The Happiest Day of Our Lives

Note this date: on Dec. 17, a day of pilgrimage for the devotees of Saint Lazarus, the sky, which had been overcast in the morning, opened up exactly at noon, allowing the sun to shine over a Havana that had woken up half gray, half cold, and that all of a sudden became luminous and warm, as if blessed.

Noon has never been waited for so anxiously. There have never been so many people waiting by their radio or television at one time, hurrying the hours along with all of their energy. Raúl and Obama would speak at 12, ours from La Havana and the neighbor from Washington. Yes, the neighbor, without another name, as it could and should always have been, if so many terrible obstacles the size of a history that is as old as some of us had not intervened.

The time finally came and both spoke, with only words of gratitude for all of those to whom we owe our happiness for the return of our heroes and for the change in understanding that was foreseen in the recovery of what appeared impossible: complete diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States.

The deepest reflections will come in the hours that follow. Possibly, like 56 years ago, “From now on, everything will be much more difficult.” What no one doubts now is that we are experiencing emotions similar to those felt by our parents at sunrise on Jan. 1, 1959.

Mommy also told me about it. And I, nostalgic for what I would not live — daybreak like that could not be repeated — felt like I had the disadvantage … until Dec. 17, 2014.

I cannot imagine a greater happiness than the one that shook me with tears of excitement after hearing our president-general say that Fidel’s “return” had been achieved, and that last night he spoke with Obama over the phone and they agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations. While the complete defeat of the embargo is still needed, he noted, there will be mutual cooperation. The president-general reaffirmed the willingness to discuss any and all topics to remove the obstacles that remain in order to coexist normally, despite key differences.

How great that this is happening when Fidel, Raúl, the historical generation which brought us this victory, are alive and leading this country’s destiny. Let their dignity and heroic guide never be lost.

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