wasn’t given to the political prisoners of the Black Spring who were liberated at the same time thanks to a long struggle and the intervention of the church; why they weren’t on film, or how they didn’t “return,” but were deported from their own country. They didn’t wonder why they had never heard anything about Alan Gross, or if the activities of this US citizen merited fifteen years in prison.

Of course, you have to consider that the return of “the Five” has been accompanied by a promise of relief that is much more credible than all of the former ones. And it must be recognized that it was the most sensible decision that those of us born with the revolution have had the chance to live through.

Many of us have paid a direct and visceral price for the long and painful isolation and the refraction of an exiled Cuba. It’s time to free ourselves from a hate that doesn’t belong to us, to forget the menace of a war that never came to be.

The geographical proximity of Cuba and the US is an advantage that was turned upside down, and although for years the masses docilely supported the anti-yankee slogans, it’s obvious that the current reactions are far, far more sincere.

26 thoughts on “Me, I like the “Yumas” (Gringos)

  • Cuba has a great future compared to to the USA and Canada which are loaded with massive debt. My pension plan has 70,000 members and a unfunded liabity of over U.S. $ 4.6 billion !!!

  • My children in Cuba both have new houses that I built for $ 5000.00 each. In Vancouver the price would be $ 1 million each !!! Michel is going to be a Dr. of International Law – Angelica – Dr. of Surgery. After they complete their education both are going into politics. They are related to the late Celia Sanchz.

  • If you are so concerned about the welfare of your children, perhaps you should spend less on your accommodation in Varadero resorts and flights to and from Canada and more on your children. Bring them to Canada, or you go live in Cuba.


    What have 87 plane tickets to & from Port Alberni cost you? At a rough estimate, at $1000 or more per trip just for the airfare, you have blown a shit load of cash which would have done your children a lot more good.

    Are your sure your priorities are in the right place?

  • The economy of Cuba and how it will effect my two Cuban / Canadian children !!!

  • pipefitter,
    Disinformed Consent et al think that spending five minutes in a voting booth every two years or so to elect the candidates chosen for them by big money somehow equates to democracy.
    He and his ilk push:
    1) capitalism,
    2) the unelected dictatorship of money which is the GOUSA
    3) religion
    4) the normally patriarchal nuclear family structure that make up life for most people in the USA and none of which enable their participation in control or even questioning of intents and purposes.
    Democracy is a necessary illusion for these people because their reality is totalitarian. . .

  • What exactly are you researching?

  • You would like to think so but you are incorrect.

  • I also like Americans as tip a lot better than Europeans. I will mke my 87th research trip to Varadero Cuba in a week. Gordon Robinson Port Alberni B.C. Western Canada

    email [email protected]
    C.U. Der ???

  • My mistake, thank you for the correction.

    Still, Finland is liberal democracy which confirms my point. And Unix, upon which Linux was partly based, was created in the US.

    The supercomputer which John Goodrich likes to mention regularly was built from intel microchips and associated technology.

  • Geez! Who said that everything is created in the US? I have a hard enough time justifying some of the stupid stuff that Americans DO or SAY. Don’t ask me to justify things we DON’T say.

  • La verdad que si.

  • Everything is not created in the US as we are aware that Linux was developed as a free operating system in Finland for general public licence.

  • While quibbling over the use of the phrase “economic ally” to describe the relationship between Cuba and the US, you ignore the more important issue: what will this relationship be like? What sorts of arrangements will be made and what will the effects of the relation ship be on the average Cuban?

    To listen to Obama talk, all it will take to bring democracy and freedom to Cuba will be a few million more US tourists to showcase the “American way of life”. Fat chance of that working out.

    To listen to Raul talk, the proposed new relationship with the Revolution’s former enemy will be a new supply of capital, a market for cheap Cuban products and low cost labour, and a few million more US tourists. All of this new economic activity will be carefully controlled by the Cuban government and operated by the Cuban military owned holding companies GAESA and CIMEX. Freedom, democracy and respect for the human rights of the Cuban people are summary ruled out.

    Call me a cynic, but Raul’s vision is more realistic. Unless some very powerful alternative appears, it’s what will happen. Recent actions by the Cuban state security apparatus demonstrate the regime’s intention to maintain their stranglehold on all political power.

  • The computer was manufactured in Asia, but the CPU was designed in the US. The operating system (Windows, MacOS or Linux) was created in the US. Disqus, the comment app used by HT is from California.

    The broader point, in case you missed it, is that technological innovation requires an environment of intellectual, social, political and economic freedom.

  • Technically you are right. Not to split hairs but the author of the post, like many Cubans, does not see the relationship as big and small. On the contrary, most Cubans, including my family members, insist that Cuba be seen as an equal. While intellectually this makes sense, in the real world, diplomacy is related to and many times driven by economic impact. Making nice with Cuba has little economic impact for the US. The political costs of normalizing relations outweighs the value of the economic impact. Business ties with China and Vietnam may justify certain diplomatic behavior. Unfortunately for Cuba, the same rules don’t apply.

  • No, Moses,in case you hadn’t noticed they come from Asia, not the US

  • In reality neither do you have any say in how the country is run.

  • Moses here is definition of ally:

    noun, plural allies.


    a person, group, or nation that is associated with another or others for some common cause or purpose:
    “Canada and the United States were allies in World War II.”

    Nowhere it says that allies need to equal size of nations. I think that its is totally possible small nation to be allies with big nation.

  • Yes, Mexico continues to struggle with drug cartel violence and corruption, but, in part as a result of its permanent trade relationship with the US, Mexico is now a global economy. They
    have a growing middle class, and an increasingly influential pro-democracy voter base. In addition, Mexico’s economic ties with the United States have changed. Pre-NAFTA economic policies limited trade, with primarily machinery, chemicals, and metals coming in, and oil, which accounted for three out of every four dollars of Mexico’s exports, going out. State-owned enterprises controlled economic sectors as diverse as telecommunications, corn, sugar, airlines, hotels, steel, and textiles. While these state-sponsored monopolies provided employment for almost one million Mexicans, they were also the fundamental to the patronage of party officials and union leaders. This weighed down the economy with overpriced goods, inefficient policies, and corruption. NAFTA played a role in putting two million farmers out of work as small-scale agriculture became unprofitable in the face of subsidized U.S. agribusiness. But this is a trend that is common to many industrializing economies, in which manufacturing and services replace agriculture as the drivers of economic growth and employment. In addition, oil became much less important to the economy. Economic “Darwinism” is not necessarily a bad thing. Cuba will have to weather these adjustments like any other national economy. One thing is for sure, it can’t get much worse for Cuba.

  • Yes but Mexico is not and “ally” Mexico is a subject through the alliance of the Mexican elites with US wealthy elites. What benefits Mexican people have received? The 43 students disappeared in Ayotzinapa were killed by a militarized police force (billions of US dollars spent on the War on Drugs) , NAFTA has led to the destruction of Mexico’s economy such that Mexico that used to be a exported of corn now imports US corn! That will not happen to Cuba, I pray. Major solo que mal acompanado!

  • Hahaha! You said that, I didn’t. But let me ask you something? The operating system on your computer, the browser, the domain server, and so on….What country do these products come from? Hint: the same country you seem to enjoy bashing. We can’t be all bad can we?

  • Well, I guess I probably am too sensitive. It’s a good thing you straightened her out on that single poorly chosen word in her post, lest she get a wrong impression, since being an “ally” was really what her entire post was all about. Oh, but I did forget one other thing: You can’t tell Americans anything about Americans, because they are always right.

  • …and you are too sensitive. In this case Moses’ comment was related to the importance of Cuba as a future US trade partner, nothing more.

    Most Americans give little thought to Cuba much less how they run their country. However as a Cuban who fled his homeland to live in the relative freedom of the US, I can tell you that Cubans have little to no say on how their country is run.

  • You have read more into my comment than you should have. Veronica, in her post, implies that Cuba and the US are equals in some imagined economic relationship. The truth is that the US needs nothing Cuba sells and sees the Cuban market of 11 million poor people as attractive but tiny. Keep in perspective the buying power that even a wide open Cuba presents. Somewhere along the lines of a Dayton, Ohio at best. Given that, having nothing to do with your implied comment about American arrogance, my comment was intended to suggest that if looked at purely for the economics, Cuba is of marginal interest when compared to their Latin American neighbors. You did not mention where you are from but if the island nation of Palau (Population 21,000) declared they were your economic ally, you would agree with my analysis.

  • And there, Moses, in your answer, is a revealing hint of why most of the rest of the world tends to become a little bit weary of Americans; it is that underlying basic American premise that all non-Americans are, in the great view of things, mostly inconsequential. But, speaking generally, what really makes it more irritating to non-Americans, is that most Americans have no qualms about telling everyone else how to run their own countries; and they seem to think that anyone who doesn’t actually want to be an American must be either evil or crazy.

  • “We should also recognize that of all the economic allies we’ve had (the Soviet Union, Venezuela or China) the US people are the closest to us”. Economic allies? Is that what you think you will become should the US absorb Cuba? An ally? Mexico is currently the US 3rd largest goods trading partner with $507 billion in total (both ways) goods trade during 2013. Goods exports totaled $226 billion; Goods imports totaled $280 billion. The U.S. goods trade deficit with Mexico was $54 billion in 2013. That is an ally. Trade with Cuba maybe could maybe reach $3 billion in the near future. Cuba would be, at best, a blip, on our trade radar. This is not to say that a handful of Midwest farmers won’t fall all over themselves to sell grain to Cuba but “ally”. That’s a reach!

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