Yonniel and Yaima / Luis Felipe Rojas

Yaíma gets off an Iberia airplane twice a year and sets foot on the Eastern part of the island. She is young and she aims to eat up the world in one bite. She does not flee the current crisis, she says, because to her the real crisis is a glass of sugar water during any given night of the 90′s, or the hours of walking by foot in order to arrive to a rural school where she used to study. She left Cuba during the height of her career as a speech therapist. In other words, when she had the opportunity to learn more. But in Spain, she learned without difficulties and she now steps out of that airplane twice a year, takes a breath, and enters the deep country to spread her sadness or to say that she is not happy, although she may seem to be, she says.

Yonniel won the “new lottery” twice, that lottery for non-conformist Cubans. He traveled to Venezuela as a collaborator of a sports mission (First lottery) and trained adolescents in the Venezuelan state of Barinas to become successful weight lifters, so much so that they offered to extend his contract for two more years (Second lottery). He has returned to Cuba for vacation twice with some articles for the house, Brazilian sandals, a gold watch, the necessary dollars to not stress himself (for a while) and a few extra pounds on him. He seems to be a happy man as he fixes his new Venezuelan life, without children and with a new woman.

They are two different exiles that are, yet, the same. Two ways of leaving Cuba to return for different reasons. They are Cubans who, right now, have taken the country with them in a book bag and have planted it over there, where they think about it from far away. They are two Cubans of the current times, those who do away with the chains in whichever way they can and try to breath some air far way from the daily vigilance, although they live different oppressions. Two methods of seeking a position in the list of success. Two Cubans of Post-Castro life?

Translated by Raul G.

21 April 2012