BLOG MANAGER’S NOTE: Don’t miss this post over at the English version of “Pedazos de la Isla.” Miguel Galban Gutierrez is one of the prisoners of the Black Spring of 2003, recently exiled to Spain. Here’s a teaser and a link:
Independent journalist, independent union worker, and mechanical engineer, Miguel Galban Gutierrez is a dignified Cuban who was punished by the Castro tyranny or acting like a free man in a totalitarian land. He was condemned to the prisons of the island during the Black Spring, and now resides in Spain- free, but exiled. He has launched his own blog, “Desde el Destierro”, where he chronicles his painful prison experiences and the current events which transpire in Cuba.
Now, Galban and his family seek to start new lives in Spain. Although he resides thousands of miles from his country, Cuba lives in his heart, as expressed through his words and his actions. Here is his story:
“Freedom is the right every man has to be honorable and to think and speak without hypocrisy.”- Jose Marti
“The pain of imprisonment is the harshest of all pains. It slaughters intelligence, dries the soul, and leaves ineradicable scars on one’s spirit.”- Jose Marti
Tell us a bit about your origins- what part of Cuba are you from and how did you grow up?
I was born on January 12th of 1965 in the municipality of Havana known as Guines. I grew up with economic difficulties, for my father was the only one who provided a source of income for my family, which consisted of my other four brothers and I. He suffered a number of consequences for having had a transit accident and they did not allow him to carry out various productive jobs.
But this did not keep me from being raised in a peaceful home. My parents taught us the best morals so that we could be exemplary human beings and Christians, and so that none of their children may succumb to becoming social deviants.
With that upbringing I commenced my studies and achieved a high academic level. In 1992, I graduated from the Jose Antonio Echeverria Superior Polytechnic Institute as a Mechanical Engineer with a Masters in Engineering Maintenance in 1998.
When I began to carry out my professional work I started reflecting my rebellious posture. I began to constantly witness and confront all the irregularities which government officials committed while remaining immune before the laws of society. This special social class has been around since Castro rose to power, and as long as they pay tribute to the revolution, and mainly to the figure of dictator Fidel Castro, then they are exempt from any penalties.
When did you begin your work as an independent journalist? Was it difficult for you to exercise such a profession seeing as you were not working for the state as an “official journalist”?