Yesterday afternoon we were going in our old Lada (Russian car) by road to a house of a friend who had invited us for dinner. Since she lives in a beautiful building on 9th Street, very close to the Malecón on a very high floor and they had announced the fireworks that they were going to launch from the Flotilla of Liberty, I thought it would be very convenient; from this height we could watch them in all their promised splendor.
All day it stayed grey and rainy, with the arrival of the Northern cold front, and it didn’t improve in the afternoon. When we were arriving at the area where she lives, we could see many more police than usual. I supposed that it was due to the predictions that a great many people would be gathering at the Malecón.
Very experienced in these practices of repressing and counteracting any type of spontaneous demonstration, the authorities had taken methods to avoid any trace of them.
In practically all the parks and open areas of Vedado, the spaces were covered with tents, where they offered edibles and music. But what most captured my attention was to see the group of X Alfonso, whose concert was first planned to take place on the Streets 23rd and G, putting up the platform and the equipment for it, exactly on the corner of 9th Street and the Avenue of the Presidents, or G Street, as it is popularly known, precisely where one can find the Maternity Hospital of Línea. In my mind I couldn’t conceive, how is it a concert would be permitted, with the well-known speakers making so much racket, in a place where there should be silence, where woman are hospitalized just about to give birth, and there are recently born children, who mostly need silence and rest.
I could observe the proximity of the Havana Malecón, covered by people, that in any given moment, if the circumstances require, they could be easily be used as an outraged public, to repress any citizen demonstration.
We left the house of our friend before 10 at night, the time the concert was said to start. I never knew if finally the fireworks could be seen. The night stayed very rainy and my friend told me, today, that from her window she could see observe the small crowd that went to the concert. What she says baffled her a bit, was to see the nurses approaching the makeshift podium and after a while returning to the hospital. It really ended, as I could say, being really disconcerting.
Translated by: BW
December 10 2011