RECENTLY I HAVE BEEN HOPING I might read my blog for the first time. Some friends have seen it and described it to me, and I feel the same pleasure as when they speak to me about my children. They suggested that I buy a card that would let me enter cyberspace from the services in hotels. Two and a half months after starting the site, I still haven’t been able to see it. I’m anxious to read it, feel it, smell it. I imagine its design would give me a feeling of tenderness. Recently an old man asked me if I was sure if civilization existed outside this island.
Shrugging my shoulders, I think so, I told him. And he looked at me a long time, seeking the lost truth. It’s that, he commented, how is it possible that we’ve forgotten?… I got tired of throwing bottles into the sea, he said. I got tired, he repeated and took off, pondering. Recently a lady told me that the scenes of war on the news seem to have been filmed in secret television studios. I told her no: in other places there are also social contradictions, political conflicts, famines, diseases, etc. It’s that they never show happiness, she observed, except on the national news where everything is going well, all the plan targets are met, the people interviewed are happy, they don’t complain, they’re not worried, they don’t have different ideas… Beyond our borders the people are always killing? Sometimes, I answered. Then, she continued, they don’t eat apples, don’t go on cruises, don’t vote peacefully? In some places, I said. The woman kept staring at me.
Surely you are one of them, she declared. Who? I wanted to know. Those who write the national news full of happiness and make us believe we are living in paradise… Do me a favor, she asked, I’m losing my sight, if I try to make conversations with you another time remind me that it’s you, so I won’t waste my time… When I got home I turned on the news, the Afghans were running back and forth. I wasn’t sure if in the background I thought I saw a sugar cane field, and even the smoke from a smokestack. I went to the TV and turned it off.
Recently they have also, “Interrupted the Email Service.” Now, I go to Havana in search of a kind soul who uploads a text to my site; it makes me remember the excitement I used to feel in those early years of writing when I was wandering around the city trying to find a typewriter with a good ribbon and someone who would type, behind their boss’s back, several pages of a story I planned to send off to a literary contest. I have no complaints. From the beginning I knew what would happen if I chose the “status” of a writer within the island; in consequence, some benefits, or managing a space to write the problems that surround and distress me, and by extension, receiving institutional attacks.
Recently in Havana the cost of the written word has gone up. Owners of authorized email charge in convertible pesos (cuc) for a service to communicate with families in other countries, or for the whores to keep in touch with their foreigners. Since the beginning of last year, when they tried to deny access to Cubans to connect from the hotels, the private rentals have gone up to three cuc, and they say that before the end of the month it will increase to five.
Recently I have my doubts: I don’t know if words are going up in price or have lost their value.