Expecting little, Cubans got nothing
Below are excerpts from Yoani Sánchez's Generation Y blog.
The July 26 event started early, in fear of the evening rains and to
avoid the sun that makes the neck itch and annoys the audience. It had
the solemnity that is already inherent in the Cuban system: heavy,
outdated and at times dusty. Nothing seemed to jump out of the script;
Raúl Castro didn't take the podium, nor was the speech addressed to a
nation waiting for a program of changes. His absence at the microphone
should not be read as an intention to decentralize responsibility and
allow someone else to speak at such a commemoration. The general did not
speak because he had nothing to say.
In previous speeches, on this same date, the phrases of the Cuban
Communist Party's second secretary have created more confusion than
certainty, so this time he avoided analysts reinterpreting them. Enough
doubts have already been created with his 2007 predictions of mass
access to milk, his unfulfilled forecast of having Santiago de Cuba's
aqueduct completed and the unfortunate phrase ``I'm just a shadow,''
with which he began his speech last year. Perhaps because of this he
preferred to remain silent and leave the address to the most unyielding
man of his government: José Ramón Machado Ventura.
What we saw today is pure State secretiveness. To make no public
commitments to change, no visible implications of transformation, can be
a way of warning us that these do not respond to [Raúl's] political
will, but rather to a momentary despair that -- he thinks -- will
eventually pass. By saying nothing, he has sent us his fullest message:
``I owe you no explanations, no promises, no results.''