I left Cuba exactly one year ago and during this time I’ve had to adapt to life in Ecuador. I would now like to summarize a number of things I’ve seen, things I thought were unique to Cuba and now see they are, regrettably, not limited to my country.
Alfredo Fernandez’s Diary
For some time now, I’ve found myself longing for the book-burning inquisitors of old to come back. Yes, I’m serious: I’ve caught myself fondly remembering those who, during medieval times and early modernity, made huge pyres of “dangerous” volumes.
Talent still comes to the fore and gold nuggets twinkle in the trash. In the audiovisual and graphic production course I teach, I asked my students to put together an educational spot on a subject of their choosing as an assignment.
Following a rather unexpected turn of events, the organizers of the Puños Arriba (“Raised Fists”) Hip Hop Concert secured a positive response from authorities after staging a protest in front of the Cuban Music Institute (ICM) at noon on December 10.
“How could anyone in Latin America not know El Chavo del Ocho (often shortened to El Chavo)”, an Ecuadorian friend asked me after talking to me about this Mexican sitcom a few days ago. I had never heard about this super-famous comedy program. I looked for it on YouTube and saw it for the first time.
Every day, I have to put together the classes I teach, so many that I need to use audiovisual materials to optimize my time (for my work also entails a number of bureaucratic tasks that pretty much force me to manage my time efficiently).
It was 1992. My brother-in-law had invited me to his graduation at the University of Oriente, which was to be held at the former residence of the mayor, in front of Cespedes park in Santiago de Cuba. I would be present on behalf of the rest of the family, who was unable to travel for the ceremony.
I’ve gotten my first job in the capitalist world. A month ago, I sent my CV to an Ecuadorian university, the University of San Gregorio de Portoviejo, to be exact, located in the coastal province of Manabi. A few hours after sending my resume, they called me and asked me to start there as soon as possible.
Around six months ago, when Cuban writer Angel Santiesteban was imprisoned for the “crime” of openly expressing himself against the island’s government – on domestic abuse charges – the State’s repressive apparatus, bold as brass, organized a smear campaign against the author.
This past Saturday one of my dreams came true: I saw a live performance by renowned Cuban musician Paquito D’Rivera. And he began to settle a debt he had contracted with me more than twenty years ago, when I heard his music for the first time.