The sun rises

eyes open

the market opens too

a worker stocks shelves with corn, tomatoes, and onions

preparing for the day

a mother makes breakfast

her little girl washes her face and dresses for school

she eats breakfast while watching cartoons on television 

good bye kisses and hugs are shared

there is work, school, shopping for staples during the day

a typical day

similar in many ways to many other places

people working and learning

eating and sleeping 

trying to make ends meet

trying to provide a better life for their kids

hoping and dreaming and struggling

dancing and singing

praying and laughing and crying 

talking about life and sports

about politics and weather

just like most other places

except most other places don’t have economic sanctions crushing their economy, along with people’s hopes and dreams

most other places don’t have an embargo cutting it off from money and resources

sanctions that make getting gas for your moped a challenge

sanctions that force you to drive a cab for 14 hours every day just to barely get by

sanctions that makes seeing distant family members very difficult or impossible

sanctions that prevent investment and jobs in your neighborhood 

sanctions that keep many people in poverty

because this is Cuba

just 90 miles away from us

about the same distance as New York to Philadelphia 

for 60 years, our government has tried to strangle the Cubans into submission

12 of our presidents have imposed this brutality on 3 generations of Cubans

grandmothers, mothers, and daughters have all lived through this economic warfare

grandfathers, fathers, and sons have all lived with these inhumane policies

our government doesn’t like the Cuban government

so our government hopes to make living conditions in Cuba so bad that Cubans will rise up against their government 

60 years of failed, harmful policies

lowering the quality of life of 11 million people

impairing parents from providing a better life for their children 

limiting hopes and increasing struggles

because of our government

the people of Cuba

laugh less and cry more

these people who want nothing more than

to have peace

to have friendly relations with the United States

to be neighbors