My Faith in Elsewhere / Claudia Cadelo

Claudio Fuentes Madan

I received a call from a friend who recently left Cuba. At one point in the conversation he said, “This isn’t another country, it’s another planet.” I hung up the phone and felt myself an alien on the earth. I looked out the window at the mess of wires hanging from the poles as if the hurricane had been yesterday. I went to 23rd and 12th and the traffic light was out. At 23rd and G there was electricity but the light was controlled by a policeman and the street was deserted: Raul Castro was going to pass by. I saw a photo of a building covered with glass–one of those modern constructions filled with light–someplace in the world and wondered when Havana is going to be reborn from its ruins. I sit in the park and enjoy the trees. There’s trash and filth everywhere, but I still love the air of my city. I wonder how long that pleasure will last.

I return home. I turn on the TV and it’s the news. Fritz Suárez Silva is ranting about a statement by Osama bin Laden. I doubt my own senses. I don’t understand if he’s defending the terrorists or saying bad things about Obama. I fade and turn off the TV. I want to know what’s happening in Egypt but on Cuban television they manipulate everything. I look out the window again and remember the photos of the Green Revolution in Iran. I feel nostalgic. It’s ridiculous to feel nostalgia for something I didn’t even experience. I remember November sixth and everyone on the sidewalk at G and 27th staring, mouths agape, eyes stupid, as a group of men in plain clothes forced three young women into a car. I laugh. I can’t imagine the streets of Vedado flooded with young people demanding democracy.

I’m not going to get pessimistic: I always have the Web. When I connect to the Internet the bad taste in my mouth fades. There’s a sensation that the world is changing and I’m on another planet. Forget Raul Castro’s three black cars paralyzing even more, though it seems impossible, the time of my reality. I remembered that public spaces no longer need to be physical. Again I feel that it’s possible, that one day change will come, that the freedom of my life on the Web will one day be matched by my life on the street. It doesn’t matter how much we lack. I will know to hope.