This is the third issue of La Rosa Blanca, you have to walk a lot in order to publish it, and walk even more to deliver it in a country mute and without internet. Every issue of La Rosa Blanca, which I’ll post in this blog as I’ve done before, since I don’t have any effective way to post it someplace else, is the sum of a few eventful trips to collaborators’ houses and loyal readers.
This magazine is also the end of many trips. In the province of Las Tunas, up north, I meet Christian essayist Frank Folgueira at his house, a stubborn historian focused on the history of another one of the towns – Manatí, which is also my birthplace – hit by the plague that is just ending. As if it were a national affliction, in Encrucijada de Villa Clara, in an old high roof wooden house from before the revolution, I meet Gabriel Barrenechea, suffocated by the gray vigilant atmosphere of his village, writing his stories and copious economics and political essays by hand.
Havana… and fourteen long flights of stairs to reach the apartment of two friendly Cubans, Yoani and Reinaldo, because La Rosa Blanca publishes some articles from Generation Y, which needs from channels like this one to be read in Cuba. Afterwards, down Tulipán street, we turn and continue for a couple of streets, in Nuevo Vedado, and underground – and under the sea which floods this island – we meet Rafael Alcides who breaks his self-imposed silence to offer us a few articles of unheard of tidiness.
A bit farther away, where Vedado and Downtown Havana meet, Yoss delivers dozens of writings of every kind, but always weighing more towards fantasy and science fiction, giving a breath of fresh air to the seriousness that national reality imposes on the magazine. I come back to Camagüey, and go to the only house where everything is discussed, freely and thoroughly, located in Agramonte, and I meet with the intellectual Rafael Almanza going through one of the thousands of pieces that make up his work.
Maybe, instead of coming back to Camagüey, I go from Havana to Pinar del Rio, where Dagoberto Valdés and Karina, Virgilio, Jesuhadín, Néstor, Servando and the others patiently try to inculcate a culture of tolerance in all Cubans. Or I’ll go to Bayamo, where my friend Ernesto Morales, who’s been just expelled from his post working as an official journalist – he’s finally managed to get that badge of recognition of his honesty and bravery – writes and blogs in the tense and isolated environment of the eastern provinces; or maybe to visit Elia, in Las Tunas, in search of Carlos Esquivel’s poems, a miraculous writer who has resisted the temptation of the big cities, and refuses to leave his indolent land.
From the work of all of them, and many others, comes La Rosa Blanca, which will later spread from computer to computer, from memory to memory, and even through old three and a half inch floppy disks, with the same silent fragility which characterizes its making. Here it is.
Translated by: Xavier Noguer