A whole rhetoric—so widespread in the sixties of the last century—displays its death throes in the millennium that recently began. It’s a type of discussion that reminds me of the “barricades,” in that opponents crouch behind the parapets and from this safe vantage point throw insults instead of arguments. Gianni Minà has dusted off a little of this worn out artillery. The arsenal he has flung at me is composed of accusations that I am manufactured by the North and that I have forgotten to mention—on purpose—the advantages of today’s Cuban system. In conclusion he repeats the refrain that I am “unknown” in Cuba, forgetting that I have always boasted of my smallness and insignificance.
Minà, however, has a history of great deeds. He managed to interview the one who has guided the destiny of my country for five decades, when we Cubans ourselves have not been able to question him or respond to him with our ballots. The book that resulted from that meeting was in the bookstores during the years when I was thinking of leaving college because I did not have shoes to wear. From this side of the world, away from the windows displaying his extensive interview in a deluxe edition, something very different was happening: pockets were emptying, frustration growing and fear proliferating. None of this appeared in the eulogistic phrases of that publication and the author didn’t care to prepare a second edition to fill in these omissions.
I would like to suggest a couple of questions for a new meeting between him and Fidel Castro, which will probably never happen. Investigate Mr. Minà—you who can speak with Him—why he hasn’t decreed an amnesty for Adolfo Fernández Sainz and his colleagues, who have now served six years in prison for crimes of opinion. Mark on your agenda, please, the doubts my neighbor has about the denial of permission for his brother to enter Cuba, after “deserting” while at a conference abroad. Transmit to him the question of my son Teo who doesn’t understand why, to study in higher education, one must meet a set of ideological requirements.
If you can get close to Him—closer than any of us could manage—ask him to let these “unknown” citizens freely associate, found a newspaper, create a radio station, run for president, or enjoy that right that you exercise in full, of publicly writing opinions very different from those of your country. I assure you that this interview—the one you will never have—would be a bestseller on this Island.