Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Five Years of “Crossing the Barbed Wire” - How Long Should I Continue?

Five Years of "Crossing the Barbed Wire": How Long Should I Continue? /
Luis Felipe Rojas
Posted on December 29, 2014

My baby, my third child, this blog, is five years old and at times I ask
myself this question. How long should I continue? I started writing
against the grain of what a blog was, doing it like a daily without
wi-fi, nor nearby cybercages, but with the recklessness with which one
distributes a samizdat.

I remember, it was December 2009. My brother Orlando Zapata Tamayo #0ZT
began a hunger strike, impelled by the Castro regime to take off the
mask: the arrests and beatings of activists for supporting #0ZT happened
in Holguin and several other cities, one after the other. I wanted my
neighbors to know, the neighborhood snitches, the police, those who were
afraid and those who supported me then and have supported me since, that
it is you, the cyberactivists, the fine people who have accompanied me
in sixty months of words and actions.

Now with the new refrain of "intimate enemies" I paused, passing several
weeks without publishing, listening to my friends, reliving the same
party with such naivety. My parents told me that in 1959 people were
stunned by so many firecrackers and so much sabotage, on January 1st
coming out to salute the rebels, and on the second loudly crying out "To
the wall!" (demanding executions), and on the third beginning to fall
silent, three days after the Cuban Revolution.

Now the road is long because in Palma Soriano, Manzanillo and
Cumanayagua there are still hungry people who know nothing of diplomatic
relations. In Camagüey, my friend Millet continues to have the Rapid
Response Brigades after him every day to prevent him from putting up a
poster against the government or buying kerosene on the black market.
Last weekend they defaced Mirna Buenaventura's house with tar, in
Buenaventura, where people now call the Yankees "the fraternal and
supportive American people."

Now that the Furies have changed their spots there are friends who
stayed inside the fence and are not going to shut their mouths because
they never have. Yannier P. wrote from Guantanamo to tell me, "You don't
have to write for us, we know the horror. Write so that the world will
know the horror to come." I want to send a bouquet of flowers to my
friend Nancy Alfaya, a Christian woman with a bulletproof resistance:
her husband, the writer Jorge Olivera Castillo received 18 years in
prison, but Nancy refuses to stop laughing. In Havana she leads a
workshop against violence against women, is the first to read Olivera's
poems, and goes to church every day in the poor neighborhood where she
lives. I want to send flowers to Nancy but I would not want them to
arrive wilted.

I would like to write an article and travel to shake hands with Manuel
Martinez Leon, in La Jejira in Holguin, with Emiliano Gonzalez in El
Horno, in Bayamo, or Barbaro Tejeda in Mayari. The three are dissidents,
open opponents of the Castro brothers' tropical dictatorship and work
the land from sunrise.

Emiliano has given me interviews seated on a mountain of peanut bags,
and wrote to tell me of the tortured rules of the State cooperatives and
that he dreams of fields of peanuts while they hold him prisoner in
stinking dungeons.

Barbaro has talked with me on a trail where he goes to fish illegally,
to be able to eat and to feed his family. For years the "Watching the
Sea" Detachment — a kind of rapid response brigade with the pretext of
being anti-drug troops— monitors and represses its neighbors in Puerto
Padre, Levisa and Macabi, throughut Cuba. They cannot sell fish, catch
fish or eat fish. They don't know which law prohibits it, but the people
there who talked to me are afraid of breaking the rules. Sometimes
Barbaro Tejeda fries plantains or beans and dreams of a modern fishing rod.

With friends like this my blog will have ten more years of life. Still,
I have to explain to the world why Cuban mothers live without their
children and what the Law of Pre-Criminal Social Dangerousness is; first
I have to learn to write a legal monstrosity of such a package. Ileana,
my Venezuelan friend living in New York doesn't know what Showing
Contempt for the Figure of the Commander-in-Chief is, and I have to
explain with examples.

Many more years of life, of survival, remain to this blog. A house
organized from within and not for elegies without knowing its neighbors,
living in the turbulent and brutal south or north that now appreciates us.

27 December 2014

Source: Five Years of "Crossing the Barbed Wire": How Long Should I
Continue? / Luis Felipe Rojas | Translating Cuba -

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