Sunday, February 5, 2012


Fidel Castro announced yesterday that he has published his memoirs that describe his life from birth until December 1958. It’s a mere 1000 pages and is published in two volumes. Considering that as President of Cuba he thought nothing of giving an eight or ten hour speech, I am surprised that his work is so abbreviated.

After the Super Bowl is over, I’m sure people will be lining up at the bookstores to buy a copy. Oops—that’s not possible is it? The embargo would make it a federal crime to buy the book! Where is Lewis Carroll when you need him? Alice, are you listening?

Speaking of publishing, The Death of the White Rose took a step toward publication when I signed a contract on Friday with the Waterside Productions Inc., a literary agency in Cardiff-by-the-Sea to represent the book to publishers. Bon voyage!

Returning to current events in Cuba, the diabolical functioning of the current government never fails to disappoint. In a posting on January 23, 2012, blogger Danilo Maldonado, known as El Sexto, wrote an entry entitled “Faces Against Audacity.” The tale he tells illustrates the depth of the repression of the dictatorship of Raul Castro.

Sitting here at my desk in California, where I know that I am free to write whatever I like and criticize my government and the men of questionable ability who are spending millions to become its next leader, it’s easy to forget that ninety miles from Florida is a country where its people have no such luxury. I am sure you will find his words moving. They are as follows:  

At the end of December, at 8:30 at night, I was assaulted in public by State Security agent Volodia, along with another agent whose name I don’t know, at 26th Street and Zapata. They asked me to take off the T-shirt I was wearing with an image of Laura Pollán [to refresh your memory, she was the leader of the Ladies in White, who´s cause of death in a Cuban prison is suspicious]. Faced with my refusal, both of them tore it off me, ripping it.

After the abuse I decided to tattoo Laura on my chest and, after Wilman Villar Mendoza met his death on the night of the 18th, I decided to tattoo his face on me, as well as that of Zapata Tamayo, other victims of this dictatorial system, that lets inhabited buildings collapse and prefers to spend money intensifying their power, and thus contributes to the loss of innocent lives. From now on, they’ll have to rip off my skin.

Finally, in past postings I have described the plight of blogger, Yoani Sanchez. She was recently invited to appear in Brazil. That government granted an entry visa to her. When she requested permission from the Cuban government, permission was denied. It was the 19thtime she has requested permission to leave Cuba to be honored abroad. If nothing else, the Cuban government is consistent.   

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