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This is going to get good

“This is going to get good”
ROSA LÓPEZ, La Habana | Diciembre 19, 2014

The semester is ending at the of Havana, a time when
everything shuts down until the middle of January. But this year is
different. Expectation runs through the corridors and the central plaza
on University Hill, and the high attendance, on days close to Christmas,
is surprising. Many have come to these days just to talk with
their colleagues about the great news: the announcement of the
reestablishment of relations between Cuba and the United States.

In the humanities departments the debate is greater. “A couple of weeks
ago we held a conference about the dangers of American interference… and
now this,” says a young sophomore studying sociology, who adds, “I never
thought this moment would come so soon.” He has just turned twenty and,
when he says “soon,” he is speaking in relation to his own life. For
others, the dispute between the two countries has lasted for an eternity.

In one of the rooms where some are using their “machine time” to check
their email, a young woman complains to a friend. “My inbox is full from
people asking me how things are over here.” She is quiet for a moment,
realizing I’m listening, but then she continues. “How will things be?
The same as always,” she concludes resolutely.

Below the Mathematics Department, in the so-called “park of the
pig-headed,” the controversy sinks its roots deeper, given the privacy
of the place. But it’s enough to ask a group of young people sitting on
a bench if they’ve seen any American students around, for them to bring
out the jokes and their thoughts. “No, I haven’t seen any today, but the
way things are going we might see a lot of them pretty soon,” spits a
girl wearing an iPod and Converse sneakers.

The others continue with jokes. They mock Martí’s verses about his life
in the United States, “I lived in the monster and I know its entrails.”
In a chorus they convert the phrase to, “I lived in the monster, how I
miss it!” [a play on words in Spanish]. “If you see some yumas [a term
for Americans that is softer than “gringos”] around here, let me know
right away, I’ll be in the Great Hall,” they promise, cackling.

The university remains one of the schools with the greatest ideological
control. From the departments located on Colina Hill, the students often
leave to participate in acts of repudiation against the Ladies in White
headquarters, a short distance from there. Tania, who came to find out
if there would soon be some open doors so that she can familiarize
herself with the site, believes that it will be her turn to climb the
steps “in a new era.”

When asked how she knows this, she exclaims, surprised, “But didn’t you
hear Raúl? The thing with the Americans is over. It’s over!” It’s
surprising that everyone here seems to be so well aware of it.
Especially if you take into account that people this age are the
greatest consumers of the audiovisual materials of the so-called “
packet.” They watch little television and even make fun of those who
still stay home to watch “the Saturday movies” on the national
programming. However, everyone says they saw Raúl Castro’s speech.

The classrooms are nearly empty. Exams are over and just a few remain
preparing for special meetings. On the wall there are still some old
announcements for activities of the University Student Federation (FEU),
along with a photo of the five spies who have already “returned to the
homeland.” The expectations raised by some of the relaxations announced
by Obama are high. “I’m very interested in studying on a scholarship in
the United States, if all that is easier now then at least I can try for
it,” says a girl who enrolled in the Law School just three months ago.

Everyone seems well adapted to the idea of the new policy change. If you
look closely, there’s not much to distinguish them from young people at
a university in Los Angeles or Florida. They dress fashionably, some
have a tablet or laptop where they read or write, and their frame of
reference seems much broader than that of their parents’ generation.
“What I want to see starting to come here are videogame championships…”
says one with a gleam in his eyes. Everyone agrees that among the most
important announcements made on 17 December is the one having to do with
telecommunications and connectivity on the island.

, now comes the ,” says a young woman looking at the
scant menu offerings in the university cafeteria. And so she remains in
her reverie, filling her head with the kilobytes that “Obama is going to
send over” and a bold prediction: “This is going to get good, you’ll
see, you’ll see…”

Source: “This is going to get good” –

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