Ivan Garcia, 2 April 2018 — On Friday, 23 March, with a temperature of 50 degrees and a warm sun melting the snow on the streets of Washington DC, a crowd of teenagers began to settle in, wearing T-shirts and caps stamped with the phrase that is now in vogue in the United States: #NeverAgain.
Flights arriving from cities all over America to the local Ronald Reagan Airport, were packed with young people with banners, many accompanied by their parents and teachers.
In a cafe, relatively close to the White House, children, teachers and family members waited for their boxes of pizzas and bottles of Coca Cola while listening to music on their smartphones.
“I’ve never seen such a big line so early in the morning. It looks like Saturday the 24th is going to be big,” said a clerk originally from Mexico.
The beautiful capital of the United States of America, is the best example of a variant of neoclassicism that arose in the United States between 1780 and 1820, defined as Federal style. The Capitol, the National Library and the Lincoln Memorial, among others, preserve the grandeur of ancient Greek temples.
The city has a European touch and it seems drawn with a brush. The buildings do not block out the sky and the people, despite the unusual spring cold, walk on the sidewalks. It is a pedestrian city with an efficient public transport, very different from Miami, where on any given day you lose two or three hours sitting behind the wheel of a car.
The National Museum of History, located in an area where museums abound, is usually full of schoolchildren who are attentive and respectful as they pass through the rooms that show important moments in the history of their nation.
In the five days I was in Washington DC, in hotels, Starbucks cafes or on the subway, the student revolution and a new law regarding guns was a matter of debate.
“Something we have to do. You have to stop these killings. It is not compatible with a society that promotes work and creativity. This country, unlike Trump or the gentlemen of the NRA, is multi-ethnic and people from all over the world come here to change their fate. It’s crazy that a young man, who can not buy alcohol in a liquor store, can buy an automatic rifle designed for war. It is a contradiction in a country that claims to be a standard bearer of the values of democracy and integrtation. With my two children I will go to the march (March for Our Lives),” said Irma, a Dominican-born maid who works at the State Plaza Hotel.
According to the authorities, on Saturday, 24 March, 800,000 people marched to express their discontent in front of the White House gates. A figure even higher than the protests against the Vietnam War in 1969.
The youth movement that emerged as a result of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, a shooting that on 14 February left 17 dead and 15 injured, has not gone unnoticed in Cuba.
It is true that the Castro regime takes advantage of any school slaughter, revolt or the murder of a black American to fire up its propaganda machine against ’Yankee imperialism.’
But this time it has been different. The image of Emma González, 18, with her shaved heat and a military-cut jacket with a Cuban flag on her right sleeve, has generated sympathy in different strata of Cuban society.
In Havana’s Diez de Octubre municipality, very close to the Red Square of La Víbora, while waiting for customers, two transvestites seated on a staircase at the entrance of an art gallery, spoke about Emma.
“That girl rules! In an interview I read on the internet, she declared that she was Cuban and bisexual. Over there you do not have to be hiding your sexual orientation. She dresses like she talks. Not Obama. Her mother is American and her father, José González, arrived in New York [from Cuba] in 1968. I hope that in the future, if things change here, that little girl will run for president of Cuba,” says one of the transvestites. “I would vote for her,” says the other, wearing a leather skirt and high-heeled shoes.
On Tuesday, 27 March, Cuba’s National Television News, aired in its entirety Emma’s speech at the March for Our Lives in Washington and her overwhelming six minute and twenty second silence: the time it took the murderer to riddle students and teachers with the bullets from his AR -15 rifle.
Dianely, the mother of three children and professor of biology, confesses that in addition to “being moved by the speech, I was struck by the the capacity of high school students to deliver such high-level oratory. In the national press I read that an major share of American students don’t know where Cuba is on the map and that their education was deficient. But those Florida kids are very well prepared. Emma has earned respect in many countries. In Cuba, it couldn’t have earned less. She has our roots.”
In a global and interconnected world, the good or bad that happens on the planet, diffuses in a few minutes. The women’s movement against sexual harassment and the student revolution to stop the sale of automatic weapons in the United States have been echoed on the island. In the case of Emma González, Cuban pride has shined.