Erasmo Calzadilla 

Sculpture at the Hotel Nacional. Photo: Caridad

When the president of INSTEC University here in Havana wanted to demoralize the collaborators of havanatimes.org (people who worked or studied at that school), he appealed to a trick during a public function.

On a large screen, and flicking through images at full speed, he projected English versions of our dairies so that few people could read us and so we would seem like Yankee-lovers.

When we first started the website, even I felt a little concerned and uncomfortable that it came out only in the language of Shakespeare.  This put us in a delicate situation.  Plus, though I was wringing out my neurons, I couldn’t even avoid the fact that the readers of my posts were other than Cuban.

We began to work on that and by September 2009 we finally had the Castilian version.

At the beginning they were only a few readers of the Spanish version, but we were growing.   Now we have around 600-700 every day – more than those who receive it by e-mail.  The statistics show us that a good part of these are Cuban, including current residents here in Cuba

(My only hope is that not all of these are people sitting around at the state security headquarters known as Villa Marista.  What a thought!)

Why? – because many of the collaborators with Havana Times conceive of it as a promoter of social activism basically here on the island.  Overseas matters are no less important, but obviously the insular universe is the one we know best and the one that most immediately sensitizes us and invites to act.

That’s why other Cubans entering this website are more than welcome.  Now we’re left with the major challenge of encouraging our compatriots to comment more and to freely discuss the things of interest and concern to us.  If baseball fanatics have achieved this in Parque Central, why haven’t we?

 


Erasmo Calzadilla

Erasmo Calzadilla: I find it difficult to introduce myself in public. I've tried many times but it doesn’t flow. I’m more less how I appear in my posts, add some unpresentable qualities and stir; that should do for a first approach. If you want to dig a little deeper, ask me for an appointment and wait for a reply.

3 thoughts on “More Cuban Readers – Great!

  • I am happy to see that you–and the havanatimes–have a growing readership in Spanish amongst Cubans, both at home and in the diaspora. And who knows, you may just change a mind or two amongst your readers at the Villa Marista (?Villa Marxista?), and they may have a personal epiphany, like the principal character in the film “The Lives of Others.” Somehow, intuitively, I feel we are at the beginning of a new age. If not the “Age of Aquarius,” at least one reflecting a revolution in consciousness, in our perception of the role of the state, of ourselves, and of the interactions betwixt both. In fact, I feel the nature of the state itself is changing. In any event, you give me optimism!

  • Erasmo,

    It should be a non-issue that we Cubans in the diaspora should be able to comment and contribute to Havana Times. Cuba is as much yours as she is mine!

    Humberto Capiro

  • Erasmo,

    I have nothing to add but my thanks to you for your excellent writing on the subject of press and academic freedom.

    As a long time supporter of the revolution, I am growing more and more unhappy with the lack of participatory democracy in what is supposed to be a socialist country.

    Statism MIGHT have been necessary during the Cold War years but now it is democratic rule of the people from the bottom up that is needed to revitalize the old order which is not meeting the democratic aspirations of the working people.

    What happened to the reforms of the PCC congress just past?
    Your writings and that of so many others at havanatimes is what now inspires us; the friends of the revolution.

    I hope the government and those stuck in the rigidity of statism realize that their time has passed. Fidel, Raul and the other leaders of the original revolution, ( my heroes) need to understand that a move towards true democratic socialism is needed to keep the revolution vital; to provide the good example so feared by the Empire

    All the best to you all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *