Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. -

14 de Marzo del 2000

A FUTURE CHRONICLE ABOUT 'FREE ELIAN.' By Rafael Contreras, Cuba Free Press.

Pinar del Río.- Cuba, the year 2025. Lights! Cameras! Action! The action occurs on an ordinary corner of an ordinary street in Havana. The Cuban capital carries on as if had stopped in time. A policemen is arguing heatedly with a man just over 30. This person has a bundle in his right hand. The gendarme demands that he show what he carries inside the bundle.

The man grudgingly puts his hand in the nylon sack. He shows the policeman some paper flowers. The flowers are well-made by an artisan's hand, perhaps the same man who now argues with the policeman. The man has the face of an intelligent and calm person. All artisans are usually that way. The artisans have survived on the island thanks to chance. The policeman takes out his note book and writes and hands a note to the man.

The man appears to have exhausted his patience. "This is unfair, I don't have money to pay that fine."

The man in uniform looks at him and smiles with great irony. "That's your problem. You don't have a permit to sell those flowers on the street. I'm fining you and if you continue arguing, I will take you prisoner."

The victim realizes the policeman is talking seriously. The officer orders him to leave the corner immediately.

After walking awhile the street vendor stops and rests his tired feet in front of an imposing building. It is a structure which faces the sea. A line of people is in front of its entrance. A sign is written in Spanish and English: "Office of Interests of The United States in Cuba."

The man looks at those in line and then, at the top of his voice, starts to shout his protest: "Free Elián! Free Elián!"

Some people smile as they hear him while others, bolder, roar with laughter. No one doubts the insanity of the man who had just been fined. Then the guy takes some flowers out of his sack and continues his shouts of protest more enthusiastically.

Someone in the line comes up to him, "Listen, pal, you aren't well in the head."

The other answers, "Why do you tell me that?"

"Because that thing with the kid Elián happened 25 years ago. No one remembers that. They returned the boy back then. They brought him back here. That's water over the dam. Shout something else."

Those in line endorse what was said with chuckles.

That was when the fined seller looked at all of them and dropped the next clause like a thunderclap, "That was what was screwed up about the case, that they returned me. I am Elián González, my friends."

He let the bunch of flowers he carried in his hand drop to the ground and went away with tired steps, torn shoes and the bent back of an elderly youth. The people smiled and nodded and barely looked at the paper flowers, looking very wilted as they lay alongside the road.

Rafael Contreras Bueno, Cuba Free Press.

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