The Future with Mariela Castro / Yoani Sanchez


She carries a name that evokes encampments, and I am just a Sanchez, dragging the “ez” ending that once meant to be “the son of” some Sancho. Yes, like that chubby guy on the donkey who accompanied and satirized Quixote, although I weigh many pounds less and have never galloped, not even on a pony. She grew up in some beautiful comfortable place, while I spent my childhood in a noisy and violent tenement. She is a sexologist and psychologist, and I taste the pleasures of love and negotiate life’s obstacles although I never graduated from any course in the subject. She is the daughter of the man who inherited the presidency of my country through blood, that same country where my father years ago lost his profession as a train engineer. She is tethered to every word he says, and I broke out of the prison of opinion long ago, freeing myself with the word.

She is afraid of the embrace, of a Cuba where we can both walk freely, attend a concert or public debate without problems, leave the country and reenter it without asking permission. I understand her. She carries on her shoulders an ancestry that perhaps many times she would have liked to shake off, deny, erase from her life. I am just the upstart, the intruder, without pedigree, without a worthy family tree to show off. My parents didn’t fight in the Sierra Maestra, the slogans that were forged inside her house were regularly rejected in mine, the speeches delivered by her exalted uncle fell on the skeptical ears of my clan. She is entitled to the microphones, appears on national television to be interviewed and praised, while my face is only seen surrounded by adjectives such as “enemy,” “cyber terrorist,” without offering me — of course — the right to respond.

She has been making her tour of the United States and the Cuban news has not labeled her a mercenary for it. She has said, “I would vote for Obama,” and — surprise! — the national press does not accuse her of being “pro Yankee.” She is a prisoner of her lineage and I barely have a past to look at, right now I just wake up thinking about tomorrow. She and I, although it scares her and she denies it, are part of this country… very different daughters of this land, the fruits beloved and not beloved of the process. She will have to recognize that I exist, I am, that this Sanchez demands her right to criticize the follies of its windmills.

28 May 2012