‘The World and my Cuba in El Diario’ by Uva de Aragon / 14ymedio, Jose Gabriel Barrenechea

Cover of "The World and My Cuba in 'El Diario' " by Uva de Aragon
Cover of “The World and My Cuba in ‘El Diario’ ” by Uva de Aragon

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, José Gabriel Barrenechea Jose, Santa Clara, Cuba, 28 April 2016 – The World and My Cuba in ‘El Diario’ is a very difficult book to read, not for its style, which could not be more direct and comprehensive, but for the heavy emotional weight concentrated in each of its brief articles. The reader can do nothing more than take long breaks after reading them, in hopes that at some point this fiber that resonates through us finally stops, so that we can finally assimilate the sledgehammer of feelings and ideas with which the author has confronted us. I confess, for example, that after reading My Father and the Moon and My Mother and the Candy I had to put down the book I had just started reading for another day.

In choosing this small selection of the author’s columns in Diario de las Américas, Vitalina Acuna, its compiler, has managed to give Cubans on the island an introductory view of Uva de Aragon’s life, work, and dreams. The book is structured into nine chapters, combining Family Stories, reviews, or small essays investigating the lives and circumstances of people such as Max Aub, Gregorio Maranon, Charles Dickens and Mark Chagall, memories of the Mariel boatlift, far from complacent views on the political life of the United States, heartfelt defenses of personalities from the world of culture—like that dedicated to Domingo del Monte—travel and a very great deal about Cuba…

So much that, on writing about Gerald Ford and his political sacrifice to restore confidence in democracy in the United States, we clearly see the well-known Cuban inability to value the kinds of acts she talks about. Not forgetting the man she calls her “second father,” Carlos Marquez Sterling, who carried out a similar sacrifice when, at the end of 1958, he tried to remove the Batista dictatorship by running against him at the polls.

With regards to the physical separation that has failed to break the spiritual unity of the Cuban nation, the reception of this book on the island is a good example. The book is now in a print run of 2,000 copies from Holguin Publishing. In fact, one of the reasons that it took me almost a month to finish it is that, before I could start the book I had to wait for all the women in my family, and even my super leftist Old Man to read it before me.