If you think about it, Cubans really have very little to celebrate. But the mere fact of being alive, being healthy, and feeling real desire for change, are sufficient reasons to do so. Let us decorate our houses to make ourselves feel better and joyfully welcome visitors, and under no circumstances allow ourselves to lose the few traditions that we have, those traditions, which, despite wind and tide, have remained alive in the hearts of all.
Last night, walking down some of the neighborhood streets, I observed with satisfaction that, despite shortages and high prices for Christmas items, many homes are decorated and lit in celebration of the holidays. Even just a few years ago, few people dared to do this; the majority placing flags in front of their homes to celebrate another anniversary.
In the past, we alone adorned our balcony with garlands. Now, on my block, at least four houses are decorated with lights and that was sorely missed.
Besides handing out flyers advertising gastronomic offerings for the 24th and the 31st of December with Santa’s face on them (grapes and more!), the new paladares are all decorated with Christmas themes, adding some life to the neighbourhood. Even five years ago, this was unthinkable. Now, I hope and believe that this will be unstoppable.
Every time you meet someone in the street and you greet them, even if they don’t know you know, they will greet you with: To your health, and to change. It might be said that in these times the greatest desire of all Cubans is that these openings continue and that a great transformation take place in our country, once and for all.
The door of totalitarianism has finally been opened just a crack; our duty is to continue to keep on pushing so as to open the door wide. We still have time, it’s coming to an end.
Translated by: jCS
December 21 2011