One would think the city has been bombed out. Sancti Spiritus, Cuba’s City of the Holy Spirit, will turn five hundred in June of this year, and the heart of its old town has all but vanished. (18 photos)
I asked a friend who works in Cuban television to copy me some music videos and movies. I am always on the lookout for new things. When I had a look at the folder in my computer, I saw a film titled Ex-Drummer. I started to watch it, out of curiosity, and every scene was more disgusting than the last.
None of the silk cotton (ceiba) trees I’ve planted as part of the Guardabosques (“Forest Ranger”) initiative I created in 2007 with a group of people concerned about the city’s trees have survived to date. I admit I no longer know what to do about this, as I’ve tried every strategy I’ve deemed appropriate.
Many a time, when I get up in the morning, I don’t need to look at the clock, for, at exactly 7 am every day, a man who sells bread and invariably walks past my house blows a whistle and yells out: “Bread, come get your bread!”
The news zigzag their way through Cuba’s online media and down the grapevine. Some say it’s coming, some say it isn’t. It might be this year, there may be plans underway – maybe, we’ll see. In the midst of all this chatter and contradictory news, the arrival of an Internet connection accessible to us simple Cuban mortals seems within sight.
I am 34 and about to have my first book published. I’ve been in this writing business for 17 years, struggling to get ahead, trying to get my foot in the door here and there, and the truth is that it hasn’t been easy.
I step out onto the balcony and see a group of children playing on the street. One of them runs around, astride a stick, yelling “Up and at ‘em, Palmiche.” It was pleasant to see this, because, nowadays, children tend to spend hours in front of the PlayStation or the computer, and their idols are galactic superheroes, mutants and who knows what else.
The reason I write this now is not precisely because some farmers markets around Havana are selling potatoes again, but the fact this product has been made available again in such a surreptitious manner. It’s taken so long – has it been months, years? – that people have been caught off guard.
Democracy could well be within hand’s reach in a future marked by the energy crisis, the only “inconvenience” is that we will have to fight for it old-school: wielding a machete, in exile or prison with a quill and some ink, through guerrilla warfare up in the mountains or clandestine cells in the city.
The alarm goes off at a quarter past six. I get up and fix breakfast. Then starts the battle of getting my son out of bed and sending him off to school. When I finally manage to wake him up, I help him get ready for his classes. After he’s left, I sit down in front of the computer and write for an hour or two.