A Very “Special” Cigar Factory Reader / Iván García

It is a tradition hailing from the old Cuban cigar factories. One person reads the news or a novel by Corin Tellado, while men and women assemble the celebrated Havana cigars.

In that same fashion, Jose Antonio, 35, found out that a ballet from the United States was going to stop by Cuba. Or that the trumpet player, Wynton Marsalis, performed in Havana.

The first thing which the reader of the famous Partagas cigar factory, right on the side of the National Capitol, does is to read the Reflection of Fidel Castro. Then he reads the latest news.

Cuban cigar-makers have a solid culture of prologue. Now, while imitating the readers of the cigar factories, Castro has taken a liking to summarizing books published throughout the world which have captured his attention. Then, he has decided to spoon feed it to the people, as if it was puree.

It’s not a bad thing to know about the Bilderberg Club, the theories of writer Daniel Estulin, the biography of Colin Powell or Alan Greenspan, about the writings of Barack Obama, Bob Woodward, or Ignacio Ramonet. It’s actually pretty healthy that Castro wishes to expand the political knowledge of the population.

But, damn it, it’s much better to publish and sell those books, diaries, and magazines, than to have “companion Fidel” telling us about them, assuming that we all would be interested.

I propose to the Cuban government that they talk to Pedro J. Ramirez, to see if they would allow him to sell the printed version of El Mundo magazine in national currency. Perhaps also El Clarin from Argentina, or El Mercurio of Chile.

I long for the day when I will be able to purchase something else than the boring newspapers of Granma and Juventud Rebelde. I wish that Newsweek, Time magazine, and Veja from Brazil would all be sold alongside Bohemia.

Since the famous submarine cable connected with Venezuela still does not function, and continues to impede our connection to the internet with access for everyone, the regime could easily just opt to sell the world press in newstands throughout the island.

I have my passions. I like to read a whole book, or any other sort of text. I don’t like versions which come out of the mouths of others. Not even if his name is Fidel Castro, who is lately trying to become a cigar factory reader.

Translated by Raul G.

November 8, 2010