Monday, May 28, 2012

The Future with Mariela Castro / Yoani Sánchez

The Future with Mariela Castro / Yoani Sánchez
Translator: Unstated, Yoani Sánchez

She carries a name that evokes encampments, and I am just a Sanchez,
dragging the "ez" ending that once meant to be "the son of" some Sancho.
Yes, like that chubby guy on the donkey who accompanied and satirized
Quixote, although I weigh many pounds less and have never galloped, not
even on a pony. She grew up in some beautiful comfortable place, while I
spent my childhood in a noisy and violent tenement. She is a sexologist
and psychologist, and I taste the pleasures of love and negotiate life's
obstacles although I never graduated from any course in the subject. She
is the daughter of the man who inherited the presidency of my country
through blood, that same country where my father years ago lost his
profession as a train engineer. She is tethered to every word he says,
and I broke out of the prison of opinion long ago, freeing myself with
the word.

She is afraid of the embrace, of a Cuba where we can both walk freely,
attend a concert or public debate without problems, leave the country
and reenter it without asking permission. I understand her. She carries
on her shoulders an ancestry that perhaps many times she would have
liked to shake off, deny, erase from her life. I am just the upstart,
the intruder, without pedigree, without a worthy family tree to show
off. My parents didn't fight in the Sierra Maestra, the slogans that
were forged inside her house were regularly rejected in mine, the
speeches delivered by her exalted uncle fell on the skeptical ears of my
clan. She is entitled to the microphones, appears on national television
to be interviewed and praised, while my face is only seen surrounded by
adjectives such as "enemy," "cyber terrorist," without offering me — of
course — the right to respond.

She has been making her tour of the United States and the Cuban news has
not labeled her a mercenary for it. She has said, "I would vote for
Obama," and — surprise! — the national press does not accuse her of
being "pro Yankee." She is a prisoner of her lineage and I barely have a
past to look at, right now I just wake up thinking about tomorrow. She
and I, although it scares her and she denies it, are part of this
country… very different daughters of this land, the fruits beloved and
not beloved of the process. She will have to recognize that I exist, I
am, that this Sanchez demands her right to criticize the follies of its

28 May 2012

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