A New Book at the Best Time

The Spanish publisher Hypermedia just released The Other Cuba (La otra Cuba), available in digital format for free for Cubans through the website of this institution. Gradually it will also incorporate to the independent libraries of our country.

In its two hundred pages, the book collects ten reports prepared by an equal number of Cuban journalists, who are winners and finalists of the 2015 awards of the aforementioned publisher. As might be expected, these authors write from an alternative perspective to the official press optics, which without interruption is maintained under control of the Cuban Communist Party.

Hypermedia / La otra Cuba
Hypermedia / La otra Cuba

Simply review the titles of the seven finalists and top three for finding not only a wealth of nostalgia, but also various references to a country that disappeared, one more than this marginalization and of certain, impossible claims of silence: Bagá, laziness and solitude (Bagá, la desidia y la soledad, Mario L. Marrero Caballero); To New Vegas Slum (Camino a Vegas Nuevas, un barrio marginado, Rolando Ferrer); Cuba. Neighborhood theaters, 3D rooms and more (Cuba. Cines de barrio, salas 3D y algo más , Mercedes Borges); 56 Years of Decline (56 años de retroceso, Yelky Puig Rodríguez); Search in the Gardens of the Queen (Búsqueda en los Jardines de la Reyna, Juan J. Gómez Leyva); Traveler, the last cayuca of Toa (Viajera, la última cayuca del Toa, Judith Llanio); y Caibarién yesterday, today, and tomorrow? (Caibarién ayer, hoy ¿y mañana?, Pedro Manuel González).

The winners, also deal with crucial issues since their titles of the current Cuba, namely: A week without work (Una semana sin trabajar, Vicente Morín Aguado); The “fighters” of Aguila Street (Las ‘luchadoras’ de la calle Águila, Orlando Freire Santana); and The Syndrome of shop windows (El síndrome del mirador de vidrieras, Alberto Méndez Castelló).

It is hard to find in other circumstances 200 pages offering ten unusual views outside of the national reality of control and prejudice that accompany other Cuban publications. Freire Santana addresses the stark prostitution trying to hide, Méndez Castelló moves us closer to the double standard phrasing in the official politic and its opposite in reality, and Morín Aguado recreates a kind of testimonial literature of why the Cubans do not feel motivated to and by their work.

In this respect, the winner of the competition of Hypermedia reports 2015 detailed: “Waiting for Obama, it is worth while that people are with themselves, out of fear or complications that bind them, fomented by an apparatus of government propaganda dedicated to eternalizing the past and avoiding any frank discussion about our reality”.

For those who are interested: Amazon, the largest distributor of digital books in the world, offers in its catalog The Other Cuba, even available to Cubans through WIFI or any other internet connection. It is also possible to get the digital copy in the independent libraries by directly contacting their managers.

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