The Strength of the Voice

The podcast Ventana 14 is celebrating its second birthday.

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Yoani Sánchez, Generation Y, Havana, 13 December 2020 — “Bitter and always necessary,” I repeat every morning from Monday to Friday while stirring a coffee that on occasion is strong, often watery, and other times simply hot water passed through beans already used many times over. It matters little, the sip is just a pretext, but the fuel is the news about the Cuban reality. It’s called “cafecito informativo” and is two years old.

In December of 2018 access to internet services took its first steps on Cuban cellphones. Although it took several months for the connection to stabilize in the neighborhood where I live, the direct broadcasts via Facebook or Periscope were not economically sustainable, given the elevated cost of each kilobyte sent, nor could I enjoy a smooth flow, thanks to the continuous cuts.

And then I returned to my voice, the original one. Only the sound that came out of my mouth would be the protagonist, the other could be recreated: a place, a freshly poured cup of coffee, a close conversation between someone who lives on this island and another who is far away or around the corner. Thus was born the podcast Ventana 14 – 14th Window – which today is blowing out the candles for its second anniversary. Broadcast on several platforms, the program has opened, for me, a different audience than the one I have through my blog Generation Y, or when I publish in the newspaper 14ymedio.

Although in two years there has been no lack of friends and listeners who have asked me to open a video channel through YouTube or Facebook to comment on the news, I have preferred to remain only in sound for obvious reasons in a country with such little connectivity to the web: I want to reach people who live in the heart of Cuba, either directly through the audio – with about three megabytes – which I send out Monday to Friday, or forwarded as so many users do through Bluetooth or wifi.

My goal is to catch the ear of the farmer in a field in Alquízar, or the self-employed who tries to keep his business open despite so many obstacles in Sancti Spíritus, or the housewife in the Havana neighborhood of Cayo Hueso who is torn between eating the bread she got on the rationbook, or saving it until the next day for her child to take to school for a snack. These are my main audience.


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