Message from Loly Estévez / POLEMICA: The 2007 Intellectual Debate

Respected colleagues:

I have learned, by email, about part of the exchange of opinions stirred up by the appearance on the Cuban TV program “Imprint” about Luis Pavón and Jorge Serguera, interviewed in “The Difference.” I don’t know the contents, and now I’m actually in Spain invited by the Ateneo “Jovellanos” de Gijón. I confess my surprise when I saw in some of the messages I received that Quesada’s appearance on “Open Dialogue” several months ago was equated with the mentioned “events.” I explained to two friends who asked me about it that this was a program designed to assess the five years of work on the program, and that it included a previously recorded opinion about Quesada in his capacity as adviser to the Directorate of Programming for Cuban TV, as the Manager of “Open Dialogue” and other programs.

The fact that the emergence of Quesada several months ago was linked to refer to a matter that was specific and technical, with the inclusion of Luis Pavón in a space dedicated to people with an intellectual work accepted as capable of making a mark, and with Jorge Serguera’s presence and statements in “The Difference” didn’t seem too strange to me.

What does surprise me and motivates me to write these lines is that the Secretariat of UNEAC endorsed a Declaration where he admits sharing “the righteous indignation of a group” on three television programs and mentions “Open Dialogue” first, which automatically implicated him in “expressing a tendency outside the cultural policy that has guaranteed and guarantees our unity”; in the valuation of the Presidency of the ICRT that “in its conception and execution they committed serious errors” and in the “stupidity” that they can be exploited to harm the Revolution. I wonder if they took the time to review the “Open Dialogue” that they so “generously” describe. Before giving an opinion – and publishing it – you have to investigate.

As director and founder of “Open Dialogue,” I affirm that for six years we’ve been off the air with respect to Cuban culture and its protagonists. Our daily feeds are not the award for its category received by the program at the First National Festival of Cuban television with the theme “Where is the newest trova?”; nor the Special Prize awarded by the critics at the Second Festival (2006) for the space devoted to “cultural criticism in the media”; our difficult struggle for the complex task of making Cuban television breathe, thanks to viewers who respect us and personalities who, by their means and zeal for collaboration, turn up in our studio to give us the prestige of their presence and words. There have been National Awards from different specialties, experts on plenty of categories, officials of the culture and the media, established artists and intellectuals, and artists who will be the stars of the future.

I declare that I’m happy to have been for 27 minutes of my life together with people whose existence and work guarantee culture and unity.

I didn’t mention names not to incur oblivion, but I suggest that those officially charged with “assessing” and “declaring” and those who would exercise their right to give an opinion request criteria about “Open Dialogue” from people like Reynaldo González and Miguel Barnet (they themselves have been invited to the program). those who managed to turn into a work of true imprint the time of regret that a period that now is symbolized in Luis Pavón caused them.

I suggest that we don’t mix that which – like oil and vinegar – will end where it belongs according to natural and social laws.

I suggest that we don’t state that the outrage is only from “a group,” but that we remember Hemingway and his tip of the iceberg.

I suggest that the cycle of conferences scheduled for the singular and penetrating Desiderio Navarro be united with the voice of Dr. Isabel Monal, who along with Fernando Martínez Heredia (and other Marxist-proof mediocre, opportunistic and superficial people) might remind us how much the so-called “real socialism” cost us, like ignoring the concepts of Antonio Gramsci; or the time that Lenin devoted to the cultural debate with the poet Mayakovsky; or artistic achievement in the Paris of the avant-garde and not in the Moscow of the October Revolution of the talents turned away by the ignorance and irresponsibility in terms of cultural politics that followed Lenin in the then-besieged and admired Soviet Union.

I suggest, above all, that we don’t pretend to put an end to a necessary debate. From such discussion light is born: this was taught me by my mother, a woman raised in an Asturian home among the prejudices of the first half of the twentieth century, who was a volunteer teacher, a founder of the CDR and the FMC, and who decided to marry a Gallician immigrant, known as “Idiot” for his communist and trade-union militancy, in the days when Machado assassinated labor leader Enrique Varona.

I thank those who have read me to the end. And those who continue giving their opinions.

See you soon.

Loly Estévez

January 22, 2007

Translated by Regina Anavy