Our Meeting with HT Commentator Isidro Estrada

Erasmo Calzadilla

Isidro Estrada, a regular HT commentator.
Isidro Estrada, a regular HT commentator.

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.

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.

2 thoughts on “Our Meeting with HT Commentator Isidro Estrada

  • Hi, I don’t know if you still live in El Electrico, but if so I would like to know if you still friends with Onel. I came across an article that you wrote about him, and I used to live right next door. My grandmother Rosa still lives in the same place and I’m sure if you tell him about this comment he is going to remember us. I think he moved from there already but we practically grew up together even thought he never talked to me because I’m younger than him. Anyhow, I would greatly appreciate if you answer me!
    Jennifer Prats.

  • Erasmo, please do not confuse political conviction with a lack of serenity. Politically-motivated passion, if grounded in fact, even if albeit anecdotal at times, can be quite serene. The opposite of serene is anxious, agitated or nervous. One is nervous many times from uncertainty. There is nothing uncertain about Cuba’s failings. A building collapse leaves little doubt. A monthly salary of only 20 cuc is indisputably low. Police beating middle-aged women dressed in white as they march from Sunday mass armed with gladiolas is cut and dry. Critics of the regime here at HT, at least those grounded in fact and not emotion, can comment on the failings of Castro-style socialism with complete serenity.

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