Time Stopped

It’s as if all the clocks had been stopped.  In unison, the same day at the same time. The unease is widespread around the Cuban political prisoners and their families.

Despite the official announcement that 52 opponents of the Group of 75 will be released, they still don’t know  exactly when those releases will occur. Much less who are the candidates to leave the country immediately and who in the coming months. And if it’s true that they will exchange their cells for exile.

Arnaldo Ramos, 68, sleeps little and badly. And he always has the same dreams: that his wife Lidia is preparing his favorite dish, while running her fingers through the long hair of their granddaughter Roxana.

Right now, all the prisoners of the Black Spring of 2003 are a bundle of nerves. A group of men who never should have been imprisoned.

I seem to see the doctor Oscar Elias Biscet, praying before bed, with the Bible at the head of his bunk in the Combinado del Este prison.

Or the reporter Ricardo Gonzalez Alfonso, full of aches, thinking about David and Daniel, his sons who aren’t little boys any more and after seven long hears he will see them as teenagers.

Either way, there are hopes. At this moment I can’t forget Reina Luisa, Orland Zapata’s mother. The hunger strike that cost the life of her son forced the government to reconsider its rigid postures.

In the solitude of their small and poor dwelling in Banes, Holguin, Reina knows that Orlando will not knock in the door carrying his duffel bag, like the rest of those released. She will not be able to hug hum, nor sit down and talk with him.

I also think of all the men and women of Cuba and in the world who in a loud voice, without fear, have called for democratic changes on the island.

In Madrid, a friend listens to the boleros of the singer Olga Guillot and drinks strong coffee, typing with two-fingers his chronicles for the newspaper El Mundo. Morón, his hometown, he keeps under his pillow.

This gesture, the result of three-party negotiations, could be a first step. Pablo Pacheco would like to watch Sunday’s final between Spain and Holland sitting next to his son. And I want to hug my niece, Yania, who left Cuba when she was 9 and just turned 16.

In this battles there are no winners. We have all lost something. And we all want change.

Iván García

Photo: Reina Luisa Tamayo is consoled by a Lady in White, shortly after the death of her son, Orlando Zapata Tamayo.