Perspectives and Wishes for the Coming Year / Rebeca Monzo

In a country like ours, completely bankrupt, where all future promises have been broken, where the citizens have been cheated again and again, few expectations remain.

The majority of the young people with whom I have spoken would like to live in a country where their dreams and perspectives are unlimited. Sadly for them, they dream of emigrating because they know that here and now there is no other option.

Older people look forward to their retirement, a product of so many years of accumulated work. They hope it might allow them to live comfortably and treat themselves to a little luxury once in a while without having to depend on help from overseas relatives. Besides being humiliating, this is a constant reminder of the failure of their lives and the separation from family, both very painful and difficult feelings to overcome. Others even less fortunate find it necessary, in spite of their advanced age, to clandestinely sell “jabitas” (plastic bags), homemade candies and loose cigarettes outside farmers’ markets, always running away from the police who harass them.

And those of us who are no longer so young but not yet so old want freedom for Cuba and the restoration of the democracy that was lost more than half a century ago. We long for a country where the dreams and aspirations of all Cubans can be fulfilled without having to abandon the place where they were born. But it is not enough to only dream about this; one has to do something to achieve it and fundamentally it has to be done from within.

In spite of this dark present, I wish all Cubans — especially my readers, wherever they may be — a bright future in a free country, where we share joys and sorrows together in an embrace. Merry Christmas!

24 December 2013