One Year for “Crossing the Barbed Wire” / Luis Felipe Rojas

Photo/Luis Felipe Rojas

I would have liked to have a public celebration in an internet cafe because in every respect this blog is not mine alone, but it also belongs to my readers and friends. But reality imposes itself and I know I am far from such merrymaking.

The generosity of a group of people has allowed me to post from a physical and technological distance, living in this little town in the center of eastern Cuba.

The kindness of some kids (I am nearly double their ages) have made it possible to have my work read in English, French, and, God willing, in a few days in Polish, and this, for a writer whose books haven’t sold 500 copies, is an unbelievable celebration.

It’s been a year and writing this diary, this road map of the Cuban reality has given me a passport to some police cells, a gang of outlaws who watch my house every day (they make a living out of that), and has placed my name on the lists of various highway checkpoints. That is not a record, or even a good average, just the response of a wounded animal: the absolute power that does not permit fingers to point out its stains.

A balance sheet of the road taken reassures me that the whippings for not bowing down have been greater than the awards and nominations, but this will serve as a reminder of what happens in my country, not a wailing wall or a tourist postcard. Those who seek to discredit me: thank you for the time that you dedicate to me, the actions of the regime you defend give me reasons and strength to continue. To those who encourage me: “Rosi de Cuba,” “Armienne,” Lory,” “Gabriel” and everyone else, thank you, I humbly say, thank you, I will try to be more objective every day, you’ll see.

The interest of Yoani Sanchez so that I could open this weapon against the human rights violators and those who think they own this country has made this part of the blog possible. To her, I express my gratitude.

Finally, my faithful administrator, that person who from the North Pole will continue being a guajira, and a good soul beyond compare, thank you.

What I can say with all the pleasure of the world is that this is a blog that is made in fragments, between the horror that I see, and that my countrymen tell me about, the little I know about writing to put these stories together, and the commentary of the readers, for all that, applaud yourselves. Greater efforts will come. Congratulations.

Translated by Rick Schwag

December 26 2010