Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Shameless Self Promotion - El Yuma in CubaNews

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd one day be featured as the centerfold for the month of January!

Miracles, it seems, do happen. The January issue of CubaNews, one of the leading sources of balanced business, cultural, and political information about Cuba, has a very flattering profile of El Yuma in its pages.

I only have two complaints:

First, while the kick off quote, "do nothing at all," accurately captures my words, my larger point was to draw a distinction between what individual American citizens could or should do to support the Cuban people (publicize, celebrate, donate, etc.), while arguing that the U.S. government should "get out of the way."

In using these words, "do nothing at all," I was actually quoting the lay Catholic leader, Dagoberto Valdes, who told the then Chief of the U.S. Interests Section, Joseph Sullivan, back in the mid-1990s, "If you really want to help us, I ask that you not help us at all." Valdes was responding to Sullivan's excitement when he visited the headquarters of Valdes' Vitral magazine in Pinar del Rio and asked, "This is just the kind of independent, critical voice we want to promote in Cuba. How can we help?"

My other complaint is even more serious: "Wow my head looks BIG in that photo!" But I guess I can't blame the photographer. Remember, if you don't like the message, don't blame the messenger.

This month's CubaNews also features a great analysis by Tracey Eaton of the recent crackdown on the countercultural poetry and performance group Omni-Zona Franca. In the article, Eaton interviews the French anthropologist Marie Laure Geoffray as well as Cuban political scientist Armando Chaguaceda, both of whom have studied (and participated in) some of these alternative, grass-roots youth movements firsthand.

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