Cuba between Two Realities: What Happened and Did Not Happen On 15N

By Alejandra Garcia and Marcos Maranges on November 16, 2021 from Havana

Cubans rally in support of their revolution on 15N. photo: Jose Manuel Correa

Cuba dawned yesterday full of images that we had missed seeing for a very long time. Thousands of children between five and nine years old returned to the classrooms in a feast of colors. Reporters on the island took the opportunity to immortalize this long-awaited day since COVID-19 forced the closure of the country’s schools to avoid contagions.

Several photos went around Cuba. A child clutches a Cuban flag while walking to school. Another little boy, wearing a blue face mask that matched his second-grade scarf, greeted his classmate at the classroom’s entrance. A little girl held the hand of her grandfather, who dreamed of leaving her at the school gates since the virus came almost two years ago to change our lives.

This was the reality on the island on the morning of November 15. A wintry day, with a desirable temperature from the sweltering days of summer. It was a quiet day, in which people hurried to work, or school and Cuban flags adorned a good part of the facade of balconies, windows, and buildings of the country.

The expectations for this day were different. For the past month, a small opposition group on the island and the Miami far-right-wing with the unabashed support of Joe Biden’s administration wanted to turn November 15 into a day of fear, like the one we all felt on July 11. They wanted the parents of all those children who returned to the classrooms to fear for their safety. They wanted Cuba to wake up dressed in white, but none of this happened.

“The expectations of those abroad were not fulfilled. They stayed dressed for that party that never happened,” Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodriguez said on a broadcasted message. “The script of this piece was not good, and the staging was worse”, he added.

The controversy in social networks has been intense, “but we are pleased. The hashtag #CubaVive has been strong and in dozens of cities around the world people stood up for our country,” he added while assuring that Cuba’s path is peace.

On November 15th the name of Cuba was all over the world, from Canada to Patagonia and from Mexico to China crossing through Europe. The US government and their allies from Florida achieved their goal of making the international community focus on the Caribbean Island, but somehow the strategy backfired. Something did not go well for them, since instead of condemning the Cuban government, people were massively supporting the island.

People from over 130 nations and cities with different cultures gathered their voices to demand the end of the economic sanctions and the communicational war against our small but brave country. And this is not casual because we get out of life what we put into it, and Cuba has done nothing but pour solidarity wherever necessary.

Washington has been isolated, even by its own people, whose support came through the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO) Pastors for Peace that after two years of the pandemic, their caravan arrived in Cuba on November 15’s afternoon carrying 75 solidarity activists from the US, over 2 tons of medical aid and most importantly a message of love and solidarity to the people of Cuba.

Friendly governments like Venezuela, China, and Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), who spoke out  loudly backing Cuba, demanded the end of the blockade and urged respect for International Law and sovereignty, which the US government conveniently forgets every time Cuba is the matter of attention.

Left-wing parties, students’ organizations, trade unions, academics, artists, and all kinds of people from around the world, who really know Cuba, initiated over three hundred solidarity actions including in Washington DC where supporters of Cuba stood in front of the Cuban Embassy, far outnumbering a few opponents across the street.

November 15 will not be remembered for violent uprisings, but rather for a world party demanding justice and respect to be done.

The organizers of this theater play shamelessly  bragged for weeks about the over 100 scheduled demonstrations demanding freedom for the Cuban people, which is ridiculous because there is no reason to claim something that the Cubans already own. Therefore, their strategy was born dead. The ones who wrote this failed screenplay, based on smoke and mirrors, do not live in Cuba. They are miles away with no understanding as to what the Cuban people really need.

The polarizing campaign they desperately tried to make stick was aimed to pit Cubans versus Cubans, but hate speeches only work in hating countries, and Cuba is not one of those. It rather is a loving warm island whose people and government have tirelessly fought for their sovereignty, and showed they are willing to keep doing so regardless if they live in or out of the country.

Nowadays, there are just a few people who look at Cuba with hate, and most of them live just across the Florida strait. Those were the ones shouting in the streets of Miami, where hating Cuba is almost a sine qua non condition awarded with social recognition, and is one of the most profitable businesses in Southern Florida.

Let’s ask ourselves why was November 15 protests so different in New York, Texas, and Nebraska where there are also large communities of Cubans? Or why the demonstration in front of the Cuban Embassy in Washington DC was so overwhelmingly pro-Cuba? The facts talk for themselves.

Nobody in his sane mind would think that destabilizing a country, sanctioning its people would help anyone. That is why most Cubans living abroad stood up for Cuba, despite their ideological beliefs. They are still sons and daughters of this island and they wish nothing but the best for it. After all and in the end, 15N was a complete success and a good day for a country dedicated to peace.

Source: Resumen  Latinoamericano- English