I am one of those hundreds of thousands Cubans the journalist Reinaldo Escobar mentioned as supporters of the newly elected president of the United States. For me, surely as for the rest, Obama is a symbol of hope. Hope that (among other things), at last there is a the tiniest glimmer of a possibility that he will end—at least on the part of reasonable and intelligent leader—the dispute between the governments of Cuba and the United States which has provided so much ammunition to the government of the Island to “justify” the repression and shortages inside the country. And I say “on the part of a leader…” referring to the American side, because I am convinced that the Cuban side is not prepared to put an end to the rubric that most strongly supports its absurd ideology. Perhaps this is the reason that at this point Cuba is the only government that has not congratulated the new American president.
Just yesterday, November 19, I had the opportunity to enjoy the moving victory speech delivered by Obama in front of more than a hundred thousand souls: an emotional and happy audience that was not called together by any mass organization, by any party, nor by their work places; there was not a single uniform or fundamentalist slogan; it was a collective spirit, spontaneous and pure, of a free nation. They were their under their own sovereign will. All of those faces suffused with hope and I could only feel a profound empathy for them and also, I must admit, a green envy for the enormous abyss that Cubans still must cross before we can feel the magic of those two forces: freedom and hope. Certainly Obama faces a rough road, a huge responsibility, and it is my humble vote that he will succeed in an endeavor whose results have repercussions throughout the world.
I’m convinced that Cuba will not be one of the priorities of the new president of the United States, however, the sepulchral silence of the Cuban press after the November 4th election is the most eloquent proof of the danger Obama represents to the politics of confrontation that the government of the Island has cultivated so carefully for nearly half a century. The young president’s recent declarations about the closure of the Guantanamo prison was a first blunt blow to the face of the Cuban dictatorship; hopefully in the near future he will continue to shake the myth of David vs. Goliath. If so, Obama would constitute—among many other promising things for us—a species of termite who, in a short time, would destroy the anachronistic Roundtable [Mesa Redonda], digesting, along the way, all of its pathetic guests.
Mesa Redonda/Roundtable is a Cuban television talk show on which Fidel was the ‘leading host’.