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From Ferry Line to Internet Line

From Ferry Line to Internet Line / Yoani Sanchez
Posted on May 7, 2015

Generation Y, Yoani Sanchez, 7 May 2015 – Toward the other side of the
sea, that point on the horizon that so many Cubans dream of, several of
the curious were gazing yesterday as they sat along Havana’s Malecon.
Hours earlier word begun to spread that the United States has authorized
“certain specific licenses for passenger ferry service” to Cuba. The
rumor was enough for many to play with the idea of how this country
would change if it were connected by boat to the other shore. A thousand
and one illusions have been unleashed in recent hours, although the four
ferry companies authorized by the U.S. Department of the Treasury have
yet to receive approval from the Cuban authorities.

However, the symbolic effect of this relaxation reaches dimensions that
transcend the political gesture. We live on an island and this has given
the sea, for us, the character of an insurmountable frontier, a wall
that isolates us from the world. When a Cuban prepares to visit another
country, we rarely use the verb “to travel,” but rather appeal to a more
dramatic word, salir: which means to “go out” or “get out” or even
“break away.” To escape our insularity, to get to the other side, we
have to saltar: “leap over.” A catamaran from Florida arriving along our
coast every day would break – at least metaphorically – this geographic
isolation used, for the last half century, for ideological purposes.

People in the street, however, are waiting for more than allegories. Now
hopes focus on trips by Cuban-Americans becoming cheaper with the new
maritime connection. Many dream that the holds of these boats can also
bring the resources for private enterprise, agriculture and domestic
life. “The pieces I’m lacking for my Russian-made Lada car,” Cheo, an
engineer turned taxi driver, dreamed yesterday. His brother bought some
Soviet car parts in Miami but he can’t send them because “they weigh too
much and it’s too expensive by air.”

In the afternoon, two men were arguing in a crowded bus about whether
the Cuban government would authorize a ferry landing in Havana. “Not
even crazy people are going to allow that, boy,” shouted the older one,
continuing his argument with, “Do you really think they’re going to let
a boat with an American flag dock here?” The younger one, however,
turned the conversation to his interests, ”What we need them to do, in
addition to a ferry line, is put in an Internet line.” And so he
finished with an ironic laugh.

Cubans appear ready to make up for lost time. To fit into the world in
every way possible. To convert the sea that for so long was a barrier
into a path, a road, a connection.

Source: From Ferry Line to Internet Line / Yoani Sanchez | Translating
Cuba –

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