14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, 23 March 2016 – The last street closings in Havana ended just after Air Force One took off from José Martí Airport for Argentina. The Tuesday on which Barack Obama said goodbye to Cuba some produce markets couldn’t open because the trucks could get past the security barriers with their cargoes of fruits and vegetables. Thousands of people who were mobilized – the official “invitees” – to go to the Latin American Stadium, didn’t finish watching the Cuban national team lose 4 to 1 against a professional team from the United States, because their commitment was to remain in the stands as long as “el yuma-en-jefe” – the American-in-chief – was present.
A deep sigh of relief was shared by police officers, hotel doormen, leaders and Communist Party cadres. The world did not stop, life goes on and “the party continues.” However, Obama’s words in his memorable speech at the Gran Teatro de La Habana will continue to echo painfully in some ears and joyfully and with hope in others. Obama’s aplomb and Raul Castro’s nervousness during the press conference after their nearly two-hour closed-door conversation will be the subject of comments for a long time to come. To state it common terms, the visit of the United States president will go down in history.
We have yet to see the consequences. The metaphoric millimeters of the governing elite ensures that it will never retreat to find its corresponding unit of measurement in political terms. How long is, what is the weight of, a change in the Constitution of the Republic, a new Electoral Law, the configuration of a new Central Committee, a modification of the Law of Foreign Investment, the acceptance of small- and mid-sized enterprises? If any of these things is less than a millimeter, what would be the dimension of an opening in freedom of expression or allowing free association?
At each step, starting from now, the general president will be wondering if what he does annoys or pleases Barack Obama. The drunkenness is over, the hangover is going to last a long time.