Yoani Sánchez, Havana, 12 June 2014 — In a country where there are so few spaces for debate, the loss of any one of them is a tragedy. The departure of Roberto Veiga and Lenier Gonzalez from the magazine Lay Space leaves us with even fewer opportunities for debate. Their work was characterized by its willingness to address controversial and difficult topics in the pages of a publication which, in recent years, became an obligatory reference. With a respectful spirit, a true concern for the nation, and the ability to present arguments, these editors opened a reflective space that we, their readers, fear will be missed from now on.
Differences in ideas should not lead us to personal confrontation. A lesson that should be learned by more than one person who takes ideological contradictions as a pretext to channel their lowest passions. So, despite my points of difference with many of the ideas of Veiga and Gonzalez, and especially with their category of “loyal opposition,” I have always respected their work and considered it to be of great value. The public existence of their voices improved the quality of discussions within the Island, encouraging different points of view – which is always a good thing – and brought together political tendencies that seem to run along contrary paths. I regret that they never accepted invitations to also participate in non-official debates within the country. I hope, now they have been “liberated” from their jobs, that we will be able to exchange ideas outside the protection of the Cátedra Félix Varela.
Cuba loses and I can’t imagine who wins with this dismissal. The next archbishop of Havana? Is the church so fickle? One day they snatched the magazine Vitral from us, to turn it into a shadow of the multicolored light it once was. Now, it seems, the same will happen with Lay Space. I am not convinced by the declarations of its current director who assures us that the work of the journal will continue. I believe deeply in the stamp each human being imprints on a work, and in the case of this publication it’s clear that Veiga and Gonzalez were its principal sources of inspiration.
The ragged tapestry of our civil society just suffered the tearing of another thread.