A Yankee in Guantanamo, Cuba

Rosa Martinez

Hanging out in Guantanamo, Cuba. Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES, Dec. 23 – Since I began writing for Havana Times I’ve spoken with several Guantanamo residents – from homemakers and doctors to educators, psychologists, bums, and students; in short, people from all walks of life.

Almost all of them gladly agreed to give me their opinion on some specific issue, but always under the condition that neither their name nor their photo be published

The reasons for this reluctance ranged from “it’s easier to give my opinion if I don’t say who I am,” to “I can’t let my name appear on a non-Cuban website,” or simply “I’m not looking for problems.”

Although this occurs, I can’t force them have their pictures taken; I only record their frank and honest opinions.  None of my interviewees has ever dared to say anything that might call into question their loyalty to the Revolution, though perhaps this is because here in the eastern part of the country people have much more fear about saying what they think.

A few days ago I met a US citizen who was visiting Guantanamo.  Taking advantage of his good Spanish, I asked him to grant me an interview; I wanted to ask him his opinion of the “Political-Economic and Social Guidelines of the Cuban Revolution,” which has been commented on so extensively inside and outside the island.

Cubans are more guarded about commenting on such thorny issues, but a foreigner — especially from the USA — is freer to say what they think, that’s what I thought at least.  I then quickly began to prepare the questions I would ask him.

He agreed to respond my questions, but it was a big surprise to me when he placed as a condition that his name not be published.  “I don’t want any problems,” he said.  “I have a lot of friends here and I want to continue visiting the island.”  To be absolutely frank, this was not at all what I expected.



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