Writing for Havana Times without a Computer

Regina Cano

After the rain.  Photo: Mariese Cestari Paulo
After the rain. Photo: Mariese Cestari Paulo

HAVANA TIMES — Well folks, as the title suggests, not having a laptop for the many things I used to do with it is slowly becoming something difficult to bear. This development has flipped my world upside down and left me hanging head down. It sounds crazy that someone should write for an online publication and not have the means to do so.

It may sound melodramatic, but it is anything but a sob-story. It is the story of how I am looking for ways to overcome my limitations in order to meet my commitments, after several appliances at home, including my beloved laptop, broke down in one of those so-called “bad streaks.” Both my laptop and my camera seem to be beyond repair at the moment.

As of that instance, I began wandering around the city asking for favors from friends, who put aside what they were doing to lend me a few hours of work before their computers.

At first – like all good Cubans – most said to me: “Of course, girl, come on over, you’ll solve your problems in no time, you’ll see…” But, folks, like anything spread out over a long period of time, things have gradually changed and, as you can probably understand, everyone has their own, tight agendas (both domestic and professional) to be able to make ends meet.

The worst part of this has been almost losing two friends who feel threatened by the official media campaigns, the effect of which is the silencing of citizens to the point that people prefer to give up friendships over speaking clearly about their fears, as they feel they could lose the small umbrella of protection they hold above them.

This brings to mind the regrettable situation in which people ceased communicating with relatives who had left the country because of their ideology.

I don’t feel I have the right to criticize the behavior of these two people, for, first of all, I understand the scope of this type of threat (which is projected in every direction). It makes people assume a hypocritical attitude and obliges them to be neutral on issues they are privately critical of. It also reveals the weakness of those individuals who do not want to be censored, repressed or in any way affected for maintaining a relationship with someone who writes for an online publication, or for enabling them, thinking it can only bring them problems.

There are official places where someone can use a computer that I’ve used. The closest computer club offers me the use of a computer for two hours a day. There’s also a public library, where the computer takes three hours to scan an 8 Gb USB drive.

Luckily for me, the rest of my friends continue to offer me their help. Thanks to them, I am able to sustain a number of my projects.