Sunday, July 31, 2011

Dreamer and Disconnected / Luis Felipe Rojas

Dreamer and Disconnected / Luis Felipe Rojas
Luis Felipe Rojas, Translator: Raul G.

I was able to hear, via a radio show being transmitted from Miami, the
reading of an article by a Cuban writer named Eduardo del Llano. It was
a perfect sonata defending the right of Cuban workers and dissidents to
strike. "Why not?", asked del Llano. I was greatly impressed by the
light and fresh prose of the excellent humorist and I really wanted to
be able to re-read that specific work. I wanted to see those blunt words
on my lap top (which, of course, has no internet connection) so I could
reply to him in regards to two phrases that didn't sound right to me,
and congratulate him regardless. I sent a friend of mine so that he
could download the mentioned article, while dodging the cyber-informers,
but he called me from his province with fatal news. There were
connection problems. "There is no internet access to that blog from my
work place", he assured.

When I tried to do it on my own, a blue logo popped up and told me:
"Internet Explorer cannot display this web site", and immediately
another sign followed it which amicably suggested: "You can try the
following- Diagnose connection problems". And it went on like that
forever, that sign which haunts me like a childhood ghost and which
props up for certain pages and names, like a sharp weapon of the Cuban
cyber-police: "Internet Explorer cannot display this web site" or "You
are using an outdated version of FireFox, try again with an updated
one". I swear I would try it if it weren't for the fact that 6.00 CUC or
150 Cuban pesos only allows me 60 minutes on the internet.

Not too long ago, my uncle asked me if Facebook was an epidemic created
by the Yankees (Americans), and I really just wanted to laugh. But I
didn't want to miss the morning coffee and I asked him why he was asking
that. According to him, he had read a Cuban newspaper where they hurled
countless insults against "that Facebook thing". I also did not laugh
because I am not a masochist, because, I admit it, sometimes I'm not
that much of a good Cuban, like the manuals say, to laugh at all my

A friend of mine from the university who now works at a weekly
provincial newspaper was recently complaining about having lost contact
with other friends on Facebook. His ideological chiefs in Havana had
prohibited the use of this virtual tool for those working for the
state-run press. According to him, he had no way of replying to attacks
made on the local healthcare and the health care of Cuba in general.
When he complained, they responded by stating that it was an order from
above, suggesting names like Ramiro Valdes, Jose Ramon Machado Ventura,
Rolando Alfonso Borges, or some other information capo from the Central

It was many months ago when I lost my Facebook friends, that I cannot
follow them from a cybercafe with the occasional internet card given to
me by other internet surfers or tourists who have decided to join me in
solidarity. I have not been able to upload images of that Cuba which the
regime allows me to photograph, or to write 200-word screams from a
crazy man from his island-prison.

On Twitter, and with the modest re-charges which friends have provided
me, I have been able to spit out a couple of letters every once in a while.

Translated by Raul G.

30 July 2011

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