The Campaign to Have a Plebiscite for Freedom in Cuba Begins

23 08 2015

Maurice Ferré: The solution for Cuba and Puerto Rico: plebiscites.

From El Nuevo Herald, August 15, 2015

Although both were the booty of war, the results for Cuba and Puerto Rico were different in the Treaty of Paris (1898) at the end of the Spanish-American War.

The Republic of Cuba was established in 1903. As a republic, Cuba prospered for 37 years. With the Constitution of 1940, eliminating the despicable Platt Amendment, Cuba advanced. But by 1959 Cuba was already a corrupt country. After 55 years of Castro-communism, Cuba went from being one of the most prosperous countries in Latin America to place itself, currently, among the poorest.

Puerto Rico did better. Washington cultivated Puerto Rico as a military base, guarding the Panama Canal. In 1917, the U.S. Congress unilaterally gave U.S. citizenship to Puerto Ricans. In 1922 the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, William Howard Taft (before being President of the U.S.), presented the majority opinion in the last Insular Case (about the relationship between the U.S. and Puerto Rico), Balzac v. Porto Rico, concluding that although Puerto Ricans were U.S. citizens, they didn’t have all the guarantees of the U.S. Constitution. Puerto Rico would continue “belonging to the United States but not being part of the United States.”* This infamy of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1922 is still alive in 2015.

In 1952, the North American Congress conceded autonomy to Puerto Rico in local matters, creating the Associated Free State (AFS). In 62 years of self-governing with bad judgments by its governors and responsible financial counselors and with lucrative contracts for friends of the government in attendance, Puerto Rico had an external debt of $73 billion, more than the annual GDP of the island. On August 1, the island, for the first time, failed to comply with a Wall Street bank debt. As a result of the precarious financial situation, Wall Street Hedge Funds and vulture investors bought up Puerto Rico’s junk bonds. Puerto Rico fell into the hands of the “savage capitalists” that Pope Francis has criticized so much.

The President of the United States, Barack Obama, who insists on the opening with Cuba, ignores Puerto Rico’s fatal condition. The North American Congress, presently in the hands of the Republicans, insists that the Cuban political system be modified to one that establishes the consent of the governed, but ignores that in an internal plebiscite in 2012, Puerto Rico, with 78 per cent participation, voted 54 percent to not consent to the system of government presently alive on the island, the AFS.

Among Cuba’s dissidents, Rosa María Payá, daughter of the fallen martyr, Oswaldo Payá-Sardiñas, has created a new opposition entity called “Cuba Decides,” which has numerous followers on the island. Payá, with her group, attended an important meeting of Cuban dissidence in San Juan: First National Cuban Meeting, which met on August 11, 12 and 13.

Cuba Decides presented, in Puerto Rico, a continuation of Oswaldo Payá’s patriotic vision: a plebiscite for Cuba. The questions, although not finalized, ironically are similar to the active questions in Puerto Rico: consent of the governed and the preferred form of government on the island.

Cuba is a sovereign nation where its citizens, internally, don’t have individual liberties.

For its part, Puerto Rico doesn’t enjoy sovereignty, since it’s an unincorporated territory of the United States, whose citizens are governed under the plenary powers of the U.S. Congress under its territorial clause. But Puerto Ricans who reside on the island do enjoy individual liberty.

In order to resolve these incongruencies with the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and the U.S. Constitution, in the case of Puerto Rico separate plebiscites should be performed. Both plebiscites should entail compliance with conditions, previously agreed upon by the respective governments.

In the case of Puerto Rico, President Obama has recommended and the U.S. Congress has accepted an appropriation of $2.5 million to “educate” voters on the alternative conditions of the plebiscite. Because of the results of the 2012 island plebiscite, in which 61 percent chose federated statehood as a political status, the question of the new plebiscite would simply be: Statehood, yes or no?

The questions for the Cuban process are very complex because they require acceptance by the Government of a future plebiscite in Cuba, without the presence of the Castros.

Cuban exiles and dissidents on the island, some of whom reunited this week in San Juan, should carefully study Rosa María Payá’s presentation and persistently demand of the Cuban Government a plebiscite that determines the consent of the Cuban people. Then Cuban citizens will decide if they want a socialist government or a democratic, pluralist republic and a free market.

Declaration of San Juan

The text of the declaration can be found in English here, along with the list of signatories.

*Puerto Rico was not incorporated into the Union.

Translated by Regina Anavy

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CNN: Castro Network News / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

9 03 2015

Orlando, Luis Pardo Lazo, 8 March 2015 — CNN is an anti-democratic and anti-American organ of complicity with Castro.

In the Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists of the United States, it’s very clear that they have to respect the right to a fair trial of those incriminated, before releasing any privileged information to the public, since this can unfairly influence the legal result.

It’s clear that they have to think hard before reproaching people, above all before there have been formal judicial charges against them.

However, as CNN hates Bob Menendez (for commercial reasons), just as it hates all Cubans except those who support Castro (for commercial reasons), CNN has launched its juicy scoop in order to throw stones at the public prestige of someone who opposes the tyrannical resolutions of Barack Obama.

They also bribed The New York Times to publish dozens of pro-Castro editorials in complicity with the Cuban (and) American entrepreneurship, manipulating American citizens from the medium monopoly of malice.

I have come to the United States to witness the end of American democracy. How sad.

Soon I am leaving.

Translated by Regina Anavy





A NEW BLOG IN TOWN…!

10 05 2010

A NEW BLOG IN TOWN…!, originally uploaded by orlandoluispardolazo.

Aylinita and Zorphdark launch a new Cuban photo-blog on

www.pixturas.blogspot.com/

Being Cuban bloggers, Post-Revolution Mondays wishes them

success and many hits and a lot of Page-Rank….

Translated by Regina Anavy





TREP-2

1 05 2010

POP-UPS

(Taken from The Revolution Evening Post 2)

Ahmel Echevarría

Very tall. Dyed blond hair, dressed in linen. Blouse, skirt and handbag. Big earrings. That girl is in her final year in Social Communication at the University of Havana. I know her. She was hitchhiking on Rancho Boyeros Avenue — or Independence Avenue — when I saw her, when she saw me. She smiled, we greeted each other, she looked at the time and crossed the avenue. She walked in my direction — the last time I met her was at the Superior Institute of Art. They had organized a panel with various intellectuals who held some talks about “young creators”; the theme was “The Five Gray Years.” It had been fifteen days since that encounter.

The girl with fake blond hair was long overdue, she would be late to the first round of classes. She said that. and all because she did not hear her alarm clock. A good part of the morning she spent reading The Initials of the Earth, by Jesús Díaz. When she finished, she said, when she finished she would start on The Color of Summer, by Reinaldo Arenas. I told her that at home I had three books of The Generation of Violence and could loan them to her: Steps in the Grass, by Eduardo Heras León, The Condemned of Condado, by Norberto Fuentes and The Hard Years, by Jesús Díaz. The girl said yes and also reminded me that I had promised to loan her the novel Artificial Respiration, by Ricardo Piglia.

I looked at the time. She was extremely late and though I didn’t want to, I told her. It hurt to let her go. We agreed to meet again so I could loan her the books. We said goodbye and stopped next to the median of the avenue. The light was red. She went up to a Lada and after getting in turned to me and made a slight movement with her hand. The girl with the fake blond hair was dressed to kill.

The Lada quickly crossed the intersection of Boyeros and Vento, and I remembered that that night the singer Frank Delgado was giving a concert. I’d forgotten to invite her. I decided then to run over to the bus stop to take the bus that was just arriving.

They smile at the camera. Half a dozen children in elementary school uniforms smile at the camera. Once the shutter clicks capturing the image, half a dozen children will be printed on the right side of a huge billboard, the one that stands alongside Independence Avenue. On the other side of the billboard, there is a faint reproduction of the yacht Granma, and a phrase in capital letters that covers more than half the sign: Fidel is a country.

From my seat on the bus I see how the phrase is outlined in yellow.  He smiles. From the billboard — on a very dark green background — Fidel smiles. His face is notably wrinkled, his hair and beard completely gray. He smiles. In his military uniform, he smiles. He is standing and fills the right side of the poster; on the other side, printed in red capital letters, one phrase: We’re fine.

Blue. On the blue background on the left side of the billboard appears a blackboard with white traces. It’s impossible to read what is written, although this detail really doesn’t matter, just the overall composition, because the printed image is in a frame where the photographer has shown just a part of the interior of the classroom. In it, a group of elementary school students are being taught. How many? The figure really doesn’t matter, only the whole composition. In the space to the right of the billboard is a text. It’s long. I could read it and remember every word, thanks to the red stoplight.

Behind it is another billboard. But I can’t read the whole message, I just know it’s a variation on the first. Part of the warning is related to home ownership and the supposed loss of rights: It’s underway, with Plan Bush oiling the gears. Thankfully, we live in a free Cuba — this was the end of the sentence chosen by the publicists. We will triumph. A word written in white capital letters. In the composition the colors of the flags of Venezuela and Cuba fade and generate a pattern of continuity.

We will triumph. I read from my seat; the bus has barely gone through the intersection.  Hugo Rafael Chávez smiles from the billboard. He wears a red shirt. He smiles and seems to be doing so for all the drivers and passengers who are on the Rancho Boyeros Avenue — or Independence Avenue. Once a designer friend told me that for the billboards they take into account the bilateral symmetry of the human face.

A woman. A black woman who almost died from a kerosene fire. She was one of the best athletes of the country, and she now has retired. In the middle of her sports career, she suffered a terrible accident. This woman surprised a lot of people. While undergoing the recovery phase and the cycles of physiotherapy, she went back to the arena and won several medals. This woman’s face, with the hard mark of scarring, smiles at the camera. They have also put a girl and a boy. After the camera shot, the image will remain printed, on a blue background, on the right side of the billboard which is raised a few meters from the Luminosa Fountain. On the left side, taking up more than half the space, is one sentence: Fidel is a country.

One part of my trip ends here. I get off the bus to transfer. It takes all day. A work day. One more.

A friend has sent a collective email in which he warns, parodying a refrain, that if “the Yahoo is smoking it’s because there’s a fire.” My friend has seen how there is now, on the access page for email, a photo of Fidel and several links that give the latest news about the state of health of the old Head of State and the Government. So he suggests that we change to G-mail, also a free email service, which, according to my friend, at least for the moment is apparently only that. He also recommends that we be on guard. It’s probable, he says in his email, it’s possible that someone can poke about in your virtual correspondence, for which he counsels that we put into practice a series of clever tricks to complicate the work for those little guys who enter and revise your mailbox without making noise, without your noticing them.

In a new email, another friend transmits a journal article about Internet censorship and all its variants. The text is accompanied by the name of the countries and the large companies that practice this sport. The article writer says that Cuba is among those who go to the head of the class. I answer this friend, thanking him for the mail and together with the automatic confirmation that the message has been sent appears the profile of the convalescing Chief of State and the Cuban Government and the links which take you to the latest news.

The last email I inspect contains an interview with the musician Frank Delgado. Like an enormous rock above the stage. Rolling. A trova-singer born in 1960 has returned to the scene accompanied this time by a band. Pure stamp of rock and roll, amplified. He has left behind, at least in a good part of the concert, the small format of the traditional Cuban music that accompanies most of this last performances. The concert surprises me, the new songs surprise me. He’s a guy with a sharp sense of humor, ironic, his themes go from the Guaracha style up to the most beautiful or sad songs. But this time he has come on the scene with a rock band, and the approach is strong, good. A lot of energy. A succession of themes where he has not stopped being the same ironic guy.

There are long-haired boys, beautiful teenage girls with the world at their feet and the boys under their thumbs. Some of them hum these new themes, almost all sing the rock and roll versions of them that are not so new now. However only a small group of teenagers dance. In between songs these teenagers request the old ones about the war in Africa, the marielitos, Cuban prostitutes, the garbage of the socialist system, the hard life, the long-gone ’80s, the Spanish and their investments there in beautiful little Cuba. The long-haired boys and the beautiful teenage girls had not been born or were only kids when the national territory was crossed by those strong winds; however they screamingly request these songs, and Frank smiles and asks for patience.

Except for the problems with the audio, I leave the theater thinking it was a good concert. I look around the lobby, and outside the theater. I don’t see the girl with the fake blond hair. Perhaps we would have returned together. Then I say goodbye to my friends.

A white background. On the left, on the billboard, appears the face of a young person. It forms part of a group that assaulted the Presidential Palace to execute the then president and take control of Radio Reloj. This young person was the one who took the microphone to communicate to all the listeners that the result of that armed movement was Batista’s death, the death of the dictator Fulgencio Batista, he said, in his own hide-out at the Presidential Palace. But he couldn’t finish the address since they cut the transmission. After abandoning the broadcasting station they killed him walking to the University of Havana. Every year Radio Reloj retransmits the address on the same day and the same time in which the failed attack occurred.

A white background. Toward the right, a sentence occupies more than half of the area of the whole billboard. I read it while I wait for the car traffic circulating around the traffic circle of the Luminosa Fountain permits me to cross the street in the direction of the bus stop after changing buses. He was a young man like you, brother, happy, enthusiastic. He was a young man like you.

The bronze statue of Lieutenant General Antonio Maceo and his horse. The silhouette of both is printed in high contrast, is a green drawing on a white background. The horse is stationary on two feet, and the Lieutenant General doesn’t lose his balance. They both are in a familiar pose of combat. To the left, on the billboard, occupy8ing little more than the half, appears a sentence. In red.

The bus leaves behind the few cars that circulate on Independent Avenue. An amalgam of images. Small flags beat around the snapshots that mark key dates from the Revolution of ’59 up to the new century and the millennium. The background of the billboard is a succession of horizontal bard: three blue and two white. Victory was, is and shall always be ours.

It doesn’t matter at what speed you are going, you can read these big black and white letters. “Ring the bell well in advance of your stop.” Says the sign fastened near the door. Should I push the button? It’s red. It has the drawing of a bell. I am the only one who needs to get off at the stop at the intersection of Vento and Independence Avenue. If I don’t let the driver know, he can keep going. As the warning says “in advance” I press the button to let him know I want to get off at the next stop.

I do it – fearing that the driver will be annoyed. I go to press it; nothing happens. I then walk up to the front of the bus and speak with the driver. He stops the bus. I get off.

A taxi passes by, smoothly, and stops. It’s an old Chevrolet, built before ’59. It’s not one with fins; it could be a ’54. Someone calls. Someone is calling me. It’s a girl, very tall, wearing linen clothing, dressed to kill. And I wait for her.

As soon as she greets me she tells me that because she didn’t know about it, she missed out on Frank Delgado’s concert. We have talked about music, and she knows that I have recordings of Frank at home. I tell her I went, that it was a good concert. The girl with fake blond hair looks at me. There’s a certain reproach in her eyes and she tells me that because I didn’t say anything to her, she wouldn’t forgive me unless I loaned her the books that I promised that morning.

It’s dawn. After apologizing, I tell her I’ll go with her. I walk to her house wondering about my trip to Bolivia . In my memory, scenes of where I was go by  – Cochabamba, Sucre, Tarija – Climates and landscapes of very disparate characteristics. I also manage to remember faces, architecture, odors, the large size of the street dogs, the false local color, the marginal and hard Bolivia. I want to talk to her about the Cordillera of the Andes, of the very dangerous highway that winds along the slope, the dead that have been lost on the precipices and enclosed in the memory of the mourners. – because they are recorded with a cross and ghostly blue flowers on the very edge of the highway – about the only llama I saw that was behind a barbed-wire fence, about the taste of the cocoa leave juice; however, I only managed to remember and speak to her about the iconography of products and brand names that arose in every corner where I was. You feel besieged, I told her, asphyxiated, I said.

Although I think that happens only at first, until the body itself assimilates it, as if that imagery were embedded in the environment. It is the air, water, the ground you walk on. It is the environment, I told her. More than three thousand meters high, on the road from Cochabamba to Sucre, and in an area barely populated, from the van where I was traveling I saw a billboard. It was red and white. The girl smiled. I figured she knew what was behind the message of the advertisers. It was an advertisement for Coca-Cola, she said. A promotion for the personal-sized bottle, I told her This girl chooses it, it’s the best. She said so on the billboard. White letters on a red background.

Translated by Anonymous, Regina Anavy and Los Iguanitos





MYTHS OF MATANZAS

14 01 2010

INTERVIEW WITH THE POET WHO TAKES CARE OF PARKING LOTS
(taken from http://www.cubaencuentro.com)
Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

His name sounded euphoniously like a remix of Victor Hugo with Hölderlin and Santayana.  He was in Matanzas one Saturday in the late afternoon, between the lampposts that illuminate Freedom Park. “Look at him,” they whispered, “that is Hugo Hodelin Santana.”  And I saw him, his solitary silhouette crossing under the broken chains of a statue with bare breasts.

A legend, I felt: like everything since our provincial modernity has banished any poetic aura – a sick legend.  Who expected to stumble across an interview in the city of Carilda Oliver Labra, where I discovered the antithesis of the Premio Nacional de Literatura. It was, in fact, the  lean and noble ghost Hodelín Hugo Santana (Matanzas, 1955). A minor poet, sidelined first by himself. Unpublished for the rest of the world, whose thoughts were rendered almost speechless in this other world. And I forgot my grand projects and I set out to recover at least the echo of that voice.

“I am very bad at interviews,” he said as he ushered me into a little house at the top of his city. And indeed he  was, which is optimal for me as an interviewer. He seemed to be a poignant poet who did not want to hurt anyone with the impact of his words. A hermit of writing, without reference to the bohemian publishing gossip: “I’m an engineer and I work in a construction brigade, but when I stand before my writing I am very much alone.” He really dismissed any bucolic notion of living “incommunicado in a box”: In fact, the new authors converse with their texts and put them in anthologies as if they belonged to the youngest of Matanzas poetry.

With only a couple of published poems, both by the local publisher (The Old Man 2003 and Confessions of a Poet While Taking Care of a Parking Lot 2007), the author thinks that his work is already divided into two parts by “something that’s kind of mysterious, because my first book had as lyrical a tendency as a baroque or Gothic church, full of decorative elements; then I went through a phase in which I didn’t write anything, without meaning to (I don’t think poetry is a daily career that you can plan) and without being able to explain it by the influence of what I was reading. I even told myself: I have already written enough crap and maybe it’s better that I’m not writing anymore. The thing is that when I felt the need of writing again, everything now was a little thin on the bone, from a more direct and even flat vision. Like the style of the architect Mies Van der Rohe: “Less is more.”

And it’s true. But it’s not certain. His two very brief books each include only one single narrative poem, divided into ten parts without a title. You tend to believe that you’re reading verses so effective that they have survived an unfortunate translation. Between 2003 and 2007. there occurred a break in the language and in the author’s age (in an anti-chronological sense, of course), but the debacle he recounts remains unchanged: uneasiness in the face of the eternal, the emptiness of contemplating, now half-heartedly, a leading part in the drama of History, the monotonous rhythm of death as the culmination of the human carnival, the desire that involves not only the intellect but also the body. And none of it startles a reader trained in disasters. On the contrary.

A close friend of Luis Marimón (1951-1995) who died in exile virtually unpublished, Hugo Hodelín Santana claims to be “a poet of the eighties.” Although “as a child I was a bookworm and read everything that fell into my hands; now the only thing I do is reread my favorite authors,” among whom he named, hesitatingly, Mayakovsky, Baudelaire, Milton, Pound, Bukowski (“all before Eliot, in whom I find less”), Baquero and the same Luis Marimón.

“Nor am I very competitive nor given to publicity, in spite of both things really interesting me. I have friends, work companions, and neighbors, but my personality likes solitude. Without renouncing the cosmic, in my poetry I am like a boxer who enters and leaves the center of the ring hanging on the ropes (I knew many promising of champions who failed in the tournament of their lives). So that, more that from one city, I am an inhabitant of books and poetry, where I travel more and better.” Like Lezama Lima and his notion (nation?) of “immobile wandering,” I think. I, like Lezama Lima, in his 50-plus years are man in Mantanzas even lives simply with his old mother, who I don’t know if she ignores verses like “all hope constitutes an unimportant fact” (2003), or “opening your legs in front of the beards”/and the good whores/whores and whores/persecuting me everywhere/inconsolable.” (2007) (“Beards” are a reference to the government.)

Hugo Hodelín Santana defends himself before my accusation: “I have a verse that says Art does not obey Reason. Thus originality does not worry me, although I do fear repeating myself. Every poet has to be auto-visionary, but I don’t believe my verses are exalted (between agony and calm, something in me wants to be expressed urgently, but not in an overwhelming way) nor am I programming or going out looking for the poorly-named “bad word,” so common today in Cuba. By education and sympathy, I never was a marginal person: nor have I felt separated in the least, however much they say I am a damned poet. Even when I speak, it’s hard for me to use strong words.”

But yes, he’s a marginal person, of course (perhaps poets always are). A man of short texts but long breath in his resistance against the day-to-day tedium of the brain and on the island. Perhaps he is not a poet who is damned (a circumstance that in Cuba always means politically), but yes, he is a mental marathon runner who, from the top of Matanzas, rereads and accumulates his notes like someone who jogs on a path dressed in white.

From the poet Hugo Hodelín Santana emanates the grandeur of every being for whom the present is now more precarious (this was my impression upon saying goodbye, under a reproduction of Modigiliani as ancient as the original) and whose future is only the past which he distills, domestically, in his poems, while “gaunt/seated/I see the police patrol pass/and I wave small flags/like a schoolboy/in solemn acts.”

(The “small flags” refers to the little Cuban flags that are passed out to people to wave at mass demonstrations.)

Almost in the street, he gave me the gift of some advice as a comprehensive tip for my generation: “Keep a community and be the least egotistical possible through words; don’t mislead the poet or the spontaneous child into our inevitable adult mutations; don’t stop and listen and make a case for yourself, as someone wiser said: if no one hears me, I hear the stars.

And then and there I left Hugo Hodelín Santana, without knowing if I would return to see him soon or never, his transparent regard transfixing him from that observation platform at the edge of the Cuban midnight.

Translated by Regina Anavy





Tell Me About Cuba

12 01 2010

WITH THE FLAME IN MY MOUTH
Taken from http://www.cubaencuentro.com
Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Voland Editorial has just published a 150-page anthology in Italian, which claims on the front cover to be “by young Cuban writers.”  The Flame in My Mouth is a compendium of 11 authors resident on the Island, anthologized by the Italian academic Danilo Manera. The book also includes a witty and symptomatic “more or less serious decalogue for understanding Cuban writing” by Jose Miguel Sanchez, YOSS) and an epilogue – “Orphans and Ghosts” – where Manara pays tribute to his particular way of reading the local context beyond literature. In fact, these two texts are so creatively polemic that they could almost be read as the two most experimental fiction writings in this Voland 2009 anthology.

Of course, the anthologized young writers are no longer quite so young: their average age is 33 years. But this, in the Cuban literary field means that their careers as writers are still in the eternal phase of taking off (spreading the wings of their own voices and cutting ties with the landing gear of our tradition). Namely, it is about authors who have already won a cash price and have published a title with a national editorial or in a foreign anthology like The Flame in My Mouth, and of course, who have graduated from the literary workshop ‘Onelio Jorge Cardoso’ (an eclectic literary forum, led rigorously but with an open mind by the writer Eduardo Heras Leon; a hangar where every year dozens of so-called ‘young writers’ from all over the country land).

The eleven anthologized, in order of appearance, on this new encounter of Cuban writing away from Cuba, are: Yunier Riquenes (Granma, 1982), Michel Encinosa Fú (Havana, 1974), Osdany Morales (Havana, 1981), Mariela Varona (Holguín, 1964), Ahmel Echevarría Peré (Havana, 1974), Delis Gamboa (Granma, 1976), Agnieska Hernández (Pinar del Río, 1977), Yordanka Almaguer (Havana, 1975), Raúl Flores Iriarte (Havana, 1977), Gleyvis Coro Montanet (Pinar del Río, 1974) and Jorge Enrique Lage (Havana, 1979).

From the beginning of the project, as he said in an exclusive interview, the anthologist Danilo Manera decided to include only writers who reside in Cuba: “As an observer from outside, who knows that an essential part of Cuban literature is written from outside of Cuba (as has also happened in many other countries and periods of time), I have chosen the perspective of those who live and write from Cuba, with all the unconscious elements of self-censorship and all that it implies, even though some of these authors have declared themselves to be in a state of self-exile, focusing on paper as a place of freedom.”

José Miguel Sánchez (YOSS), on his theoretical text, seems to point in part to this idea when he states: “except those rare references in a positive or negative sense […], whose more famous works come in and are passed from hand to hand, we suppose that the Cuban writers who have abandoned the island in any way do not have much influence on the national writing corpus. The same happens with the ‘marielitos’ and Cuban-american writers, no matter how successful they are […]”. “It is almost a rule that when a writer leaves, he/she disappears. In practice, they stopped being published and even talked about, in Cuba”, whereas “other live authors resident in Cuba can be very well known outside the country while inside, their fame is only a distant echo.”

To a foreign reader I suppose The Flame in My Mouth would be an editorial novelty in every sense. To the few Cuban writers that have access to the book (included the anthologized ones), many of these stories are very well known after circulating here in the past few years. On a diasporic, and not a monolithic way, these authors (among other absent names), represent the generation of the “two thousands” or “Zero Year” whose works, provided that they do not cross the limit of the officially illegible, have overcome the innate resistance of the Cuban publishing houses.

As Danilo Manera said, these “are texts that do not have a very critical appearance, and they are never direct. The aesthetic of this generation appears eclectic and inclusive. They have a big bulimia, a desire of ironically supply themselves with many references: from classic to pop, from science fiction to splatter, from movies to music stars; plus other cross-over zones, fusion, parody, with great ability in the assembly of all this material. This literature fishes in a virtual and global imaginary scene, and a typical space of their creators is the dimension of the e-zines (like Cacharro(s) and now the blogs). But, like writers, they very often express themselves in first person, maybe to give a strong connotation of experience to their work, as a relief against their isolation: being a song or a scream…”

Translated by LM and BH