by Eva Gonzalez, Havana
Last May 7th, at the same time that the Ortega y Gasset awards were being presented in Spain, we were also having a party here in Havana. The fact that Yoani Sánchez–justly honored for her blog, but unjustly and arbitrarily prohibited from leaving Cuba by the authorities–couldn’t be present to receive her award at the big ceremony in Madrid didn’t prevent her friends from getting together with her to celebrate in a joyful “informal ceremony” that was, moreover, a meeting of individuals united in their determination to open up civic spaces in Cuban society.
There Yoani read the words that she would have pronounced at the official ceremony, a very brief statement, intelligent and sincere like Yoani herself. And we congratulated ourselves for this recognition of her efforts, in spite of the absurd prohibition. There were also jokes, laughs, empathy, and many plans made between those who are working on desdecuba.com, and our Pinareño friends from the magazine Convivencia, which is headed by Dagoberto Valdés. Other friends were with us at this beautiful Havana afternoon. It was a luminous afternoon and joyful for all, because we knew that the light is carried within, and is immune to whatever switches the government might wish to flick to put us out.
May 8, 2008