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"Pieces of the Island"-An English Translation
There have been times where I have heard some Cubans talk about the situation which their country is going through. I have heard the conversations on both shores of the Diaspora- and, unfortunately, I have sometimes heard negative phrases describing “the ones over there”, “the other ones”, “those who left”, “and those that are not the same as us”. And that is how they further stretch out an invisible line which divides an entire country; a country which was initially divided by a corrupt, insolent, and violent government, which feeds upon such divisions. I believe that this way of looking at our situation is like a poison that consumes some minds, but not of the majority.
This blog intends to be a collection of Cuban stories; past stories and present stories. They are voices, first spoken and later typed down, which narrate the pain and passion of an entire country- the country of Cuba. I don’t consider this blog to specifically be “political”, but if making reference to all the horrors which have been committed by the castro-communist government against their own people, and of all the human rights violations that have occurred in Cuba and still continue to occur to this day classify this blog as “political”, then so be it. But it will also be cultural, musical, social, etc.
I am the son of Cuban exiles and with this blog I intend to capture all those stories which my parents and grandparents have lived through. I’m not a journalist, and I don’t consider myself to be an intellectual. I only seek to place these stories, which come from both sides of the shores and from different periods, side by side, because I strongly believe that they are all part of the same struggle, though in a different epoch. They will be stories of those who sacrificed their youths and challenged, with weapons or with words (but overall with much passion), totalitarianism. And it will also be the story of those who currently risk their lives to say, do, and write what they really think without fearing the consequences.
Cuba has a lot to tell. That is why we will try to publish her story through Cuban voices, but there will also be voices that are not Cuban but that have had the desire to discover the reality of that Caribbean island. We will post such stories here, along with other fruits of Cuban culture- its music, its laughter, and its people, while never ignoring the deep pain which continues existing at the bottom of the soul of each Cuban. Here, Cubans will be able to talk about their personal experiences, and this space will also serve to teach those who are not Cuban about our reality. We won’t continue talking about divisions here. In the same token, friends from other parts of the world are also welcome. From time to time we will talk about sister nations which are going through similar problems as Cuba. If you, the reader, would like to contribute with a story or piece of information, feel free to contact us.
I will try to capture these stories the best way possible, and it will reflect what I consider to be Cuba. The inseparable family, the grandmother who shares her stories, with many details and lots of love, to her grandchildren, the fighter who gave his life in the Escambray Mountains, the guaracha, mambo, and son bands, the noche buenas, all those who continue rotting, physically, in jails just for thinking differently and freely, those who live exiled and continue thinking about the strong pain of having lost their relatives and homeland, those who use their own bodies as a means of protest to ask for some tolerance, those who are beaten and yet continue marching onward with much valor, the poetry of Marti, the legacy of the Mambi, 8th street, the Prado Avenue, Versailles restaurant, he/she who stares, from the 90 miles marker in Florida, out to the ocean towards everything they have left behind, and he/she who sits at the Malecon looking out to the horizon of freedom, they are all pieces which are scattered just about everywhere, from Miami to Havana and throughout the rest of the world, we are all Pieces of the Island.
Raul Garcia Jr.