Recently, from Washington, D.C. to New York, renowned Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez and I have shared some unforgettable days together as pro-democracy activists.
After a complicated process involving application forms and NGOs, we were welcomed in Washington by U.S. Representatives, members of Congress, senators, and by various ministries of the White House and the State Department.
During those very brief, but intense encounters, the focus was on mutual respect for each other’s opinions, the process of building bridges through dialog (something that the Cuban State military will never forgive us for), and on looking towards a future of understanding rather than dwelling on a past of irreconcilable mistrust. There was a lot of good humor too, with smiles replacing the fear that might have still been dwelling in our hearts.
With its monumental spaces and its winter nights, which we shared with a community of Cubans, who until then knew us only through the internet, Washington seemed like the most civil city in the world, free of armed troops guarding government buildings, and with a sea of students excitedly visiting Capitol Hill and the White House. Such a thing would be inconceivable at the ministries in my country.
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1 April 2013