Just yesterday, on the eve of the presentation in Chile of a compilation of my blog posts under the title Cuba Libre, I received a report from the Customs Department of the Republic. It confirmed the confiscation of ten copies of my book sent via DHL. In the rancid and brief words of the bureaucracy, it explained:
Physical inspection of the package found documents whose content goes against the general interests of the nation, and for this reason they have been seized consistent with the established legislation.
I try to recreate the scene of “the specialists” clarifying if they would or would not permit the book to cross the borders of this Island and come into my hands. Would they look in its pages for some obscene images that could offend morality? Certainly they didn’t find any among the photos of inflammatory billboards with political slogans, the dilapidated bowels of an abandoned car and the Cuban flags on display in a market that does not accept national currency. The latter may seem obscene but it’s not my fault.
Would those who groped the phrases of Cuba Libre be zealous doctors of grammar, looking for an error, perhaps, or misuse of a verb tense? Were they military analysts, searching between the paragraphs of my chronicles for hidden codes, revelations about the economy, or secret State Security documents? They found none of that, not even the recipe for how to make guarapo, the nearly extinct national drink made by crushing sugar cane.
I make do with fantasizing that those who prevented the Spanish version of my posts reaching hundreds of friends, among whom they would have circulated, were some soldiers with more discipline than literacy. They were probably already warned by the listeners who constantly monitor my telephone; they might even have been warned not to read the contents. If three years of publishing in cyberspace would serve to bring my voice only to these grim censors, I would have sufficient reason to be satisfied. Something of me would remain inside them, just as their repressive presence has marked my chronicles, my book has pushed them to leap toward freedom.