Since I last posted, the novel has been completely revised and the title has changed from Death of the White Rose to Island of the White Rose. Working with Barbara Phillips, the editorial director of Bridgeworks Publishing Company, has been educational. There was not a sentence, word or punctuation mark that she did not scrutinize, and she was an able sculptor of the clay of my completed manuscript. Now, the project has the look and feel of a completed book, although the publication date is still months away—August 1st. It is being printed in both hardback and e-formats and should be available through any bookstore or Amazon. When it becomes available, I’ll post here about where to buy it and link to a webpage, www.islandofthewhiterose.com, presently under construction.
Much has happened in Cuba since the last posting, and there are some hopeful signs of change on the island of the palms. Yesterday, Raúl Castro was sworn in as president for a final term. He announced that this will be the end of the road for him and it is time that a new generation take over the reigns of government. He also advocated that there be term and age limits in the future for government officials.
The person most likely to follow Raúl as president is Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, the highest ranking vice president. I am pleasantly surprised that the betting is not on Raúl’s daughter, Mariela Castro Espín. Perhaps the Castro line is at an end. Bermudez has experience with foreign investment in tourism and his ascendancy may signal a change in the wind for socialism in Cuba.
Another change is the implementation of the policy announced some months ago that for the most part dispenses with the necessity of an exit passport for Cuban citizens. As a result, Yoani Sánchez, who 13 times requested permission to leave the country over the past few years finally was able to depart on a three continent lecture tour. Yoani has also learned how a public figure’s every comment will generate public indignation, if the words are not well chosen. Last week she garnered criticism in the Cuban-American community, when she called on the United States to free the Cuban five, the Cuban nationals who were convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage, conspiracy to commit murder and acting as the agent of a foreign government in the United States. She also called for the end of the US embargo and the closure of the U.S. government’s Guantánamo naval base. The latter two points have some support in the U.S. both inside and outside the Cuban-American communities, but the idea of freeing felons has little traction here, to my knowledge.
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