Writing Freely, a Commitment
by Pablo Pacheco Avila
I remember the day when my friend and colleague Ivan Garcia suggested I open a blog from prison. Unmasking the penitentiary system on the island from within its insides was the goal, despite all the limitations attached with being imprisoned.
And that’s how “Voices Behind the Bars” was born and I began to travel down a path together with Pedro Arguelles Moran, Felix Navarro Rodriguez, Adolfo Fernandez Sainz, and Diosdado Gonzalez Marrero while in prison. We were unconditionally helped along this path by Ivan Garcia, Claudia Cadelo, Ciro Javier Diaz, Reinaldo Escobar, Yoani Sanchez, Eugenio Leal, his wife, and a few other friends outside of Cuba, some of which I still have not personally met. It was a network of help motivated by solidarity and love for Cuba.
The blog “Voices Behind the Bars” became the voice of those who have no voice in Cuba- prisoners.
Upon my arrival to Spain, another stage of my life had begun, and it has also been difficult. My land is physically missing but it is very present in my memory, a fact that has produced much pain for me. My duty and desire to write and to do something for my country led me to open “Cuban Voices from Exile”. My brother-in-cause who has also suffered under the hatred and intolerance of the Cuban dictatorship, Jose Luis Garcia Paneque, has accompanied me on this blog.
Little by little we have been winning some space with our readers, many of whom are regulars, and who share their comments with us, enriching the blog with their free ideas and with lots of respect.
As soon as I turned on my computer today, I saw that I had some pleasant news from my friend Lily Peraza. She told me that “Cuban Voices from Exile” had won one of the 2011 Mandala Communication Awards. Just a few minutes after, one of the directors of this committee, Josan Caballero, confirmed the details with me.
From here, I wish to send my congratulations to all the winners and nominees. Any one of them could have also taken home the prize. This award signifies a compromise with my readers and my compromise with the freedom of Cuba. My permanent dream is that forums such as these can help spread winds of freedom to the enslaved island, as well as dreaming that one of these days our people can read blogs such as these without restrictions, persecutions, or harassments.