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By Sironay Gonzalez Rodriguez

How good I feel when knowing that I am doing the right thing, even when the majority contradicts me or avoids any comment so as not to be implicated. I like to be on the opposite side, I feel good being apart from the mass.

My biggest commitment is with the truth. With it I walk with my head up and I am not afraid, because the fear is for those who are attached to dogmas and live in the obligation of being servile although they don’t understand a thing. I give myself to a noble cause, justice, and for it I will be fighting with all the known peaceful means while God gives me strength.

I believe in the power of the small, in the capacity that people still have (although they don’t notice it) to love.

Sironay Gonzalez Rodriguez
San Cristobal, Artemisa. 1976

Translated by Adrian Rodriguez

June 30 2011

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By Dagoberto Valdes and the Editorial Board

In editorial No. 14 of Convivencia Magazine (www.convivenciacuba.es) of March-April 2010, we said that:

“In the last year there has been a visible increase of the natural diversity of expressions of men and women in Cuba. This plurality has been manifested, mainly, in the cultural world. This world has been always a very multicolored one. And in the last fifty years, it has been treated more with subtle censorship and exclusions than with more direct methods. Thus, the cultural and educational world was expressing itself, more and more, in a peaceful way, critical, punctual and persevering. Instead of more room for debates; instead of opening the existing paths to the diversity of opinion and action, the answer has been the growth of  violent repression, direct, without a mask nor subtleties as before.”

The last two milestones with this sad reality have been: The closing down of Pedro Pablo Oliva’s studio in Pinar del Rio last May 14, 2011 and the “cancellation” of the enrollment and grades earned over two years, by the blogger from Camagüey Henry Constatin, who is also a member of the editorial boards of the magazines Voces and Convivencia and who participates in the preparation of the serial Citizens’ Reasons, an audiovisual space for independent debates that address different aspects of our national life. Both decisions damage noticeably the spirituality and creativeness of the Cuban nation. So we expressed in the afore-mentioned editorial only a year ago.

“Those who blockade the cultural world, those who gag the arts, those who uglify beauty and turn off the lights of letters and the truthfulness of  dreams for freedom, for justice and for love in Cuba, are crossing a very dangerous red line: Not only are they repressing the artists’ creativity, and the honesty of the intellectuals, or the sincerity of the communicators, but also they are repressing the nation’s soul. Those who repress the soul of the people in order to try, unsuccessfully, to smother the motions of the human spirit, are inflicting the greatest of  anthropological damage on their citizens, fatally wounding the spiritual stability of the nation and executing it by means of the irreparable slope of violence, which nobody wants.”

On the now closed door of Pedro Pablo Oliva’s house, the greatest living artist of Pinar del Rio, there’s a phrase that speaks clearly of his great soul: “strictly prohibited to stop dreaming”. So responds this Cuban who loves so much his motherland, who gave so much for it and who did so much good, discreetly, to Pinar and to Cuba. All artists, intellectuals, cultural or civic animators, know that Pedro Pablo, his home and his help, has been always in favor of the realization of the best dreams of each one of us. His moderation, his humble life and his desire for a universal inclusion of everything good, right and beautiful, mark his attachment to the homeland and his indelible contribution to the culture. Reading the exhortation to don’t stop dreaming, I couldn’t avoid recalling the end of the number 14 editorial of Convivencia which is another way to say the same thing and to dream of a better future for Cuba and its culture.

“This world is upside down. And one day will be straightened. And the artists will create and express in free public spaces, respectfully and participative. And the bloggers will write and launch to the world their blogs without gags or blockades on the internet. And the musicians and composers will say, with their free musical notes and free lyrics, what their souls want for the good of all. And the writers and artisans will let fly in the air letters and shapes as free as they are responsible. And the educators and students, methodologists and directors of education, will not fear students expressing themselves, or gathering freely without the surveillance of their custodians with teacher faces. And every one, men or women, will contribute, express or intervene in the public spaces, in the cultural environments without the horrible nightmare of being labeled as a worm or a mercenary.

This world will come, nobody doubts it, and then Cuba will stand up and will close the door on the gag. And the threatening arms of brother against brother will be lowered. And the offenses between lifetime neighbors will end, and fear and the threats from our phones and squares will end. And families divided by all these will be reunited. And, then, it won’t be a day for revenge, or for hate, or rancor. Cuba, every Cuban man or woman, will brick up the door to violence and repudiation. And we will open between all of us, with the beauty of the arts and the letters, with the truthfulness of the ethical and civic education and with the kindliness of the peaceful coexistence, the ample door, diverse and fraternal of the National Home that it is and it will be forever this Cuba that still navigates in hope.”

Pedro Pablo and Henry, you know you can count on the solidarity, the affection and respect  of many people in Cuba and overseas. Even the silence of fear speaks by itself. It’s only a matter of not sinking in hopelessness. It is only another big blackout. Let there be light.

Translated by: Adrian Rodriguez

May 26 2011

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