HAVANA TIMES — I recently had the immense pleasure of meeting Isidro Estrada, one of Havana Times’ vanguard commentators, in person. Our compatriot has been living in China for about fifteen years. He decided to hop on over to his native soil for a bit and we set up something of an ambush for him.
Since Havana Times first saw the light of day some five years ago, the number of visitors and commentators at the site has gradually grown. This is something that pleases us greatly, but there is one thing that worries me some: as the forum grows, so does the politically-motivated passion and serene reflection tends to fall by the wayside.
This is the reason I am particularly grateful for Isidro’s comments, because they are an invitation to look at the historical complexity of social processes and to avoid the dazzling glare of events.
His comments betray a reflexive distance, yes, not insipid neutrality. Isidro grew up in the midst of the Cold War. He took part in it directly and, today, he is still a leftist. His comments enrich and balance a forum where that “tendency” (which I share) is not too common.
Beyond our political sympathies, meeting him face to face has been a real treat for the small group of Havana Times bloggers that had the pleasure. Thanks to the Internet, we already knew of his generosity, jovial spirit, ingenuity and loquacity, but the flesh-and-blood version outdid the virtual one.
I would like to see him and other Cubans scattered across the globe contribute to the site more often, and not only through the comments section. It would be good to have more articles and posts reflecting the experiences of the Cuban diaspora.
I’ve asked Isidro for this expressly and he’s committed to it – or that’s I what I thought I heard him say, between sips of wine and coffee.
In a few days, Isidro will return to distant China and (while burning the midnight oil) he will continue his small battles in Havana Times, dealing critical blows and receiving them with dignity. I hope this continues to be the case, while his health and lovely wife permit it.
In short, thanks Isidro.