A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
I don’t think it’s elegant or attractive to make up personal stories. I think that everyone’s life is their own and private, and if it is ever told, it should be told by others. I don’t know, then, why I’m writing this commentary. Am I getting old? Is it nostalgia for another time? Or do I feel very satisfied with what I did during one stage of my life and I want to talk about it?
At the end of the 1980s, I wrote articles for various publications in Latin America. The Prensa Libre of Costa Rica and the Nuevo Diario of the Dominican Republic were my favorites, and I sent my weekly comments to those media outlets. I never suffered any censorship. It was published just as I sent it, not one comma would be changed. It was not easy to write from abroad to be read in other countries, considering that it was for different idiosyncrasies, ways of thinking and points of view that I sent my opinions. I have to confess, without fear of being pedantic, that I was very well-received by those readers who had few interests in common with me.
Already in 1989, and due to the beginning of the collapse of the socialist camp in Europe, the media in Miami began to open up to me. I began writing articles frequently in El Nuevo Herald of Miami, and was a frequent guest on local television and radio talk shows.
Since the troglodytes of the anti-Cuban right in this city were sure that the fall of the revolutionary government of Cuba was imminent, they dared to give a voice to people who thought differently. At that time, I became an integral part of a daily television program called Debate, where I shared space with two journalists who thought differently from me and always, in addition, with the participation of guests from the far right, who wanted to measure strength with me. Once again, without wanting to be pedantic again, they would come for wool and come out shorn.
In that program, I debated with the cream of the Miami right: heads of counterrevolutionary organizations, “vertical fighters” and coffee and milk leaders were my different opponents. Of course, the two journalists who accompanied me on the show were also my opponents.
When the USSR collapsed, I stopped participating in the program. The real reason was because I got tired of having to wear a necktie every day to go argue with idiots.
Although I was invited regularly to different spaces like this throughout that decade and half of the next, the atmosphere was no longer pleasant. I was increasingly tense and hostile, the more the threats, the more violent the attacks, not only from the directors of those programs but also from the public to whom they opened the phone lines to insult me. Actually, I had enough intelligence, cunning and patience to get around the insults, which, as the saying goes, came in one ear and came out the other; that is, they slipped out the other, for, as is commonly said, to foolish words, deaf ears.
But to continue participating in those media brought with it an enormous sacrifice. In order to defend myself correctly from those verbal attacks, I had to pay attention to what they said on the other programs. I had to hear them every day. I didn’t care about personal offenses, but having to tune in to them was a different matter. The time came when it was like self-flagellating or digesting vomit just for the sake of vomiting.
I remember that when the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, resigned as President of the Council of State due to health problems, I sent a note to Cubadebate wishing the Commander a speedy recovery. A few days later I was invited to a TV show and they read the note I had sent as if I were being caught in the crowd. I remember telling the director of that program and the journalist who was with her that she not only wanted Fidel to recover from his illness, but also wanted him to return to his post soon.
I have always said, written and done what I believed, I have always been consistent with what I thought.
I was a teenager during Batista’s time, not ten years old when Fulgencio entered Camp Columbia with his gorillas. I did everything I could against him. When after, 1959 I disagreed with some revolutionary measures, I opposed them and left Cuba.
When my homeland was left alone due to the disappearance of the Soviet Union, I began to travel to the island regularly and had the opportunity to meet three or four times with Fidel, a man I always respected and of whom I always publicly affirmed in Miami that he was the island’s best and most faithful defender.