The Online Family of ‘Joven Cuba’

Erasmo Calzadilla

Concordia Bridge in Matanzas, Cuba. Photo:

It took Ted — a “yuma” (an American) — to tell me about a project that has been underway for more than a year at the University of Matanzas.  Last night, when I had only two wake neurons left, with both nodding off, I opened an e-mail from some of the students in the “city of bridges” that shook me back awake for the short time that remained until dawn.

The section of comments from the blog La Joven Cuba is celebration and confrontation, as amusing as it is animated.  With so much daily contact, the commentators relate to each other as if they were a family; and like all self-respecting families here, they spend 99.99 percent of the time arguing over what has to do with the question of the millions: What’s better, socialism or capitalism?

Prevailing in numbers and quality (in my opinion) are the detractors of “socialism.”  I put that in quotation marks because actually they’re critics of the Cuban regime, something that cannot truly be called socialist in good faith.

In the red corner stands out one person who calls himself “Tatu.”  His specialty is to flip the tortilla in search of relief from all the burning questions posed by those on the other side of the debate.  He does this while seemingly being constantly cornered, though from time to time he’ll toss an irrefutable argument on the table.

On the other team, I found myself hooked by “Elvicepresidente.”  What a brilliant guy!  And what a rich way of using Cuban slang!  Nevertheless El Vice gives me the impression that he really doesn’t want to discuss things; he wants to show that he’s right.  Deep down he loves to fight with the stubborn Tatu, because he is of the same mindset.

For a moment I yearned for a troop of active commentators like that in Havana Times, but then I wasn’t so sure.  The problem is that the “family” is immersed in their brawling, and the dust they kick up prevents them from seeing another Cuba.

But it doesn’t matter.  One day I’ll appear among them and I’ll invite them here to comment.  It terrifies me to have the eyes of those caustic and know-it-all hardheads on me, but in the end public life is like that.  That’s what I’ve learned.

One thought on “The Online Family of ‘Joven Cuba’

  • Thanks for telling us about their site; despite my limited Spanish, I read several articles and responses with interest. Seems like these sites are sprouting up all over; some offering food for thought, others “empty calories.” Joven Cuba is definitely amongst the former!

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