The Allure of the Forbidden / Rebeca Monzo

Rebeca Monzo, 27 June 2015 — Strolling through the streets of Havana, it is odd to see the profusion of American symbols on clothing, flags, decals, handbags and other items.

While walking in the vicinity of Yara cinema in Vedado recently, I happened to notice with some amazement a cart selling slushies. Such carts are not allowed to park for more than a minute. They must be in constant motion or risk getting a fine, a stupid rule since it requires customers to run along behind the vendor. At any rate, this same cart was sporting two American flags of considerable size on both its front sides. Too bad I did not have a camera to capture the image.

Young people of both sexes often wear shirts, tights and shorts with the design of this flag. Even infants are dressed in baby clothes decorated with the Stars and Stripes, which incidentally, is a rather attractive design.

Our media outlets never tire of highlighting news stories by criticizing and even misinforming the Cuban people about events in the U.S., which are often similar to events happening in our own backyard but which are never discussed. To think of all the “incitement of hatred” over the years against this country, with which the government now wants to reestablish relations because it finds itself “with a noose around its neck” economically.

The only thing all this negative propaganda has managed to achieve is a result opposite of what was intended, as more and more people of all ages — especially young people — prefer to risk their lives fleeing the country by crossing the Florida Straits in flimsy boats.

Similarly, an ever-growing number of Cuban doctors now use medical missions in other countries as a springboard to the United States. The children and relatives of senior leaders are also following this path, though they make the journey to the same destination by plane, demonstrating once again that the forbidden never loses its allure.