For decades of Cold War deep freeze, communications between Miami’s exilios and their relatives back in Cuba were beyond primitive. Family updates came only from newly arrived relatives who survived the raft trip to America. Back in Havana, radio signals that bounced past censors or the odd smuggled foreign newspaper gave the only hints of life in los Estados Unidos. Even in Cuba’s modern era, personal computers are rare, and international phone calls are still crazy expensive.
Now, that’s all changing. Amid President Obama’s move to restore full diplomatic ties, the two nations reopened direct phone links in March. New companies are already popping up to provide that most modern of links: direct U.S.-Cuban text messaging. “[It’s] a great way to communicate simple, short messages quickly and effectively,” says Frank Caruso, founder and CEO of SMS Cuba, a Fort Lauderdale-based company offering the service. “Customers love it because they’ve never had such a form of instant communication ever.”
But there’s still something missing, a more direct form of communication that might help rebuild those bridges between our scarred nations even more rapidly. Yes, we’re talking about emoji. As LOLs and OMGs start flying back and forth between Miami and Cuba, it’s high time we had a custom set to express our true, innermost feelings.
If you're really ambitious, download one of the many make-your-own emojis apps for Android or iPhone and put these bad boys to use already:
305: Why just keep it 100 when you can keep it 305?
Butt: There are plenty of body-part emojis but none for Miami’s favorite region. And no, that peach emoji isn’t quite enough.
Bag of cash: Now there’s an even easier way to bribe your public official of choice — or at least to let him know that graft is on the way.
Valet: The official Miami symbol for “You sure it’s worth dealing with parking around here?”
Chonga girl: Sure, you can use the “information girl” to throw some subtle shade, but in Miami, sometimes we have to make it blunt.
Cockroach: There are two emoji for dragons but none for the beast we’re required to regularly vanquish.
Conga drums: When it comes to music, it’s the drumbeat that really matters.
Coffees: One cup is never enough for us, even when it comes to emoji.
¡Dale!: Pitbull needs this. We all need this.
Dominoes: There are a bunch of emoji for Japanese tiles and none for dominoes? How are we supposed to let people know we’re headed to Calle Ocho?
Dead Fidel: Everyone is waiting to use this one.
Chancleta: It would add to our beach day Instagram captions and also be the emoji for angry mothers everywhere.
Pastelito: All of those Cuban coffee emoji just wouldn’t be complete without one.
Guayabera: Forget the tuxedo emoji; this is how you indicate fancy dress is required.
Hurricane: Not totally relevant over the past ten years, but it probably will be soon.
Chop-chop: Dishes that actually look appetizing are much needed on our emoji keyboard.
Cuban sandwich: Why argue about dining options? Toss this one out there and head for the nearest ventana.
Pots and pans: For truly celebratory moments.
Votive: Want to wish good luck? Better have a San Lazaro candle to make it official.
Making dollars rain: For when you have so much money you’re not even sure what to do with it.
Cocaine: It’s sugar! Swear. You know, for those times you need to tell Celia Cruz’s signature joke.
Che: Useful either when you're texting Cuba and need to convey either the sentiments of the revolutionary fighter, or to indicate that someone has been buying too many annoying Hot Topic shirts.
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Sports car: All those public transport emojis are nice and we wish we had more reason to use them in Miami, but in around here a sports car is a much more needed vehicular emoji.