Veronica Vega

Veronica Vega: For years I had a hard time deciding between writing, painting or dancing. It was writing that proved to make the most sense financially in the short term. I live in Alamar, an aborted project for a city that only breathes from what’s left of nature, from the alternative cultural scene, and above all, from the infinite will of the human soul. I’m not a journalist. Writing in HT has been an opportunity to say what I believe can be improved in Cuba.

After the Mourning Period for Fidel

Veronica Vega

burnejonesHAVANA TIMES — Cuba is experiencing an awakening. During the mourning period for the passing of Fidel Castro (sincerely or pretending to do so), people began to question matters and there were unspoken or explicit displays of relief.

Among optimistic or disastrous predictions, there is skepticism or certainty of the unshakeable weight of inertia.  There is a suppressed restlessness: whether it is doubt or hope, expectations are flying around in the air.

For a country suspended in time, movement is the indicator of progress, no matter how discreet this might be. For a people who have been trained to not say what they think, even the word “change” can be subversive.

So the majority of people, very well-skilled in omission or keeping things locked up, only freely communicate what’s on their minds in trustworthy situations.

Talking to some people I know, I’ve gathered together some of their opinions:

-“We are living a time of transition to develop as a nation, towards a democracy,” a young intellectual said. “It’s just a question of time. The Cold War’s last soldier has died. Nobody believes in resolving social conflict with bloody revolutions anymore: individualism is the spirit of these times.”

-“I know that very few people believe it but everything is pointing towards gradual progress, and not only in the economy,” a writer friend of mine said. “Nations mature, like people, they learn that they have to understand themselves in order to advance and little by little they choose to open up a dialogue.”

-“Now everything is going to pile in!” a self-employed worker declared. “Business deals with the US, openings in the economy…”

-“This is going to go down but from the top,” a tourism worker stated. “Here, everything has been thought of to repress popular protests, the collapse will come from above, like it did with the Soviet Union. And then the US will get involved, and it won’t be because they have good intentions…”

-“The pancake is about to be flipped,” a neighbor threatened. “And I myself will go door to door to break the legs of every snitch I know.”

-“Personally, I think more repression is coming,” a visual artist said. “This mourning period was a warning: don’t go around getting funny ideas because nothing is going to change around here. We have to follow the same path: everything with the Revolution, nothing outside of the Revolution.”

There are also many opinions like the following:

-“What’s going to change? If anything changes here, it’ll be for the worse. This island doesn’t sink because it´s made out of cork.”

Some people express indifference, absorbed in their daily struggles to survive another day. Other people express their complete despair, some others continue with their concrete plan or hope to emigrate, only fearing that any likely changes will mean that the Cuban Adjustment Act will be revoked.

However, there is something that unites us Cubans today: whether the driving force is curiosity, uncertainty or faith. Only time will tell…


  • Val Cocora

    i wish cubans only the best, and the wisdom to make the right decision.
    viva cuba.

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      Just add one more wish Val! Wish that Cubans are eventually able to take their own decisions.
      Viva Cuba libre!

  • Moses Patterson

    After 3 generations of Castro’s tyranny, it should come as no surprise that optimism for a more democratic future in Cuba is limited. Hopes have been dashed over and over again for nearly 60 years. Nonetheless, like the inevitable death of Fidel Castro, which took much longer than even he imagined, the inevitable turn toward a free and democratic Cuba, however slow in coming, will take place in the long term. The death of Castro will offer moderate encouragement to those who want freedom for Cuba and will likely motivate those who fear more freedoms to hunker down and even possibly retreat. It remains to be seen who, in the short-term, will make gains.

  • Chuck Bailey

    Obama is going to be the next leader!!! He is out of work and likes warm weather.

  • Carlyle MacDuff

    The comment made by the person described as a young intellectual denies the very foundation of communism as defined by Dr. Ernesto Guevara de Serna Lynch.
    The young intellectual is quoted as saying:
    “individualism is the spirit of these times.”
    Dr. Guevara known by his nickname of ‘Che’ said:
    “Youth should learn to think and act as a mass. It is criminal to think as an individual.”
    So it would appear that the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of Cuba plastering pictures and images of Guevara with slogans over the classrooms of Cuba for over fifty years has been ineffective.
    That is a blessing, for the essence of humanity lies in the individual and individual expression. Even those who in these pages support the dictatorship of the Castros, express their individual views. To oppose doing so, is to deny humanity and that is what the Castro family communist regime endeavored to do. Let us hope that the young intellectual is correct and that the imposed dictatorship in Cuba slowly slides into oblivion and that the people of Cuba will experience freedom of expression and freedom to vote for political parties of choice and a free media – to again quote Dr. Guevara:
    “We must do away with all newspapers. A revolution cannot be accomplished with freedom of the press.”
    Communism cannot succeed when freedom of anything is permitted!

    • Griffin

      Good comment. However, it must be mentioned that Che Guevara was never a doctor. He never graduated from medical school and was never accredited as a doctor by any medical association.

      • Olgasintamales

        In Spain there is a Joke that goes like this. A nurse aboarde a fly to Europe in Argentina and a doctor arrived in Europe. Sorry if is not funny due the translation.

      • Carlyle MacDuff

        Well there is some debate about that Griffin. My understanding is that he dropped out and went on his British Norton 500 cc motorcycle tour with Alberto Granado then returned to medical school, completed his studies and graduated. By 1955 he was employed as a doctor at the Central Hospital in Mexico City.
        But I have seen views similar to your own previously.