What Goes and What Comes

In Cuba, the end of 2011 and the advent of 2012 had special characteristics. In the first place, the joy and the celebrations, officially, responded to the Triumph of the Revolution and the hosting of one more anniversary of it. The reality is ignored and it is not welcomed as 2012, but as the 54th Year of the Revolution, which is like saying one more year of the Paleolithic. This, I repeat, officially, in the official press, radio and television.

On the other hand, this official celebration is skipped for another, citizen, one, where the great majority wish each other Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year, in the traditional way. In the street, fortunately, you don’t hear anything about congratulations for the triumph or anything like that. It seems that the times have changed somewhat since that initial glow.

The successes and achievements, again, officially, have been, as every year, the order of the day, in a contrived competition of over-elaborate adjectives, each more exaggerated than the last, and with some special programs tailored to the date, real clunkers lacking imagination and moderation. In an inedible soup, they have mixed songs, characters — historic and less historic — dance, humor, prefabricated heroes, writers, magicians, hacks, spies, artists, actors, housewives, workers, peasants, etc., all as in a great chorus, repeating the same slogans for each new anniversary, without even updating them, as is the fashion.

In at-home environments, the reality has been different: comments on how bad the situation is, the increasingly high prices of the items, the overwhelming and widespread State inefficiency, the need for urgent changes and the toast made at midnight. They missed the twelve grapes, but uncorked a bottle or cider because, despite their tragedy, Cubans like to celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas and welcome the New Year, throwing their buckets of water into the street. It is a deep-rooted tradition and, as has been clearly demonstrated, traditions can not be suppressed by decree. Here, as in many other issues, volunteerism also failed miserably.

With the first days of January, the waters begin to find their level, and the daily struggle for survival prevails, with small and big problems. A year ended for everyone, and a new one begins a new fraught with uncertainty. The general desire is to materialize the hopes of the majority for a better life.

January 6 2012