Category Archives: Translator: Espirituana

Laura Pollán has died

And now, what do we do?… What right do we have to continue breathing, treading on this Island that she so defended in the face of insults, threats and beatings?… I know that “to die for the Motherland is to live”*, so why are so few interested in living and prefer to live in silence, which is the worst of all deaths?  What stuff was the Lady made of that, if she were granted the opportunity to return and change her position regarding the dictatorship, she would prefer to stay dead in spite of the sorrow of her family and grateful Cubans?

My mother used to tell me that in general good people live short lives, in contrast to the dictators. Could it be that having done one’s duty exonerates you from continuing to suffer? Laura, go in PEACE, you deserve it. We will try to gain that peace that makes us so proud when we speak of you… We will pick up from the ground the gladioli that the hordes tore up, and each of them will give birth to ideas, feelings, unity, millions of flowers protected by the tenderness of your hands…

As you taught us, each tear they made you shed is a hymn that encourages us to not give up. We know that in the morning light you will return for the rest of our days, and that inspires us. Your white figure will be a way of making us recall your attitude and conscience for history…

May we be able to earn that life in which you now live, having justified staying on this Island you defended until death – it will be the only way in which you will live for the Motherland. And then may it not be the dead who raising their arms will still know how to defend her**. It will be us, possessed by your spirit, who will conquer the yearned-for freedom.

Only thus will your death be a lie.

Translator’s notes:
*Words from the Cuban national anthem.
** Words from a Cuban poem.

Translated by: Espirituana

October 15 2011


The Artist Behind the Barricades

The writer and journalist Amir Valle, in a still unpublished interview, asks me the following question.

And what about the powerful Cuban culture that has been developing for five decades already in exile, in many parts of the world? How do you think it can contribute, from the outside, to the need for a social change on the island?

Without attempting to be an analyst, political strategist or demiurge, just one more artist who humbly offers his point of view, I believe that intellectuals in exile should stay as close as possible to Cuban culture, defend it firstly as an art, and then from the political position that they see fit. That should never be forgotten: first comes culture, then everything else. I am sure that that artistic weight is what raises consciousness and respect for a national dialogue which will result in a political change for the rebirth of democracy and the will of Cubans, although some claims, as usually happens, will be backed by a minority.

I like this phrase so much, and I’m probably not quoting it verbatim, because having repeated it so often, it is so much a part of me that I made it mine: “I may not agree with what you say, but I will fight to the death to defend your right to say it.” Therefore,they must continue making use of their freedom and their technologically advanced media, which cannot be persecuted nor suffer direct reprisals like the confiscation of their computers.

In some measure they should create a space for the nation’s denunciations, be the voice of those inside the island. Soften esthetic disagreements, self-serving attitudes, in the interest of achieving greater unity. The strength of the diaspora offers security to those of us still inside, those of us who demand the rights of all to live together in a future free and democratic Motherland, that will open her arms for the long-awaited reunion of her children scattered throughout the world.

What I have no doubt about is that the Cuban intellectual class, inside and outside, is called to contribute profoundly to the future political transition of the country.

October 7 2011