Joy, excitement, euphoria, tears, optimism, expectation, surprise. Words can not describe how the Cuban people feel. More than 50 years have passed since the severing of diplomatic relations with the United States and the establishment of the unjust economic blockade; and 16 since the incarceration of the five Cuban heroes, thus the national reaction to the yesterday’s news was one of delight and absolute joy.
In the street everyone is talking, and their words are excited and chaotic like their emotions.
Germán Menéndez, I.T technician said: “I think this is the result of the pressure exerted by the many Latin American associations: CARICOM, MERCOSUR, CELAC, UNASUR united in support of Cuba’s case. We are happy, extremely happy because at last we have done it, the Five are in their country, with their families, and we are full of hope and faith that our economic future will change.”
Liliana Álvarez, agreed that Latin American integration was essential, in addition to the entire campaign led by movements in solidarity with the Cuban heroes and Cuba, and the struggle of this courageous and resilient people for so many years. “I feel indescribable joy because I am here and I am part of this,” she stated, and with emotion taking over and tears welling in her eyes exclaimed, “Comandante en Jefe, we did it!”
“This is the best news so far this century. The return of the Five has been long awaited, suffered by Cubans and many people outside the continent. There are emotions which words can’t express. What we Cubans are feeling and experiencing today can only be understood by those here and abroad who have lived it with us. This is the best Christmas present for a call which had become universal,” commented José Antonio Pérez, foreign trade management expert.
“It is the first time a U.S. President, after more than 50 years of a blockade policy and hostile, reactionary positions against Cuba, has officially expressed his will and intention to restore diplomatic relations, and most importantly without having to cede our dignity. I think the exchange, and new regulations to come, will be very beneficial for the Cuban people,” stated Gretel Chinea, communications expert.
“I and many others didn’t believe we would live to see this. We are surprised because although we knew that conversations were taking place and attempts being made by the Cuban and U.S. government to exchange prisoners, we never imagined it would happen now, so suddenly, we always thought that this tragedy would continue,” said Rubén Pérez Landaburo.
“What we had been hoping for a long time has finally happened. Now we are in a state of shock, this has a strong psychological impact on all Cubans because it has been years of waiting, uncertainty, tension between Cuba and the U.S. and now everything seems like it is going to change, at least the speeches by the Cuban and U.S. Presidents fill us with optimism.” Randy Pérez, bank employee, commented.
Rodolfo Laborde Parla, telecommunications technician stated that he is happy, but skeptical, noting that “the Five are now home, this is a significant achievement, but with respect to the reestablishment of relations between Cuba and the U.S. - we will have to wait and see if they really do prosper in a climate of equality of conditions. But yes, we are all happy, surprised and expectant.”
Other people, such as Marcelo Caballero Rodríguez from Matanzas, expressed that it was a nice gesture from Obama. The pensioner also emphasized, “Something very exciting has happened, which we also owe to the people of the U.S. and many other people and solidarity leaders of the world.”
“Cuba is experiencing a moment of glory and great joy. This December 17 will mark an important chapter in the history of the homeland and the memory of these anti-terrorist fighters,” emphasized Physical Culture graduate José Luis Gómez, who in reference to the blockade, added, “This has been a wise decision. Cubans don’t deserve to have this punishment prolonged any further.”
THE FIVE ARE FINALLY HOME
Just like in a workshop where Camilo Díaz Armentero, director of the Ciego de Ávila Graphic Base Business Unit works; as among letters and books in the case of philologist, Donna González Dobaño, Cubans experienced intense emotions this Tuesday.
For the young man, born in 1990, a difficult decade for the Cuban Revolution and who has since birth, suffered many of the scarcities caused by the U.S. economic blockade imposed against Cuba, it is logical that the news of the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the countries, as well as the release of the three Cuban anti-terrorist fighters, would be of great significance to him. “It is now up to the U.S. government to fulfill all that President Barack Obama announced, for the good of the people of Cuba and the U.S.”
Camilo said he was greatly excited by the return of Gerardo, Ramón and Tony, and that the promise Fidel made in 2001 has been fulfilled.
Employees at the Palco Hotel stopped their work and gathered in the lobby to hear President Raúl Castro´s speech.
“We are very happy!” said Susel Martínez, customer service specialist, to Granma. “Here we have followed the case of the Five and now that we will have them all home again we can feel satisfied, we have been waiting for this for a long time,” adding, “This is the best end of year present we could wish for, a great end to 2014.”
Fernando Guerrero, the hotel’s chef, commented that “we are happy because they have returned, as Fidel promised they would. We believe that it is one more achievement of the Revolution, first, because they decided to free the three heroes and second, because diplomatic relations between Cuba and the U.S. are being restored, although there are many rough edges that need to be smoothed out in this regard.”
For her part, Nerelys Marín, head of reception, expressed, “Although we know that our government and people have spent many years trying to secure their return, knowing that they are here has come as a great surprise.”
Hotel manager Fernando Álvarez commented that, on the whole, employees “received the news with much enthusiasm, even when the news had already arrived, the elation was immense after hearing it announced by our President.”
Félix Rojas Vigó from the city of Guaso described the release of Antonio, Gerardo and Ramón, and the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with the U.S. as the news of the year in Cuba, and possibly the world. “16 years of the unjust imprisonment of these young men is finally over, these men who did nothing more than defend the people of Cuba and the U.S. against terrorism.”
“I am certain that this is the most important decision adopted by a U.S. president in regards to Cuba since the triumph of the Revolution in 1959. Obama’s courage must be acknowledged. Well, we know the pressure he is under.”
“It is true that the problem of the economic, commercial and financial blockade - which has caused so much harm to the Cuban people - has still not been resolved, but we are hopeful that sooner or later it will be eliminated, given its anachronism and, as the latest events show, the bilateral dialogue currently underway is smoothing the way towards this objective, without compromising our independence and sovereignty.”
Máximo Nápoles Vega a pensioner from Guantanamo stated to Granma that Gerardo, Ramón and Tony, together with René and Fernando, have a special place in the heart of all Cubans, for their example of heroism, resistance in the face of any test, and loyalty to the homeland.
The same reason for which in the center of the Island, in Villa Clara, Adelmar Cedeño´s family, one of the many in Cuba, gathered to listen to the announcement afterwards coming together in an interminable embrace.
The same love was shown by students from the JuanCarlosRodríguezElementary School, also located in Villa Clara, who came out to the plaza to rejoice, holding hands and accompanied by five Cuban flags.
Why are you all so happy? Asked Granma, to which the pionero Enmanuel Rodríguez replied: “Eh, who said you had to be big to feel Cuban.”