Thursday, July 26, 2007

Going home again

Uva de Aragon wrote a tender and instructive essay in yesterday’s Diario las Americas, one of a series about her return to Havana in 1999.

It’s worth reading for its beauty and as a window into her experience. It’s so personal that I hesitate to make political comments about it.

But I’ll do so anyway.

It’s easy for people on my side of the Cuba policy debate to score points against those on the other side by pointing out that they don’t go to Cuba. And it’s certainly a fact that if you don’t travel there, you miss so much of the reality that is relevant to every issue we Americans examine as we debate our approaches to Cuba as a foreign policy challenge.

But this essay goes deeper than that. The separation suffered by so many Cubans is felt not just by those who left, but by those who watched them go. It can be broken. And the end of separation at a personal level can lead to thoughts, as this essay concludes, of “reconciliation with our country, which is much, much more than the government, the state, the Revolution.”


Anonymous said...

"It’s easy for people on my side of the Cuba policy debate to score points against those on the other side by pointing out that they don’t go to Cuba."

It is? Did you ever think that there may be plenty of people on the other "side" that would go but are DENIED PERMISSION???? Did you ever think that some on the other "side" are afraid for their personal security if they went precisely to look at things the regime would rather you not???

You have no special standing because you are ALLOWED to travel to Cuba. In fact, that you are an American ALLOWED to travel to Cuba harms your advocacy rather than helps it.

Mambi_Watch said...

It's a good point, but, Anonymous, you might be reading too much into what Peters wrote.

I feel that any person who has personally experienced a particular environment, that others may not have access to, have more legitimacy in describing such a place rather than those who have not. Their words definitely carry more weight.

Uva de Aragon is an excellent writer, and her personal essays are beautifully written. I attended one of her presentations at the Florida International University (where she works) when she showed slides of her trip back to Cuba after 20 some years. It was eye opening.

In the Q and A session afterwards a woman asked Uva if its true that Cuba is basically destroyed. This is vision that many here in Miami have of Cuba: a land destroyed from top to bottom that must be entirely fixed.

Uva responded with a "no". She said that some parts of Cuba are obviously in disrepair, but that generally (from her trip) Cuba is not thoroughly destroyed.

Uva de Aragon is ignored by Miami's Cuban hard-liners. She's never mentioned on Radio Mambi or other Spanish radio stations, or even TV. She's a brilliant writer, whose valuable work is being almost totally ignored by this city.