I Defend My Lawyer / Rene Gomez Manzano

The lawyer Amelia Rodríguez Cala. Photo by X.

The lawyer Amelia Rodríguez Cala. Photo by Jorge Ignacio Pérez

Havana, Cuba, February 2014 – Last week disturbing news circulated throughout the Cuban dissident community: The top permanent body of the National Organization of Collective Law Firms (ONBC) suspended Amelia Rodríguez Cala—the great defender of accused opponents of the regime—from practicing law for a period of six months.

As the days passed, additional details about the clumsy maneuver surfaced. It became clear that, although they invoked other reasons, what is at the heart of this new hoax is the aim of punishing this learned woman because of her upright stand in the exercise of her profession.

As usual, other pretexts are deployed. They initiated disciplinary proceedings against Amelia based on alleged complaints from two clients. At this point, it is reasonable to suspect that at least one of them is a provocateur in the service of the regime. In any case, a cursory examination of the two complaints demonstrates the weakness of the allegations.

In the case of Caridad Chacón Feraudy, it is claimed that the attorney did not submit her evidence in time. Never mind that a technical assistant breached her obligation of notifying and informing the lawyer about the matter. Nor that Amelia ultimately won the case, as the evidence was presented to better purpose, and accepted and used by the Court. Continue reading

The Eye Behind the Door / Rosa María Rodríguez Torrado

The eye you see is not
the eye because you see it,
it is the eye because it sees you.

Antonio Machado (Proverbios y Cantares)

In Cuba, we often visit homes where their residents hang, on the inside of the main door, the image of an eye. It is a symbol associated with African-originated religions, such as one that shows a tongue traversed by a dagger.

There are several eyes on our country and its citizens; Foreign and native eyes, focused on the civil society that emerges and on the changes that are urgently needed in all aspects of national life. I don’t mean to lean on beliefs to illustrate my point of view about these themes: they have just been ingrained in our reality for decades now and call many people’s attention.

At present, the authorities are immersed in the implementation of their “procedures for good intentions,” a plan that they refer to as “an updating program” of its model, and in which they enumerate what they understand still needs to be accomplished—solely on the economic front; Nothing to put at risk their sacrificed and historical status—without a specification on how to achieve it, nor the steps and deadlines for its application. Cuban television reporters show us, via their informative audiovisuals, the representatives of the higher hierarchy of government involved in constant reprimands against their municipal and provincial cadres, who have either not advanced in the process or have hardly done so. How to put forward what, up until now, has been taboo, could very well be one of the questions.

In assemblies of “moral table-slammings” and “shouted, public scoldings,” it seems evident that not only frustration abounds, but also despair. As they have built a government based on the “price of propaganda” and on looking for the straw in the American and, in general, all other capitalist countries’ eye. But they disregarded looking into their own country, and, today, in spite of the quality of life enjoyed in Cuba up until 1959, and of the human potential it possesses, we are like a discordant Polyphemus, lacking in freedoms and democracy in full modern times and looking clumsily to reestablish a more just order to rescue our rights and all the constitutional guarantees we enjoyed when they came to power. Ambiguous procedures are not needed: What is needed is that they acknowledge they were wrong and that they revert what they changed for the worst with the purpose of subjecting society and cling to power forever.

Their constant preaching is not fair, nor is the fact that they refuse to acknowledge their role in the economic, political and social mess that, for decades now, has lacerated Cuba. After so many years of programs and suggestions from the part of the Cuban political opposition, it becomes clear to us today how they have been incorporating some of those ideas in the fore-mentioned pamphlet, even when they don’t know this opposition and condemn it to illegality. But this time around, the authorities appear to have a real will to hop on the train of much-needed reforms. We are going from an almost paralyzed “gradualism” with which they lulled us, to a galloping transition that seems to be conditioned by the illness of the Venezuelan president, even when they don’t admit it.

But a real process of reform in Cuba, if it is to last, must ensure an authentic state of law and cement itself in the acknowledgement and legitimacy of political options. Even if they traverse our tongue with a dagger, we must continue in our insistence on these fundamental premises for the health of our nations, and in keeping “our eye” focused on our national life. Because there is still much to do.

Translated by T.

August 9 2011

Local Version of the Revolts / Regina Coyula

Internet Photo

Since the Arab world’s popular uprisings began, the average Cuban citizen walks about very confused by the disparity of the accounts of the press and the ones from people who claim they “saw it all through the antenna” or from people who were told of it by someone who saw it all through the antenna, which is why with the internet in mini-doses I will devote some of this volatile time to the search for the other side of the war omitted by the zealous journalists of my Cubita the Beautiful.

Our government’s affinities to the Gadhafi and Al Assad regimes span decades, which explains their support to both of them. But it is one thing is to support a government, regardless of how questionable it is (as is the case) and a very different one to hide the fact that those same governments have attacked their own people with landmines, with ammunition of raw uranium, with a mercenary army —the term CAN be used there— and other, equally reproachable methods.

I have to endure Gadhafi’s boy, so macho and threatening; I need to endure Hafez’s boy when he declares that the revolts have been provoked by infiltrated foreigners—even Syrians don’t buy that—but we Cubans take that with a grain of salt, and I can almost hear my neighbor Tomás protesting the horror those people are going through, those people who will not be overwhelmed by the national outcry enough to resign.

Every time I see images from Libya, those unmistakably green banners appear, pointing toward where the camera of the Telesur correspondent needs to aim. Incensed with such partiality, my husband, with sarcasm, brings me back to reality: “It’s the version meant for us. Don’t watch Walter Martínez. Don’t watch the newscast. Or don’t watch the war on the internet anymore.”

Translated by T

May 4 2011

Flailing Around in the Dark / Rebeca Monzo

A sale at a doorstep

The year has begun, and we see timbiriches* sprouting all over, selling mostly the same products that are sold neighborhood after neighborhood. Necessity has made everyone set up tables outside to sell—in the hope of deriving some financial benefit from it—all sorts of products. The ones that have proliferated the most are the ones that sell food items. It’s logical: when money is scarce, food tends to be the only thing that sells. Bread and roasted pork, bread and ham, bread and omelet, cheese pizza, etc. The omnipresent ingredient is bread.

Many people are already speculating on the scarcity of bread and flour at grocery establishments. The long lines are back—all the time—in front of the stores that sell both items. If you are successful in buying bread, even when it is not expensive (10 pesos per pound) it is seldom of good quality. It usually lacks fat, or it has not been properly baked.

Just the other day, when my friend Armando returned from the bakery with a pound and a half of bread, a very tidy gentleman—even if humbly dressed—approached him with very good manners and explained to him, ashamed, that he had not eaten for the day and did not have the ten pesos to buy liberated bread (that is bread that is not sold through the rationing system). He asked if he could have a piece. My friend, moved by such strange request, immediately gave him the half pound he had just bought. Still amazed by what he had experienced, he told me what had just happened: “The worst of all this—he said—is that, for fifty years now, we have been flailing around in the dark, and we still insist in implementing already tried models that, in the long run, did not produce any results because we didn’t first prepare the proper infrastructure.”

*Translator’s note: Timbiriches is a Cuban word meaning a very small business, such as a stand, kiosk, umbrella, or selling out of one’s home.

Translated by T

January 23 2011

This is Not the Novel of the Revolution (7) / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

(… Chapter 7 …)

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Dreams of death. Dreams of shit. Political nightmares of statelessness.

Close your eyes and open your mind. Crack the skull. Dreaming does not cost anything. Dreaming dreams of a Havana deserted of Havana.

White matter on the sheets. Semen, brain, liquid, gel and associations of anticoagulant ideas.

The reality is diluted in unreality. The Revolution is absorbed in its own rhetoric. The images are unimaginable. And they hurt. It hurts even when they no longer hurt at all.

It is not necessary to inhale the spicy and always adulterated smoke of the sweet hemp leaf prohibited by the current Penal Code and a Socialist Constitution in perpetuity.

It is not necessary the frothy jar of mold jug shit by Cuban livestock. Nor bell-like flowers like girls’ skirts with caterpillars pedaling in their twats, suicide girls with petals and pistils and pollen instead of a penis. Cliterature. Shaman girls. Amen, Om.

It is not necessary the disposable needle and yet invariably contaminated with HIV. Human Imagination Virus. Death can be another dream of freedom.

Orlando dreaming dreams of death on the bed. Dreams of shit through the blinds that are blades to chip the early-bird sounds of his neighborhood and city. Lawton, Havana. Political nightmares of the too much country that never was. Cuba, America. Short circuits of synapses beyond State control. Cheap oneiterature.

Sweating, naked.

Tension joints, tetanus muscles. His body tries to sleepwalk. His knees are shaking. His face grimaces. He breathes badly, through his mouth. Havanitosis called dyspnea. Worse dreams the exorbitant orbits under his eyelids. In the neck, a cold that is pure lack of solidarity. REM of the Revolution. It’s called delirium.

Orlando delirious sleeping. His temples on the verge of imploding.

Dreams of Cuba, of course. Dreams where the island turns until it sinks in slow motion or is the sky spinning out of control, the stars tracing rabid circles of light in the nerves of his collapsed retinas. Orlando is in a state of shock. In a State of shock.

Dreams with Fidel, indubitably. There was a time when every dream was filtered by the sacred pentagramaton, founding work of the Cuban calendar and the rest of our vocabulary. VoCUBAlary. Everybody now: Gimme an “F”! Gimme an “I”! Gimme a “D”! Gimme an “E”! Gimme an “L”! What does it spell?!

Orlando no longer knows what it spells. His lips move and he hears everything in the dream, but he would not know how to say what the star says, the star of five blunt letters and even a gun, olive-gray uniform and telescopic sight and post-comandante degrees.

Dreams with his dead mother who of course still has not died. Mother and Revolution eternal. The contemporary bodies of María and Fidel. The fear of old age in both. María praying in the church in Lawton, Fidel behaving viciously in the Plaza of the Revolution. Childlessness in both Mephistophelean mummies. Orlando doesn’t recognize anyone in the dream, because it is precisely these two who are his last acquaintances. María who gives birth to Fidel. Fidel who is aborted by God.

Dreams with JAAD far away, so close. JAAD mirage, JAAD generation of writers who calm neurosis with pills, prizes, passports to think a little less of our sex every day. Pleasure rotted in lack of soul. Orlando who doesn’t remember the game of these gone acronyms of another century already. JAAD.

Dreams with Ipatria close, so far. Ipatria hopeful and ill, Ipatria truly alive and beautiful pixelated if you try to name her as if there were music in pronouncing her syllables. I-pa-tria. The madness of a trainload of electroshocks in the basement with cockroaches in the loony bin, while a mediocre technician sticks a gloved finger into the dry depths of her vagina, and then she laughs and asks softly with Ipatria eyes, please, no. Orlando his throat also dry in the dream from too strong a desire to kill or be killed.

Dreams of love. Help me, help him. Isn’t that sufficient? Enough.

Dreams of the exquisite corpse of the Revolution. Do not let him keep dreaming, do not let him go, do not leave him, no.

Dreams of his fucking death, while Orlando asks them meekly with sleepless eyes from within the dream, please, no. It is sufficient, but not enough.

Translated by T and anonymous.

February 9 2011

Pigeon Blisters / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

THE WAKE OF THE POPULAR PIGEON

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

With no eyes (the preferred organs of sacred sacrifices). With a gag of a stick inserted in her beak (reminiscent metaphor to executions in Cuba). Crucified (historic prank that no beast except for man in a savage state would commit). Exposed on a street post like a public menace (as a feathered Christ, and no less defenseless and innocent than the original mammal).

There are moments when being Cuban leaves me with a death void in the chest. If we are capable of this against a little pigeon, what wouldn’t we do as a people against other people when Armageddon (Arma-G2) descends on Cuba?

I take a look around me. No one gives a fuck. I repeat this to scandalize the prudish censors of the Internet, like Eduardo Fontes in his lieutenant-colonelism auditorium of the Minister of the Interior. A fuck. No one gives a fuck in this humiliation of hate crime of humanity. Not one policeman in the neighborhood would have the guts to touch this spell, to show any pity for the corpse. Not one Public Health technician will protest on the basis of hygiene, nor on the psychological impact on children who will now see all this wickedness, as it rots up there.

The Cuban political police should be censuring this kind of act instead of cornering the emerging beauty of freedom of expression. I wonder what would have happened if someone had drawn an innocent graffiti with that pre-deluge word: FIDEL.

Please forgive me: I am insulted. I don’t know if this little bird was bled to death in the name of a god of hatred. I don’t know if some hominid drank its blood to save himself from cancer or to curse another hominid. I only know that our anthropology is criminal. Low-down. Abusive. With no democratic or educable future. Full of fear and—especially—full of shit. Dictatorial to death. Another half-century of vile violence still awaits us. Trust me. You will see.

I once wrote a love poem to a blonde girl. Rhymed verses, as it’s the norm when we lack the air to break the rhyme. Her little bird—a parakeet, also yellow—had just died. It dropped dead out of sorrow in its cage, a week after its adored blue bird lover died of distemper. It was 2007 and my blond girl-love was also dying of sorrow. We buried the desolated bird in a little soulless park at Alamar, the so-called Hanoi, and it was like burying ourselves alive. We had no strength to go on. We were both exhausted from rage. We would have to die to be reborn many centuries later. Or even never again. But that minimal act of posthumous pity for the little yellow bird had left an open door to hope in the midst of the sickening barbarism of the “camel” buses—also yellow—and almendrones, the fat-almond-old-cars, shared taxis for twenty pesos and people with not one pinch of love.

We were not people with not one pinch of love. We had lost even that last pinch of love, which at the moment seemed to us (but it wasn’t, at all) much worse. Sad little bird that D loved….

Today, like all the impoverished citizens of Cuba, just like you yourself without going any further, Landy arrived late to the holocaust of the pigeon. I walked through that stinking corner with dilated pupils to check on a retinal hypertension. If I did not have it yet, I caught it right there, in front of that unbelievable urban Golgotha. Motherfuckers. Blood filled my brain. I repeat, and, please, someone send this line in a comment to the blogger crew of Yohandry Fontana or Eduardo Fontes or anyone like them: Motherfuckers.

Forgive them, Pigeon, because they know very well what they are doing. And more. They know very well what they—those bastards—will do to us.

Translated by T

February 11 2011

11 Titans, 11 Hopes / Antunez

Librado Linares García

Librado Linares García

Librado Linares García, Doctor Oscar Elías Biscet, Ángel Moya Acosta, Diosdado González Marrero, Félix Navarro Rodríguez, Iván Hernández Carrillo, Héctor Maceda Gutiérrez, José Daniel Ferrer García, Guido Sigler Amaya and Pedro Argüelles Morán are 11 Cubans who represent much to our country and who are writing—through their dignified stance—one of the most beautiful and courageous pages of these 50+ years of tyranny.

They know what they are exposing themselves to, and they know—through their own experience—what their oppressors are capable of; in fact, their sentences now respond to the huge crime of peacefully defending the rights and freedoms of their compatriots. The regime is presently enraged by them because these men refuse to accept exile as the condition to recover that which is theirs by right: their freedom. The deadline that the dictatorship established—in conversations with Cardinal Ortega—for their release is now long overdue. What will the regime do with them? Only God—and the criminals who keep them jailed—know that. No matter what happens, we remain convinced of two facts: first, that the strength and resolve of these 11 Titans will not be defeated, and, second, that we will not abandon these brothers to their fate, and will strengthen our fight to get them out of Dante’s inferno.

Translated by T

7 February 2011

Obama Loosens and Castro Squeezes / Antunez

The new recently-approved measures from the North unfortunately only point at—albeit with the best of intentions—oxygenating the dying tyranny of Havana, without providing any benefits to the democratic cause in Cuba.

The administration of Mr. Obama must understand that it is not the United States of America that needs to change their policies regarding their relationship to Cuba, but that it is the Castro regime that needs to implement changes and democratic openness, free its prisoners, respect human rights, and also introduce a market economy and allow free enterprise, without setbacks or cosmetic measures.

The Obama administration continues to act, in my opinion, in an erratic manner, avoiding the marrow of the issue. I would like to think that most of those who support these policies have not lost their faith in the main actors of change, that democratic opposition that—both inside and outside Cuba—never ceases in its attempts to accelerate the transition and the practical implementation of true openness.

I would also like it if some radio journalists who gather the opinions of people in Cuba did so in a more balanced way, not limiting to seek the opinions of only those in favor of Obama’s policies, but also of those of us who have a different view. Journalism, except—of course—for the official press, is supposed to inform with transparency and objectivity, and not to please or praise people or interests, no matter how influential or powerful they may seem.

Dear Journalist: If you have any doubts, please ask Radio Martí journalists Juilo Machado and Jorge Jáuregui, and they will surely teach you how to remain friends while being fair, and without renouncing impartial journalism and without the slightest passion.

Translated by T

15 January 2011

Albear, a Patriot of Construction / Dimas Castellanos

Any nation whose history is full of acts of violence diminishes relevance to figures or events that are removed from this kind of acts. If violence is also promoted as the paradigm of behavior, the concept ends up entrenching so deeply in the conscience of society that it establishes a false identification between war and history, between revolutions and patriotism, thus minimizing other forms of patriotism, and other ways of making history and promoting the culture.

In Cuba, the history of violence—conquest, colonization, pirate attacks, slavery, abolition struggles, separatists, independence support, annexation support, civil wars, racial crimes, state coups, gangsterism, terrorism, insurrection struggle, armed counterrevolution—conceal figures and events that, due to their dimensions, constitute the foundations and columns of the motherland and the nation. Colonel Francisco de Albear y Fernández de Lara, a giant of Cuban engineering, born in Havana on January 11, 1816, is one such example.

In 1835 he traveled to Spain to study at the Academy of Engineering. He returned to the island in 1845, loaded with the culture and prestige that enabled his appointment as Engineer for the Royal Board of Agricultural and Commercial Development of the Island of Cuba, from which post he undertook a vast engineering career.

From the renovated Saint Augustine Convent of Havana—his first job—to the construction of the Isabel II aqueduct, we can find in his work all the distinctive engineering projects of the period. It would be enough to mention the Trinidad Cavalry Headquarters, his acknowledgment of the Zaza river for canalization purposes, his study on the widening of docks in Cienfuegos, the Commerce Marketplace, the Botanic Garden and the School of Agronomy, the docks, platforms and cranes of the coast of Havana, most of the roads from the capital to neighboring regions, the installation of the first telegraph lines in Cuba, the design of the Havana street plan, the train and central road projects, among others.

In the topic of hydraulics: In spite of the Royal Trench—built between the last decades of the sixteenth-century to canal the waters from the Chorrera River; in spite of the Fernando VII Aqueduct built between 1832 and 1835 to conduct water through iron pipes; and in spite of the 895 cisterns and 2,976 wells in place, the supply of drinking water to the San Cristóbal village of Havana was still insufficient during the first half of the nineteenth-century.

Facing this crisis, General Concha, who was Captain General of the island at the time, entrusted a commission—headed by Albear—to come up with a solution. This event presented the illustrious engineer with the opportunity to develop his master work, which consisted in providing a modern aqueduct—which would raise the water from the phreatic surface and transfer it through underground pipes—to the capital city to solve its problem of scarcity and insalubrity of contaminated waters from cisterns, wells and older aqueducts.

Once the preliminary studies were concluded, Albear chose the Vento springs out of all the options, because they were situated at over 41 meters above the sea, and because of the feasibility of the collection, conduction, quantity and quality of their waters. Afterwards, he proceeded to do an exhaustive research on the transfer of the vital liquid to the Palatino deposits; he demonstrated the negative influence of solar light over the collected waters; he modified the geology of the terrain as to adapt it to the protection of the canal; and—through the use of meager mechanical means—he succeeded in making it travel underneath the Almendares River.

No similar project could be repeated until the mid-twentieth-century, when the tunnel under the Bay of Havana was built: both works are part of the Seven Wonders of Cuban Engineering of all times.

For his ensemble of magnificent projects, Francisco de Albear was awarded—first in Philadelphia and then in Paris—a Gold Medal and an Honorable Mention that reads: “In recognition of your work, which deserves extensive study even in its minimal details and which is considered a Master Work”; the Royal Development Board qualified him as the most famous of Cuban engineers. And to this distinguished eminence of engineering, Enrique José Varona dedicated these beautiful verses:

To make a foundation for faith where excess doubt is found,

To make light in the middle of the night,

To take nothingness and found the work,

That, Albear, is to be great… And great you are!

At the time of his death, Albear possessed—deservingly so—the titles of Marquis of Saint Felix; Brigadier of the Royal Corps of Engineers; the Great Cross of the Royal and Military Order of Saint Hermenegildo and the Order of Military Merit; Cavalier of the Royal and Military Order of Saint Fernando; Professor of the Special Academy of Engineers; Correspondent Member of the Royal Academy of Sciences of Madrid; Member by Number and Credit of the Royal Academy of Medical, Physical and Natural Sciences of Havana; Partner of Merit of the Royal Economic Society of Friends of the Nation; Honorable Member and Correspondent of the British Society for the Development of Art and Industry; Founding Partner of the Geographical Society of Spain; Member of the Scientific Society of Brussels; and Member of the Society of the Working Classes of Mexico.

In recognition of his work, the aqueduct that was initially named after Isabel II was renamed after him, and the Havana City Hall erected a statue in his honor at Monserrate Street, between Obispo and O’Reilly, in Old Havana. However, the recognition of this eminent engineer as a patriot of construction and one of the forgers of Cuban culture, whose masterly work continues to supply a great part of the water we consume today in our dear Havana, is still pending.

Translated by T

January 28 2011

Plummeting / Rosa María Rodríguez Torrado

The ideas and projects of the eternal rulers of the Cuban government seem to float, trapped in the void of unworkability, and wear us down with their monotony, at the same time they have been falling on their faces for a long time, due to inflexibility, inefficiency and lack of productivity. The tacit failure of the political model, the traps and pretexts of the “highest leaders” to remain in power at all costs, as well as their perseverance in mistakes, injustices and lack of respect to the rights of all their citizens for decades are preventing, in their fall, their parachutes from opening up.

Translated by T

February 10 2011

The Cuban Films at the Festival / Miguel Iturria Savón

When the 32nd edition of the Havana International New Latin American Film Festival opened, I commented on the event’s programme and the expectations by genres, nations and other details of interest, based on the preliminary information offered by the organizers. Now that the party is over, we need to recap the Cuban film industry, whose producers went through pains when competing against Argentina, Mexico, Brazil and other emerging film regional producers of countries in a better financial situation than our island’s.

Cinema buffs from Havana followed the national production closely, standing in long lines to enjoy its feature films and debuts, even when some of them were not as attractive in the end as we had hoped they would be. Of the 21 feature films in competition, 4 were home-made: Larga distancia (Long Distance) by Esteban Inausti; Casa vieja (Old House) by Lester Hamlet; Boleto al paraíso (Ticket to Paradise) by Gerardo Chijona; and José Martí: el ojo del canario (José Martí: the Eye of the Canary ) by Fernando Pérez-Valdés, all from 2010, and the last of which was presented a few months back.

A similar identification was noticable with both Cuban debuts (of 24 in total). Both Molina feroz (Fierce Molina) by Jorge Molina-Enríquez, and Afinidades (Affinities) by renown filmmakers Jorge Perugorria and Vladimir Cruz earned the favor of both audience and critics, which endorses our emotional connection with local productions and the artistic crew’s capacity to present problems and infer some clues regarding our national garbage dump.

Even when our films were no competition against those of Brazil and Mexico in the categories of medium and short features—2 from Cuba among 23 from the continent—hundreds of people sought to watch Los bañistas (The Bathers) by Carlos Lechuga, and Aché by Writer Eduardo del Llano, the creator of delightful Nicanor, featured in a handful of films that satirize the usual absurdities and stupidities. Lucero (Lucero) by German Hanna Schygulla—about a Cuban writer who migrates to Spain—also turned out to be attractive to those who envision their dreams outside of the Socialist paradise.

The interest in documentaries seemed lessened. These were shown at one of the four screens of the Infanta multiplex, and at localities like Caracol—UNEAC— or Glauber Rocha (which houses the Foundation of New Latin American Cinema). Of the 21 documentaries in competition, 4 were the work of Cubans: A donde vamos (Where We Go) by Ariadna Fajardo,about de exodus of peasants of Sierra Maestra; Alabba by Eliécer Pérez-Angueira; En el cuerpo equivocado (In the Wrong Body) by Marilyn Solaya; and Revolution by Mayckell Pedrero-Mariol—a look at the hip hop group Los Aldeanos. There was also an evocation of the Peter Pan Operation by pro-government Estela Bravo.

Except for En el cuerpo equivocado (In the Wrong Body)—applauded by the gay community and premiered ahead of the festival—and Revolution, which was viewed clandestinely through flash memory and CDs, the rest of the documentaries did not leave much of an impression, and the same goes for the videos about intellectuals like Ambrosio Fornet, Manuel Pérez and Rogelio Martínez-Furé.

Only a handful of experts and dozens of apprentices were interested in the script and poster competitions, categories for which our artists presented 6 and 7 works, respectively, of a total of 25 and 20, headed by Argentina, with 8 and 4.

Among the 28 animation films in competition—3 of which were from Cuba—Nikita Chama Bom by Juan Padrón-Blanco was well admired. He gave us a pleasant island alternative to a world in nuclear war. Also well received was Pravda—by the mentioned writer Eduardo del Llano—which features the character of Nicanor, detained by the police in the early morning for doing graffiti.

Shown from December 2-12, Memorias del desarrollo (Memories of Development) by Miguel Coyula-Aquino produced the largest stir. Coyula-Aquino offers us a memorable collage of remembrances and fantasies that revolve around a lone character at the margin of politics and ideology.

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Translated by T

December 14 2010

We Now Have a Logo? / Rosa María Rodríguez Torrado

These days I am madly happy for the logo that the young Spanish friends Rafa (El Pecas) and El Goyo sent me; they tell me they are graphic designers and own an advertising agency devoted to that creative universe. Thanks to the courtesy of these Iberian collaborators, we now have a logo for “La rosa descalza.” Zankz, chavalez! The displays of affection we often receive are good to us, but some initiatives stimulate us even more because they are evidence of the reach and outcome of our work. I congratulate us all for such ingenious and kind collaborators who are willing to cede the fruit of their imaginative mind with no other gratification than the disinterested help to one of the blogs of the growing independent Cuban blogosphere. God bless you!

Translated by T

February 10 2011