Spaces Taken / Claudia Cadelo

Yesterday, while waiting outside the Supreme Court for the results of the hearing on the case of the Cuban Law Association versus the Minister of Justice, I reflected — in the original sense of the word — about my ups and downs since that distant August day when I was also waiting outside another court, that time for the results of Gorki Aguila’s trial.

I never would have imagined that a few months later my blog would appear, that I would speak freely into a microphone — for less than a minute, but it’s the intention that matters — that later I would have to defend my right to enter a movie theater, an exposition, a concert. I remember that dark afternoon of November 6 and the Tweet I sent, thanks to which State Security was robbed of its impunity as it kidnapped Yoani, Orlando and me. I think, again, about Reinaldo at 23rd and G, like in a Russian film where the hero sacrifices himself at the end, facing a primitive stomping horde. I saw the faces — always the same ones — of those who over these last three years have lent their hands to repression, their tongues to perjury, their souls to hatred, and I sensed their unease.

I am a pessimist. I refuse to think that things are going to change tomorrow so as not to be disappointed later, and I repeat, over and over, “Even if it lasts twenty more years, I will keep writing.” But suddenly I made out a long road of freedom traveled. Torturous it has been, to be sure, but not more so than the satisfaction of seeing the man who once dared to lead a repudiation rally condemned to sitting on a park bench talking like a robot on his cell phone, his hands that once served only to beat people useless, now, to this ogre faced with the power of words, the power of friendship and faith in a democratic Cuba. That repressor who once screamed in my face, “This street belongs to Fidel!” looked at me, at me and my friends, walking along Boyeros. He learned that the street no longer belongs to a delusional old man. Like it or not, it belongs to me, to him, to all Cubans, and we are obliged to share it.

22 January 2011