Yoani Sanchez in The Miami Herald

ISD's Yahoo! Fellow, Yoani Sanchez, a prominent Cuban blogger and founder of online newspaper 14YMEDIO.com, writes for The Miami Herald on the latest developments in Cuba.

HAVANA — They began to put the dummy together in the afternoon. An old shirt, a palm-tree hat and the dirty pants of a neighbor who repairs cars. It ended up with a sad face and some straw sticking out of the eye holes. A few minutes before the arrival of 2015, they set fire to it. Everybody laughed and danced around the dummy as it burned slowly.

“We’re burning to a crisp the bad things that happened to us in 2014,” said the pyre’s chief organizer, proudly. The flames lasted long enough so that many curious neighbors showed up and joined the hullaballoo.

Emptying pails of water out the balcony, carrying suitcases around the block or burning scarecrows, Cubans attempted to conjure a better year and leave behind the stumbles of the previous one.

A visa to emigrate, prosperity in a business, economic improvement, better housing, love and good health were the wishes most often expressed. Throughout the island hovered the most incredible hopes and predictions. For the sake of asking, people asked for the impossible.

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