The Morning Has Already Passed

Cuban ration booklet (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger

14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, 11 October 2019 — “The Revolution is not a struggle for the present, the Revolution is a struggle for the future… It always has been and is now.” Miguel Díaz-Canel, October 10, 2019, quoting a speech by Fidel Castro from July 1962

One afternoon in 1962, when I had not yet turned 15, my parents enrolled me in the new ration book system. My precocious revolutionary consciousness led me to think that the limitations that this implied were a fair price to pay, as the poets said, to “anticipate the future.”

Fifteen years later, on a hot morning in August 1977, I went to the Guanabo Office of Control for the Distribution of Food, east of Havana, to enroll my daughter in the rationing system. When I saw her name on the central page of the booklet I turned to another poet, then considered controversial and I asked myself, “How long until the future?”

It was just another 30 years later when that daughter of mine gave me have a bad time telling me the sad news: “I already put your granddaughter in the rationbook.” Joaquín Sabina had not yet recorded Lágrimas de mármol (Marble Tears) but I already realized that the future was “increasingly short and the hangover long.”

In what hidden fold of time was that luminous future they promised my generation stranded? Have I been so blind not to see it, so ungrateful as not to recognize it?

When they don’t have to answer to the voters for their management, the politicians can give themselves the luxury of making promises they’ll never keep.

To have the right to a present has not been a counterrevolutionary slogan nor a selfish longing. It is not the platform of Cain. The morning of that enthusiastic teenager who delightedly tightened his belt has been left behind. Now this skeptical grandfather refuses to silently accept the same empty promise.

I demand a present for my granddaughters.  I want it right now.


The 14ymedio team is committed to serious journalism that reflects the reality of deep Cuba. Thank you for joining us on this long road. We invite you to continue supporting us, but this time by becoming a member of 14ymedio. Together we can continue to transform journalism in Cuba.