Fleeing from Wise Monkeys / Ivan Garcia
Ivan Garcia, Translator: Unstated
I am not given to interviews. Nor do I like them. Ninety percent of the
time I turn down requests for them. A journalist's role is to question,
investigate, analyze and write. What I like about print journalism is
the anonymity. Information, news, reporting or chronicling are what
matter. Not the author.
I am caught between two currents. Government media outlets have accused
me of being "counterrevolutionary." Just like that, nothing more. I have
never visited the United States Interest Section in Havana and I do not
connect to the internet at an embassy. I swear it is not because of some
neurosis. It is that I am disgusted by diplomats' tendency towards flattery.
I pay 15 CUC out of my own pocket for two hours of time and once a week
I go online from a Havana hotel. My first priority is to send my
dispatches and, if time permits, I read online journals in Spanish and
copy some texts, usually sports stories and world news.
The internet connection in Cuba is slow and the minutes remaining do not
leave enough time to read emails or to visit Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin.
I would like to be able to read more blogs by renowned journalists from
major media outlets directly, but I have to make do with links my mother
sends to my email address. Once a week I copy them on USB's, and later
calmly open and read the articles on my laptop at home.
A news story captures the reality of the person writing it. No matter
how much one may try to be balanced and objective, the article always
somewhat reflects the journalist's views.
I flee from wise monkeys, those whose egos are so big they often keep
two beds in their rooms—one for themselves and one for their egos. No
blog can completely capture the complex Cuban experience.
There are hookers, male prostitutes and gays disgusted by the economic
inefficiency of the government. There are also people who believe in
socialism and are confident that Raúl Castro's reforms will work.
Whatever beliefs one has, they should not be an impediment to dialog and
the possibility of building bridges.
I like to write about losers. Or winners who are about to become losers.
We are all Cubans. We do not all have to think the same way, nor should
we. That would be very boring. When the government understands that it
cannot govern only for the benefit its supporters, it will grow strong.
Some accuse me of being very critical of the dissidents. Once I
described them as "banana dissidents," which made me a countless number
of "enemies." They did not shoot me because they couldn't. Instead they
chose to accuse me of being a "security agent" and other such nonsense.
For its part the government writes me off as a "mercenary." This is the
price one pays for having one's own standards. I am a bothersome journalist.
But I do not see why people who think differently cannot have a civil
discussion. We must stop gritting our teeth and clenching our fists and
learn how to accept our differences. It is very easy to accuse and
defame. It would be healthy to erase all these human miseries and
The future of Cuba will be decided in ten years time. Perhaps less. All
Cubans, whatever our beliefs, should put forth our best efforts to
change and improve society. When we learn to say "I do not agree with
you" instead of the more typical "you are mistaken," we will grow as a
September 26 2012