Ortega y Gasset meet Cachita

ortega_gasset_cachita-copy.jpg

Since Friday we’ve been in Santiago de Cuba.  My mother asked me to bring stones from the Sanctuary of Cobre, and my sister, as in the refrain of a traditional song, is hoping for a “little Virgin of Charity.”  However, we have come for something more: to spread the virus called “Blogger Journey” to this province, where there is less access to the internet than in Havana but the same need to express opinions.

The trip has left me with a mix of impressions which will require several posts to be told.  I came with the idea of finding a dancing and outgoing people, but I will go without having seen a smile.  The plaza where Raúl Castro spoke of continuity, just a month ago today, is full of people on the hunt for tourists and beggars who ask me for some money for food.  I walked not only through streets filled with shops that trade in convertible pesos, but also along steep streets with houses on the verge of collapse.  “Save water, we can only fill the tank once every two weeks,” was the welcoming phrase from a kind family where we slept for four nights.

Today, Sunday morning, we had the most interesting meeting.  Young people filled with discontent and with desires to make things change, received us to hear about the Cuban blogosphere.  Shy at first, but, after a few minutes, with many questions about the multifaceted and flexible tool that is a blog.  Now we’ll see if they join the Voces Cubanas [Cuban Voices] project.

I was in the sanctuary of the Virgin of Charity of Cobre, an island within the Island.  Where, in the same glass case, offerings for the freedom of political prisoners and the insignias of the Rebel Army coexist.  There, I left my Ortega y Gasset prize for journalism, the best place it could possibly be.  Fortunately, the long arm of the censor does not enter her temple.  Around Cachita stretches, still, one of the few strongholds of plurality that you can see in this green crocodile of a country.

itinerario_blogger_santiago.jpg

precios_altos-copy.jpg

ortegaygasset_puertas_cachita.gif

Translator’s notes

El Cobre, a copper mining town near Santiago de Cuba, is the site of the Sanctuary of Cobre dedicated to Cuba’s patron saint, the Virgin of Charity, nicknamed “Cachita.”  The church houses a small statue of the Virgin Mary which was found floating in the sea off the Cuban coast in the early 1600s.  Visitors to Cachita’s shrine leave gifts, which range from Olympic medals to everyday objects. These gifts are not censored or removed by the State.  Visitors also take away with them copper stones from the mines.  Readers who want to know more can find a great deal of information on the web.

Voces Cubanas (Cuban Voices) is a new home for bloggers on the Island.

About these ads

39 thoughts on “Ortega y Gasset meet Cachita

  1. and thanks for this:
    Sometimes one thinks that heroes belong to the past. The one that one reads only on history books like the guy standing against a tank in Tiananmen Square China. But we are proven wrong when we see people like Yoani making little by little heroic things for our homeland. Claiming freedom for our homeland in each blog post!

    If instead of one Yoani we get 12 if instead of 12 we get 24 and so on there will be one day when we will have our freedom back. That day will be the day that we all act like Yoani does.

    Exercise Freedom!
    Do not be afraid.

    Julio de la Yncera

    YES…Your voice is not silent any more! I will be making reading Gen Y a requirement of all I blog with.

  2. Thanks Carbo Servia…I will have to brush up on my Spanish. It is beautiful. pero yo no hablo bien. I have a translator and translalte some of the Spanish. It however, did not know the word ‘presiopero’, digame por favor.

  3. Sorry I had to start comment 35 with mentioning the source of my quotation:

    Carbo Servia dice: 3 Febrero 2009 a las 01:57 “from Dear bloggers to…thanks to everyone”
    Sorry Carbo Servia and thanks for your ideas.

  4. Dears blogers (I don’t know if the word “bloger” exists), I know we all are eager for speaking spanish because …. we like it!!!…….but……… our english commenter will get bored if we transform this site in an extension of the spanish one. Let’s increase Yoani’s protection by enhancing this english page as big as the spanish one, let’s give the english speaking castrists the freedom dose they need to understand our fight, let’s them know we have the truth and they are wrong. There are millions of passive readers that hit this page every day, most of them doesn’t understand spanish, let’s give them the information they are looking for about Cuba. We have it, let’s give them it in english.
    I hope no want misunderstand my petition.
    Thanks to everyone.

    I agree with this. Of course I also long to be able to communicate in Spanish. (I am not a native speaker in English too) But you are completely right. In the blog of 4-02, about the internet acces, I have written some comments about the different rights for Cubans and Tourists. But I have a lot more stories to tell. Because I have spoken a lot with different people in Cuba. They told me a lot of stories about their lives. How they are striving for freedom of speech and are longing for ways to speak openly about
    ideas and dreams and books, like we all are used to do. But also of how the system works on different realms of their daily reality. How to get a better taxi, how to get another house. How to get milk for childeren 7+! How to get information about legal rights. How to get CUC’s even as a person that is not working in the tourist industry. Ans so on…

  5. I was so pleased to find Yoani’s blog regularly translated into English. I am married to a Cuban but my Spanish is beyond poor. My wonderful husband has been telling me about Yoani’s blog for the longest time and would try to translate it for me. He is so proud of her and what she, and her husband, are trying to do for the Cuban people.

    My husband, Nico, and I speak regularly about one day being able to travel freely to Cuba and perhaps make our home there. Nico has so many ideas and dreams about what could be accomplished in Cuba if only the Cuban people were given the freedom to build their own lives.

    Nico came to the USA in 1980 as one of the “Marielitos” and he takes great pride when referring to himself, by quoting the prologue to “Scarface,” as one of the “dregs of Castro’s jails.” He was thrown into jail when it was discovered that he was making plans to escape from Cuba and one of his co-conspirators turned him in.

    I hope to someday at least visit Cuba but in the meantime, I thank Yoani for this blog which seems to have brought hope and a sense of purpose to so many.

  6. re: Alligators versus Crocodiles

    John Two — You’re right… I changed it! Every translation I found for ‘caiman’ said “alligator” — but it just didn’t ‘feel’ right. (I was tempted just to use ‘caiman’ which is also used in English.) So anyway… I didn’t trust my own judgment and put in alligator but meanwhile emailed one of the supporting cast of thousands of exiled Cubans who help me (ok, it’s only about 5 or 6 but THANK YOU TO ALL OF THEM… and the non-Cubans who help me as well, you know who you are… without them I am nothing, I promise you all!)… and got back the clear answer that it, is, indeed, “crocodile” and even a scientific explanation of the difference between them (which I know but always forget!) and an affirmation that there are no alligators in Cuba, only crocodiles!

    And I hope my English translations of Yoani’s incredible prose are a whole lot better than that really bad sentence, above, that I just wrote!

  7. Oops, I meant to the other end of the “green crocodile” as Yoani calls her country.

  8. What a poignant and moving blog posting. I look forward to further posts about Yoani’s trip to the other end of the “green alligator.” From her post, I get the idea that it’s not a trip she’s able to make very often.

  9. Yoani….We have Sanchez sisters in our small town in the US South that would pass for a siblin of yours. Do know their father came to this town forty years ago from Florida.
    The pictures of the attentive children on this paticular post is worth a million words.
    Everyone please keep posting, link this site to everysite that will let you…..

  10. andy perdoneme —-pero para esto que habla ingles hay que poner la cosa mas clara ellos en historia son pesimo y creen que cuba la fundo castro=====ayer

  11. Those unfamiliar with our culture tend to believe that the “Robolution” invented the educational system in Cuba, due to their repeated lies; that is a fallacy. Prior to communism we had one of the lowest rates of illiteracy in this part of the hemisphere, no one was excluded to receive one of the best educations available, free of charge and without indoctrination.

  12. patricio dice: 3 Febrero 2009 a las 08:23

    For example, when people tell me, “But after the revolution everyone learned to read”… what I explain to them is that first — they are not ALLOWED to read what they want… everyone learned to read what the government wanted them to read.”
    000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

    What the most people ignore is the fact that before the dictatorship Cuba had left behind all other latinamerican countries and many european countries in health, education and social benefices development. What the dictatorship has done is only maintain what they inherited from 45 years of democracy. Everyone can understand, even the most hard headed communist, that maintain the same standard for 50 years is not a progress but a disaster.

  13. For example, when people tell me, “But after the revolution everyone learned to read”… what I explain to them is that first — they are not ALLOWED to read what they want…

    Well, really what you want to say is that, “after the revolution, everyone learned to read what the government wanted them to read.”

  14. Carbo, bueno, hablando de estrategia, me parece bien lo que dices y me gusta la idea que hay otros aqui leyendo y escribiendo en su propia idioma. Y tambien me gusta la idea que venga mas gente a leer y comentar aqui como un diálogo, pero no estoy aqui para discutir con nadie, especialmente los locos aqui que ni conozcan lo que hizo “los dictadores Castro” del pais, me entiendes? Pero asi es un blog y asi es nuestro libertad a escribir lo que queremos escribir. Lo que pasa es que me cayo muy mal que una persona que se llama un Socialista insultó a mi nino. Eso no es justo, y por eso regrese a escribir en espanol. Ya sabes que hay mucho gente en el mundo que esta bien loco con la politca. Ya, despues de tanto tiempo en mi vida, no me interesa esta gente tan loca. Pero de todas maneras, yo te entiendo bien y es un buen idea a escribir en la idioma de esta pagina. Asi que, voy hacerlo para darle un chance. Pero no te pongas soprendido si a veces escribo un mensaje chiquito en espanol! Gracias por tus palabras, ‘mano!

  15. @ RENE
    I don’t really understand what you’re saying… my spanish isn’t that good… but… let me assure you that if you think I am supporting the totalitarian murderous dictator you’re mistaken. I think, perhaps, that working between languages my sarcasm wasn’t clear….

    In short, what I was trying to say is that so many STUPID non-Cubans (well they may be smart people but they are stupid about cuba)… they do not understand how evil these people are, how evil the “revolution”, how evil fidel is — and we need to help them understand.

    For example, when people tell me, “But after the revolution everyone learned to read”… what I explain to them is that first — they are not ALLOWED to read what they want…

    And the health care? the whole system is crumbling, the doctors are overseas being traded for oil, the health care for cubans is terrible.

    Just to be clear what I really think!

  16. ANDY ===USTED NO ES CUBANO por favor yo no se de que usted habla cuba tiene buena medicina yo creo que usted vive en galacia mire ===you tube medicina para los cubano—-this is who the cuban people live in cuba

    andy mira la cuba de los pobre cubano bajo el dictador castro =======para mi nadie tiene el derecho de estar en poder por 10 y mucho meno por 50 anos ====que tu crees andy no creo que tu apoye a dictador

  17. patricio dice: 3 Febrero 2009 a las 02:46
    0000000000000000000000000

    Patricio hermano, Yoani no puede leerte pues no tiene acceso a internet y dudo mucho que tenga tiempo para leernos a todos suponiendo que alguien le pueda hacer llegar un dia un disquete con nuestros comentarios. Con todo respeto te digo que el objetivo principal de nuestros comentarios aqui es el de crear opinion publica, o sea, lograr que los lectores ocacionales de este blog conozcan la realidad de Cuba atravez de los articulos de Yoani y nuestros comentarios. Ahora, puedes estar seguro que la principal fuente de informacion de los lectores pasivos de este blog tienen son los debates que tenemos con los defensores del castrismo, esos debates que crean opinion y que de forma muy efectiva le dan proteccion a Yoani pues la dictadura nunca se atrevera a dañar una persona que es leida por miles de personas diariamente. Eso es lo que se ha logrado en la pagina en español y es lo que tenemos que lograr en esta pagina en ingles, es decir, que vengan gentes de todo el mundo y lean y opinen aqui gracias a que convirtamos este espacio en un lugar agradable y acogedor…… ahora si tu y yo nos ponemos a dialogar en español y dejamos botados a todos los gringos, noruegos, neozelandeces, indios o esquimales que quieren participar, entonces solo lograremos espantarlos y con ellos se ira la proteccion de Yoani……. es una cuestion de estrategia…. asi de simple.
    Disculpa la perorata pero creo que esto es algo que debemos tomar en cuenta y contribuir con nuestra ayuda a la expansion de este medio.
    Saludos hermano.

  18. Carbo, con todo el respeto, yo no dejo comentarios para los otros que escriben aqui me vean. Mas bien que dejo un comentario para Yoani en caso que le llegara. Si no, bueno, nimodo pues. Nada mas le doy me apoyo y ya! se acabo! Pero fijate que aqui estoy leyendo todo! Suerte, man.

  19. re: PEOPLE COMMENTING IN (AND LEARNING FROM) THIS BLOG

    I agree with Carbo Servia about getting more people to comment here. WHY DON’T WE ALL INVITE AT LEAST ONE FRIEND TO JOIN US HERE. I still talk to all these people who think Cuba is great just the way it is because of course Che was a true hero and if Che liked it, it’s good enough for us, right? And don’t forget… Cuba has universal education, 100% literacy, and the world’s best health care system. So everything is great. What’s that? There are a few problems with these things?

    WELL LET’S MAKE SURE MORE PEOPLE HEAR ABOUT THEM. I am really sick of seeing people who are basically good people, people who want a better world, people who are for peace and freedom, wearing their Che t-shirts. but if we don’t educate them, who will.

    And if there’s a better source of what life in Cuba is really like than Yoani’s blog… then I don’t know what it is.

    As for english versus spanish — it’s nice that everyone can read it when it’s in english, but I am also happy to see people who are more comfortable in spanish coming to visit us and reading what the english speaking people say… and I am happy to have them comment in any language….

  20. Sometimes one thinks that heroes belong to the past. The one that one reads only on history books like the guy standing against a tank in Tiananmen Square China. But we are proven wrong when we see people like Yoani making little by little heroic things for our homeland. Claiming freedom for our homeland in each blog post!

    If instead of one Yoani we get 12 if instead of 12 we get 24 and so on there will be one day when we will have our freedom back. That day will be the day that we all act like Yoani does.

    Exercise Freedom!
    Do not be afraid.

    Julio de la Yncera

  21. Dears blogers (I don’t know if the word “bloger” exists), I know we all are eager for speaking spanish because …. we like it!!!…….but……… our english commenter will get bored if we transform this site in an extension of the spanish one. Let’s increase Yoani’s protection by enhancing this english page as big as the spanish one, let’s give the english speaking castrists the freedom dose they need to understand our fight, let’s them know we have the truth and they are wrong. There are millions of passive readers that hit this page every day, most of them doesn’t understand spanish, let’s give them the information they are looking for about Cuba. We have it, let’s give them it in english.
    I hope no want misunderstand my petition.
    Thanks to everyone.

  22. Me dio sopresa que la cuenta no idico como llego Yoani a Santiago. Se que es bien dificil a viajar entre la isla. Espero que llego sin problemas. Suerte!

  23. la solucion de cuba es si el pueblo se tira para la calles mientra tanto no pasara nada

    los dictadora entro a el poder con las mano manchada de sangre y la unica forma que salira es con sangre

    y no me gusta la violencia la libertad tiene su presiopero

  24. The voices of liberty speak clearly from all countries. Jose Marti’s vision for a better Cuba will be realized one day. Thank Yoani Sanchez for her work. May God bless the Cuban people.
    ***
    Los voces de la libertad hablan furtemente de todos los paises. El Vision de Jose Marti por una Cuba mejor va realiasarse una dia. Da gracias a Yoani Sanchez por su trabajo. Que Dios bendiga la gente Cubana.

  25. Andy, I left Cuba years ago; therefore unable to comply with your request. Besides, under the present system the government and only the government is the one who is able to build billboards because their control is absolute.

    I am a firm believer that with these blogs one will be able to communicate more effectible with the new generation of Cubans. They have been deprived of the truth for so long, not anymore.

    People, think about the following quote:

    “Perhaps the enemies of liberty are such only because they judge it by its loud voice.”

    José Martí

  26. @ Carlos

    If you’re not doing anything today, do you think you could get these made up into a few billboards… and place them strategically ALL OVER THE ISLAND?!?!?!??!? Thanks! These are great quotes.

  27. El apóstol dijo:

    Los bárbaros que todo lo confían a la fuerza y a la violencia, nada construyen, porque sus simientes son de odio.
    José Martí

  28. Like bones to the human body, the axle to the wheel, the wing to the bird, and the air to the wing, so is liberty the essence of life. Whatever is done without it is imperfect.
    Jose Marti

  29. Here is another one.

    Freedoms, like privileges, prevail or are imperiled together. You cannot harm or strive to achieve one without harming or furthering all.
    Jose Marti

  30. Glad to be the first to comment, here is a quote from one of the greatest, José Martí: “But when women are moved and lend help, when women, who are by nature calm and controlled, give encouragement and applause, when virtuous and knowledgeable women grace the endeavor with their sweet love, then it is invincible.”

    Jose Marti

Comments are closed.