At 7:00 in the morning this December 18th the sun appears on the horizon at 120 degrees to the east. The smoke of the refinery and the capricious clouds help create that kitsch of nature that is the sunrise. Everything seems to be the same on the island, but Cubans can now see an invisible ray of hope opening up.
Today is the first day of a healing process, or it could be, not to be guilty of excessive optimism. Starting now, in an almost unexpected way, the historic difference between Cuba and the United States will modify its character. There will be a tweaking of language and the first word to disappear will be “enemy,” for which “neighbor” may be substituted, not the most endearing of terms but also not one that exudes so much hatred.
Whether the glass is half empty or half full is a sterile speculation, never engaged in by thirsty people living in a desert. We read and reviewed the speeches, surprised by the surprises and disappointed by what omissions. Today is a new day, not in our calendar, but in History. We are obliged to recognize that, at the very least, we had been making fools of ourselves by holding on to an anachronistic agenda.
From here until April, when the Summit of the Americas takes place in Panama, the entire world will have its eyes set on the government of Cuba. There will be many attentive eyes and many proponents of the expected confrontation, be it a brief detention, an impediment to getting to a meeting, the slightest sign that serves to demonstrate that Raúl Castro doesn’t deserve such a vote of confidence. They know it and will have to choose between loosening the repression or letting the world down.
I am betting that they will let the world down, but I am hoping to lose the bet. All the signs and accumulated experience clearly say that this only a new maneuver to win some time and to allow them to get away with their schemes, but this is also an unprecedented move and things can always turn out differently. The most important thing is that the domino game has been shaken up and it is time to move the pieces.