My grandchildren will ask, "Were you there, Grandma?" The answer will be barely a monosyllable accompanied by a smile. "Yes," I will tell them, although at the moment the flag of the United States was raised over its embassy in Havana, I was gathering opinions for a story, or connected to some Internet access point. "I was there," I will repeat.
The fact of living in Cuba on Aug. 14 makes the more than 11 million of us participants in a historic event that transcends the raising of an insignia to the top of a flagpole. We are all here, in the epicenter of what is happening.
For my generation, as for so many other Cubans, it is the end of one stage. It does not mean that starting tomorrow, everything we have dreamed of will be realized, nor that freedom will break out by the grace of a piece of cloth waving on the Malecón. Now comes the most difficult part. However, it will be that kind of uphill climb in which we cannot blame our failures on our neighbor to the north. It is the beginning of the stage of absorbing who we are, and recognizing why we have only made it this far.
The official propaganda will run out of epithets. This has already been happening since the Dec. 17 announcement of the reestablishment of relations between Washington and Havana took all of us by surprise. That equation, repeated so many times, of not permitting an internal dissidence or the existence of other parties because Uncle Sam was waiting for a sign of weakness to pounce on the island, is increasingly unsustainable.
A conflict of eras is unfolding in Cuba—a collision between two countries: one that has been stranded in the middle of the 20th century, and one that is pushing the other to move forward.
Now, the ideologues of continuity warn that "the war against imperialism" will become more subtle, the methods more sophisticated "... but slogans do not understand nuances. "Are they the enemy, or aren't they?" ask all those who, with the simple logic of reality, experienced a childhood and youth marked by constant paranoia toward that country on the other side of the Straits of Florida.