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Regina Coyula

Regina Coyula, 16 March 2018 — (Text published in the bulletin of the 2018 Internet Freedom Festival) Cell phones have been used commercially in the world since 1995, but we Cubans couldn’t have our own cell phones until 2009. Internet access through prepaid cards in public places dates from 2015. In Cuba, the year 2017 … Continue reading "Internet from the Shore / Regina Coyula" Continue reading
Regina Coyula, 16 January 2018 — During the World Internet Governance Forum held in Geneva at the end of December 2017, my curiosity was raised that the word most mentioned in the different forums was “data.” The term Big Data has been increasingly pervasive among the multiple stakeholders in Internet Governance. Since the English mathematician Clive Dumby, … Continue reading "The Eye: Data / Regina Coyula" Continue reading
Regina Coyula, 8 December 2017 — According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), intellectual property is “any property that, by mutual agreement, is considered to be of an intellectual nature and worthy of protection, including scientific and technological inventions, literary or artistic productions, trademarks and distinctive signs, industrial designs and geographical indications.” The protection umbrella covers both the most … Continue reading "Intellectual Property in Cuba: Reprint, Reeducate, Reinsert, Rethink / Regina Coyula" Continue reading
Regina Coyula, 25 April 2017 — I had thought of writing about the first impressions that Bogota has left me, impressions deepened by the contrast of a people so warm that they do not seem to carry the burden of six decades of violence. I had thought of writing about a city dominated by churches … Continue reading "A Debt to Bogota / Regina Coyula" Continue reading
14ymedio, Regina Coyula, Havana, 15 November 2017 — A more inclusive air can be breathed in the corridors of Performing Arts of the Ministry of Culture. Or at least I thought that was the case when they told me that an article written by me about Departures, a work by the company El Ciervo Encantado (The Enchanted Deer), … Continue reading "The Fear of ’14ymedio’" Continue reading
14ymedio, Havana, 14 November 2017 — A scandal is shaking up the National Council of Performing Arts (CNAE) a few days after the end of the 17th edition of the Havana Theater Festival. The publication in the festival catalog of an excerpt from a review of the event that appeared in 14ymedio has caused three employees of the … Continue reading "Three Cuban Cultural Promoters Fired For Publishing a Review From ’14ymedio’ in an Official Catalog" Continue reading
Regina Coyula (Report from the Ooni Team) — Last May, members of the Open Observatory of the Network Interference Project (Ooni), traveled to Cuba and performed a series of tests measuring the performance of the internet at eight connection points in Havana, Santa Clara and Santiago de Cuba, with the goal of measuring the censorship … Continue reading "Measuring Internet Censorship in Cuba / Regina Coyula" Continue reading
Regina Coyula, 26 September 2017 — It is an era of false news and Líber Barrueta, a Cuban-Swede based in Miami has a website of this fake news where he sarcastically refers to the way the press tackles the news. But neither the construction of an underground transport system in Havana, nor Tony Castro talking about the … Continue reading "One Site, Many Voices (or How the Hurricane Was Followed from Social Networks) / Regina Coyula" Continue reading
14ymedio, Regina Coyula, Havana, 1 August 2017 — I should be in Panama right now. But on July 31, when I showed up at the desk at José Martí International Airport, I was shown to an office where an Immigration officer informed me that I could not travel because I was “regulated.” The word has unpleasant connotations … Continue reading "Avatars Of A “Regulated” Person" Continue reading
Jorge Enrique Lage interviews Miguel Coyula (extracts) 6 [Miguel speaking]… I am against censorship, as we’ve seen what happened with that film in the Havana Film Festival in New York; it spreads beyond the geographical limits of the island for extra-artistic interests. I mean, politics touches everything. The worsening of the position goes back to … Continue reading "Censorship / Regina Coyula" Continue reading
Jorge Enrique Lage interview with Miguel Coyula (fragments) 2 Miguel Coyula: [… the cinema where I first encountered anime.] [… like the video games of the late eighties and early nineties, the anime of that time had no big budgets for a fluid animation at twenty-four frames per second, Disney-style. Then they went to a visual … Continue reading "Anime Animates Coyula / Regina Coyula" Continue reading
Sadly, the above video is not subtitled, but whether or not you understand the words, you can observe Miguel Coyula and Rafael Alcides speaking. Jorge Enrique Lage interview with Miguel Coyula (fragments) 3 Miguel Coyula: … And it’s [Rafael] Alcides for several reasons. First, because in my opinion he is the best Cuban poet alive. Pata de palo, Agradecido … Continue reading "Counterrevolutionary or Communist / Regina Coyula" Continue reading
Jorge Enrique Lage interview with Miguel Coyula (fragments) 7 Miguel Coyula: So after editing it in Miami [the novel Red Sea, Blue Sea] I sent it out to Union Publishers and also ICAIC Publishers, but this is already four years ago. The universe of this novel, post-apocalyptic, with genetic manipulation, strongly influenced by the science-fiction … Continue reading "Perverse Uchronia* / Regina Coyula" Continue reading
14ymedio, Havana, 27 June 2017 – Cuban authorities blocked at least seven activists from traveling to Cancun, Mexico this Monday, to participate in the 4th Forum on Roads to a Democratic Cuba, a meeting of the United Democratic Action Roundtable (MUAD) organized by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS), according to blogger Regina Coyula speaking to … Continue reading "Cuban Authorities Block Seven Activists From Traveling to Mexico for Democracy Action Meeting" Continue reading
From Regina Coyula’s blog, 9 June 2017 (Ed. note: These interview fragments are being translated out of order by volunteers. When they are all done we will assemble them in order into one post.) Jorge Enrique Lage interview with Miguel Coyula (Intro) 1 The country was falling to pieces, there were people drowning in … Continue reading "From Joystick to Canon / Regina Coyula" Continue reading
Regina Coyula, 14 June 2017– Jorge Enrique Lage interviews Miguel Coyula (excerpts) 4 … at many times during the interview, Alcides interrupted himself and began to speak to Fidel as if he were right in front of him. It’s something one saw a lot in our parents’ generation: bothered by something Fidel was saying on TV … Continue reading "Citizen Kastro-Citizen Alcides / Regina Coyula" Continue reading
Regina Coyula, 7 February 2017 — Today is the worldwide observance of Safer Internet Day. Best practices should guide navigation for the benefit of the user; thus, she would never have the sour sensation that her Facebook page has been taken down for having undesirable content or that he has lost access to his email account containing … Continue reading "#SaferInternetDay / Regina Coyula" Continue reading
Regina Coyula, 17 February 2017 — The long laissez faire of the government with the “if you behave well, I look the other way” has given birth to a generation (just one?) of the cheerfully shameless, known generically as “fighters.” The nice denomination that began by being applied a few, no longer has color, sex or occupation. The … Continue reading "Embezzlement Today / Regina Coyula" Continue reading
14ymedio, Regina Coyula, Havana, 27 February 2017 — From the beginning you feel that something is missing, you shift awkwardly in the seat in the small room at The Enchanted Deer, although you want to seem calm. After a long version of Amazing Grace, you will be detached enough to take in what follows. The … Continue reading "The Cuban Exile in Havana / 14ymedio, Regina Coyula" Continue reading
14ymedio, Regina Coyula, Havana, 14 February 2017 – This last weekend colorful festivities marked the 6th National Harley Davidson Meeting in Varadero in Cuba’s Matanzas province. Lovers of these powerful and visually attractive motorcycles attracted the curiosity of many tourists who were surprised by the peculiarity of the event. Sponsored by the Cuban section of … Continue reading "World’s Harley-Lovers Gather in Varadero / 14ymedio, Regina Coyula" Continue reading
Regina Coyula, 30 January 2017 — In 1988 the Holguin poet Delfín Prats won the critic’s prize with his poetry collection “To Celebrate the Rise of Icarus,” and a friend of that time who didn’t want to see his name on my blog, on the night of the award ceremony brought Delfín to my house. It … Continue reading "With Regards to ‘Santa and Andres’* / Regina Coyula" Continue reading
Regina Coyula, 20 January 2017 — I was asked for this by a press agency, and they didn’t publish it. Then came the official reaction and we couldn’t have much time without his image. It’s like what a wise lady said in line at the pharmacy, “It would be preferable that the (National) Assembly approved … Continue reading "Three Days Without Fidel / Regina Coyula" Continue reading
14ymedio, Regina Coyula, 8 December 2016 — A novice in Mexico and a novice in the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). The city surprised me because I had attributed to it a rural character it does not have. Zapopan and Guadalajara, to the eyes of a stranger, are a single city; one city with the equivalent … Continue reading "Impressions of a Novice (Part 1) / 14ymedio, Regina Coyula" Continue reading
Regina Coyula, 7 November 2016 — The leaks of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s emails and those of her campaign chief have revived a debate that began with evidence that the National Security Agency (NSA) was spying on communications, with both national and foreign politicians suspected. But the NSA is not the only one, nor is … Continue reading "The Cybernaut and Digital Security / Regina Coyula" Continue reading
Regina Coyula, 20 October 2016 — It is said that the choice of the word “embargo” or “blockade” to define the US policy toward Cuba, clarifies the position of the speaker-writer. Those who speak of the “blockade” are not better Cubans than those who call it the “embargo” (although they believe themselves to be). It … Continue reading "Goodwill / Regina Coyula" Continue reading
Regina Coyula, 3 October 2016 — A powerful flamboyán tree, in English often called a flame tree, dominates the entrance to my house, more beautiful at this time of year with its explosion of fire, which also provides shade and spreads its colorful petals across the ground. But two of my neighbors don’t see it … Continue reading "The Flame Tree of Discord / Regina Coyula" Continue reading
Ideas shared at the Internet Governance Forum events of the Internet Society of Latin America and the Caribbean, which recently took place in Costa Rica. Regina Coyula, 5 August 2016 — Now recognised as a human right by most people and most governments, internet access in Cuba has been a bumpy road. Cuba connected to the … Continue reading "Between Analogue and Ideologue. Internet Access in Cuba / Regina Coyula" Continue reading
Regina Coyula, Havana, 26 July 2016 — ¿Gover… what? That reaction has become increasingly familiar in a conversation discussing internet governance. Although many users who take advantage of it aren’t aware, governance is a fundamental issue for everyone when we venture out onto the World Wide Web. That our family email travels equally with the statistics of … Continue reading "Cuban Civil Society, For The First Time Present In The Regional Internet Governance Forum / 14ymedio, Regina Coyula" Continue reading
Regina Coyula, 30 June 2016 — For Cubans who update their home entertainment weekly with the now famous, private and anonymous Paquete (Weekly Packet), they are familiar with a subtitle in bright, greenish-yellow letters at the beginning of the movies. This inevitable “” which comes up so much, piqued my curiosity. It was impossible for me … Continue reading "Domain Names and an Internet Debate / Regina Coyula" Continue reading
14ymedio, Regina Coyula, 28 June 2016 – Unless it’s for a purchase of contraceptives, the pharmacy generally comes through when someone nearby is ill or is being treated for a chronic illness. The pharmacies themselves do not raise one’s spirits. Many are poorly lit or poorly ventilated or in need of paint or all of the … Continue reading "Manual For How To Buy Drugs At A Neighborhood Pharmacy / 14ymedio, Regina Coyula" Continue reading
14ymedio, Regina Coyula, Havana, 25 May 2016 — For Cubans who update their domestic entertainment weekly with the now famous, private and anonymous “Weekly Packet,” a subtitle in bright greenish-yellow letters at the beginning of movies has become familiar. It is the ever present, which appears so frequently that it spurred my curiosity: I found … Continue reading "Internet Domains, Sovereignty And Freedom / 14ymedio, Regina Coyula" Continue reading
We observe a man who always speaks of patriotism and he is never patriotic, or only with regards to those of a certain class or certain party. We should fear him, because no one shows more faithfulness nor speaks more strongly against robbery than the thieves themselves. Felix Varela (in El Habanero, 1824) 14ymedio, Regina … Continue reading "Revolutions and Democracy / 14ymedio, Regina Coyula" Continue reading
14ymedio, Regina Coyula, Havana, 13 May 2016 — The municipality of Old Havana had its ancient underground water and electrical systems renovated last year. The streets were dug up to replace the pipes and wiring. Beyond the mess and the dust, these works have brought the residents two precious services, services without which it is unthinkable to … Continue reading "In the Dark / 14ymedio, Regina Coyula" Continue reading
27 April 2016 Continue reading
Regina Coyula, 25 April 2016 — The political police, who consider themselves such faithful followers of Jose Marti, know that with regards to the battles of thought, they’ve lost. Thus this weekend’s operation to prevent me from participating in a meeting in Pinar del Rio was unnecessary and ridiculous. Following is a report from the … Continue reading "My Absence at the Meeting / Regina Coyula" Continue reading
Regina Coyula, 4 May 2016 — The residents of 13th Street in Havana’s El Vedado neighborhood had quite a night on the eve of May Day, let’s say atypical. Near the intersection with Paseo, the gallent young people who would close the parade the following day camped out. According to the Secretary General of the … Continue reading "Trash and Condoms / Regina Coyula" Continue reading
This video is the 7th in a series of vignettes extracted from a four-hour interview of Rafael Alcides conducted by the filmmaker Miguel Coyula. Below are links to the previous Chapters. ‘Rafael Alcides’ Chapter 1: The Beautiful Things / Miguel Coyula ‘Rafael Alcides’ Chapter 2: Artists and Politicians / Miguel Coyula ‘Rafael Alcides’ Chapter 3: … Continue reading "Rafael Alcides, Chapter 7: The Stranger / Miguel Coyula" Continue reading

La Seguridad del Estado impidió a la abogada Laritza Diversent, la bloguera Regina Coyula y el articulista y colaborador de DIARIO DE CUBA Pedro Campos llegar a Pinar del Río para participar en un evento sobre el marco jurídico cubano actual, organizado por el proyecto independiente Convivencia.

Según la abogada Diversent, directora del proyecto Cubalex y quien iba a participar en el taller como ponente, varios agentes de la policía política se apostaron cerca de su vivienda y en calles aledañas para impedirle salir.

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Regina Coyula, 6 May 2015 — I have noticed that the old-time “conductor” has recently made a comeback on city buses (though the person driving them is still called the driver). Rather than using the fare box, passengers must now … Continue reading Continue reading
[caption id="attachment_39736" align="aligncenter" width="623"] [1] Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Americas during the Summit. (Summit of the Americas)[/caption] [2]14ymedio, Regina Coyula, Havana, 10 April 2105 – A clever strategy on the part of the Cuban government, with regards to the participation of the official civil society at the meeting associated with the Summit of the Americas, has been to present a delegation full of projects and good results from which they can look down on the newcomers from alternative civil society. Cuban Television’s coverage – where the word ‘coverage’ is more akin to ‘cover up’ – identifies the official delegation, however, with objectives anchored in the era of the Cold War. They arrived in Panama with a fierce spirit and clear directions to not recognize independent civil society and to silence as much as possible its participation in the forum. I don’t know if, after so much reading of the newspaper Granma, my granmar is so sharp that where others read patriotic indignation, I see lack of arguments; where they see maneuvers against Cuba, I interpret an intention to boycott the event. Once more I had to hear how shamelessly the representatives of the most rancid ruling party dominate the nation, and believe they have the right to deprive it of those who don’t think like them, but rather have free will; and they also deprive me as I don’t feel represented by any of their institutions. A special mention of the incident at the statue of José Martí [3]. We Cubans should definitely make our devotion to Martí a private matter and not a political wildcard, a moratorium should be established on the public use of Martí so as to be able to put him in his proper place. But aside from the buffeting this giant of a Cuban has been subjected to, I feel ashamed for others. A friend country hosts an event with global resonance and “our true civil society” choses every way possible to express their outrage through violence and rabble-rousing. Statements by some of the delegates of this civil society make it clear that they prefer dialogue with the "enemy of the North that despises us," over that with their next door neighbors in Cuba  Statements by some of the delegates of this civil society make it clear that they prefer dialog with “the enemy from the North that despises us,” over that with their next door neighbors in Cuba, with whom they may have profound differences with whom they share a territory and an identity card. I do not know how international public opinion will treat these painful events, but within our dis-informed country the result has been a success. To my neighbor Tomás, Cubans not included in the official delegation are nothing more than terrorists and mercenaries. Both repeat a lie until it becomes a truth for the purposes of propaganda, and great has been the use of both adjectives in the last three days. Nor do I believe that this escalation of insults will be the prelude to a kind of cultural revolution of the young Talibans, as a friend fearfully expressed to me. The Government doesn’t need experiments with more surprises than certainties. On writing these notes I don’t have the least idea how things are going indoors, but the image of the official Cuban delegation – and this is an impression formed exclusively by watching television – is one that even the most moderate international observers could confirm, with this presence in Panama of Cubans of a different nature, the lack of democracy in our country. [1] [2] [3] Continue reading
[1]14ymedio, Regina Coyula, Havana, 23 March 2015 -- Just try it. On the street, randomly ask: What is civil society? You’ll be lucky if you find any satisfactory answer and will have better luck if, unlike for me, more than one person even deigns to answer you. To speak of civil society in Cuba is like teaching new material in school. First the concepts, then, explain which is considered more successful according to the teacher’s vision. A meticulous educator looks for good examples. It is essential to mention the thesis of Alexis de Tocqueville of civil society as an intermediary between the individual and the State. Also interesting is Habermas’s approximation about individual rights that guarantee and foster free association. Like almost all social science concepts, we find different and even opposing views on the subject. Where the philosophers agree, regardless of their political affiliation or their religious creed, is that civil society exists and functions independently of the State, and in many cases as its counterpart. Only then, after talking about the subject enough so that the citizenry feels informed, can we speak of the role of civil society. It has still been less than a decade that the term civil society, along with its close relatives, human rights and non-governmental organizations, was either nonexistent or cursed in the Cuban press. But with the growth of alternative civil society, which is attacked and simplified, accused of following an agenda dictated by the enemy, has the issue seeped into the discourse of the official press. To public opinion, contaminated with the unhealthy idea, now trying to present as civil society organizations that, for the most part, are created and financed by the government itself. The upcoming Summit of the Americas will put to the test the ability of both – the civil society recognized by the government and the alternative one, unrecognized and derided – to show the continental community their projects and results. Since the constitution itself observes the difficulty of the alternation given that, according to Article 53, freedom of expression is only recognized in relation to the aims of socialist society. This article makes clear that the mass media are state or social property, and limits their use exclusively to working people and the interests of society. The government tries to know and represent the interests of Cuban society but, given the deterioration of social conditions, the boundaries become blurred between popular support for the authorities and the desire of citizens to try another formula. Only within a totalitarian context is it possible to control the discontent, deaf to discordant voices and to make practically impossible the legalization of an independent project. This lock is constitutionally established in Article 62, that doesn’t recognize the freedoms when they don’t fit with the aims of the socialist state and the decision of the Cuban people to build communism. I read Friday, in the newspaper Granma, the article “Our civil society.” I agree with some of the points of view of the journalist Sergio Alejandro Gomez. In effect, domination is not always applied by force or coercion and the powerful like to appropriate words and their meanings. However, I disagree with the manner in which the journalist resolves the current problem with civil society. The Cuban State represents the interests of the great majority (while it demonstrates the contrary), but this government has rejected the free associations established by Cuban citizens. It is clear that the heterogeneity of the Cuban Civil Society Forum is circumscribed to differences in matters of religion, gender equality, racial equality or sexual diversity. Immediately observable is the absence of a political opposition, It’s very fair that the above rights are recognized, because bad memory can’t omit the fact that minorities were also discriminated against in Cuba. But as long as political opinion and initiative outside the State are not present, civil society will be incomplete, and any democratic observer immediately perceives this anomaly. As pointed out by the Granma journalist, the society is not homogeneous. Homogeneity is not the personality of brothers brought up under the same roof. However, the Cuban state wants to achieve with these organizations of its civil society a symphony that supposedly affirms to the writer that this is a civil society unlike any other. [1] Continue reading
Regina Coyula, 16 March 2015 — Gender equality is a long road in a chauvinist society like ours. So much so that a law allowing persons of the same sex to marry has gotten nowhere in spite of the fact that its chief proponent is none other than the daughter of our general-president. This weekend I was listening to a panel of experts on television speaking about gender-specific language. They criticized the sexism prevalent in both language and law, and urged the eradication of the problem by, among other things, replacing the use of male-only articles and nouns with specific female and male forms when speaking in the plural.* I must be somewhat old-fashioned because, though I believe in equality, this strikes me as being completely superficial. It treats the problem as one of semantics rather than as a deeply ingrained psycho-social issue. It strikes me as being unimportant if we say “the boys and the girls.” What is important is that we stop playing this game in which roles are predetermined by sex. Nor do I think it is important to drag out a sentence just to say “the male and the female youths.” Rather, it is the chauvinist lyrics of reggaeton songs and videos that are troubling. I am bothered by the rather monotone quality of “the women and the men” but I feel a great sense of powerlessness when faced with the verbal and physical abuse that manifests itself on a daily basis in our society, especially when it hides behind and is exercised from a position of power. I would like to ask these female and male purists of equality if they believe the problem of form will remedy the problem of substance. Are these women and men so committed to be protectresses and protectors in their crusade that I will one day see girls and boys expressing their patriotism by altering a line from the national anthem and singing, “To the battle forthwith women and men of Bayamo?” *Translator’s note: In their plural form, Spanish nouns like la niña and el niño (the boy and the girl) become strictly masculine — los niños (the boys) — even when referring to a mixed group of boys and girls. Continue reading
[1]14ymedio, Regina Coyula, Havana, 16 March 2015 – I always heard Ricardo Alarcon repeat, during his time as President of the National Assembly of People’s Power, that the Cuban electoral system was the most democratic in the world. The truth is that the weighted advantages of this system not only have never been demonstrated, but it finds itself under challenge with the announcement of a new electoral law. Democracy is not only the government of the people and the enormous role of the citizenry in moving forward, to later discover that a Nominating Committee chosen by the Party or the Government has included a series of names which, not by coincidence, are the figures who lead the country. Democracy is also the aspiration for a good government of the people, and not this almost forty-year-old institutionalized formula in which the people are subject to the government and must carry out its will. Instead of a head of state-constituent relationship that is only practiced through voice and show of hand “debates,” what needs to be done is to submit a referendum to the ballot box. Cubans interested in politics are following the issue closely, because over the years the limitations of our electoral law – which restricts the right to vote of Cubans who live outside the Island – have become clear. In addition to the political fidelity of a candidate, people want to know his or her abilities and proposals to improve government management; and democracy also includes the right to elect via direct and secret vote the top leaders of the nation. These and other modifications are leading a process of discussion and approval that apparently will culminate in a new electoral law planned for 2018. As pointed out by civil society and the citizenry with regards to modifications of the electoral law, parts of the law need to be repealed and new measures need to be implemented, even with impacts on the Constitution; thus, in the upcoming April elections, nothing new will happen. But there is an action that can be taken without need for amendments, one which would speak to transparency which has always been questioned in the People’s Power elections. It would be an act of transparency on the part of the government, which has always handled with absolute secrecy the breakdown of the numbers Such action has to do with the results of the voting, which citizens learn through the consolidation published in the press and from the immediate data in their electoral college. The proposal is simple: starting from these elections publish a tabloid with the detailed information by precinct or electoral college, circumscription, municipality or province, up to the consolidation of national information. In this way any citizen can know the vote totals for any electoral college in the country. This tabloid can be sold on newsstands and offered to subscribers. It can also appear on the digital site of the National Bureau of Statistics and the National Assembly of People's Power. It would be an act of transparency on the part of the government, which has always handled with absolute secrecy the breakdown of the numbers, and it would allow everyone to compare what they observed on election day voting in their electoral college with the published results. Nobody could speak subjectively, since the figures would speak for themselves. Taking care to previously verify one’s name and details on the voters list.   [1] Continue reading
[1] Regina Coyula, Havana, 2 March 2015 — The passing of Naty Revuelta* on Saturday has left us with a deep sense of loss. If there is anything that stands in stark contrast to her intensely social life stands it is the somewhat clandestine nature of her death. It was a death that had been expected; months earlier she had suffered a stroke. Though she seemed to have recovered fairly well, her care — medical, familial or both — left her deeply isolated. Inviting her to lunch was out of the question; visiting her became a complicated matter. For more than twenty years I entered her house with the same lack of formality with which she came into mine. Yet I suddenly felt the need to schedule a meeting after various attempts to see her failed, including one when I was at her door. When we did manage to talk, she complained about being forced into an involuntary seclusion. I cannot say that her mind was as lucid as it had been before the accident — in some conversations she often repeated herself — but she was totally coherent about what was happening and was fully aware of the wall that had been built up around her. Regardless of the quality of her medical care or the extent of her family’s devotion, I cannot help thinking that her last months would have been better if she could have relied on the closeness of her friends. I spoke with her by phone last Monday. She had fallen again and had been taken to see the doctor but it did not seem serious so she returned home. I promised that my husband and I would drop by to see her on Tuesday and she seemed very happy with that prospect. However, she was readmitted that same Monday evening and, according to what I was told, lost consciousness shortly thereafter. I hope she was still looking forward to my visit. *Translator’s note: Natalia “Naty” Revuelta was a married, well-to-do Cuban socialite when in the 1950s she met Fidel Castro, to whose cause she provided financial support. The two became romantically involved and she later gave birth to his child, Alina. This daughter later fled Cuba, settled in Florida and became of vocal critic of her father’s regime. [1] Continue reading
[caption id="attachment_38852" align="aligncenter" width="623"] [1] Natalia Revuelta Crews[/caption] [2] 14ymedio, Regina Coyula, 2 March 2015 -- Beautiful, intelligent, affluent – as Félix de Cossío portrayed her, dressed for a party – Natalia Revuelta Clews was collaborating with the Orthodox Party when, on 10 March 1952, hearing of Batista’s coup d’etat on the way to her job as an executive at Esso Standard Oil, she ordered two sets of copies of the keys to her home in Vedado: one for Milla Ochoa, leader of the Orthodox Party, and the other for another Orthodox Party member, Fidel Castro. Giving them the keys was offering them a safe place in case of danger. Fidel and Naty didn’t know each other personally, but that action would mark the rest of her life. A university degree, fluency in three languages, and a strong culture would have allowed her to engage in any activity; but she was relegated to the mid-level bureaucracy, always under the burden of her adulterous relationship with Fidel – a petty-bourgeois prejudice of the Marxist Revolution. She went on trying to be useful. I met her through my husband, with whom she shared half a century of friendship, and we were friends despite the huge differences we had on matters of politics. Our conversations were peppered with disagreements, but we never allowed such differences to tarnish our good relationship. Many knew her as “the mother of Fidel’s daughter” and it’s easy to assume that she enjoyed the privileges of a kept woman. Quite the contrary, the personal and social cost was enormous. Among other things, Naty pawned her jewels to finance in part the Moncada Assault and, at the triumph of the Revolution, she gave her home (now a diplomatic residence) and moved to a smaller house. The society to which she belonged never forgave her; and her daughters had to suffer the breakup of the family they knew. She felt responsible for the estrangement of her daughters, and never said anything that reflected badly on them; on the contrary, she was happy with the achievements of both and especially proud of her granddaughter. It was in my house where she came to vent her humiliation of having been excluded from the celebrations for the release of the Moncada barracks attackers. They also refused her a place in the 26th of July events, despite her having been the third woman to become a “moncadista.” All this happened after her daughter Alina fled the country. Naty gave me the complete originals of the correspondence between her and Fidel Castro during the almost two years he was in prison on the Isle of Pines Life often offers substitutes. Naty was a required presence at book launches, concerts or exhibitions; she was always invited to the activities at the diplomatic sees of Spain, Netherlands or the United States; she was a supporter of the National Library or of the Fragua Martiana [3] (Marti’s Forge). In her later years she was assiduous in a history group at the Dulce Maria Loynaz Cultural Center [4] and dedicated many hours to reading and selecting what came to her by email to forward the articles and news that were of interest to her friends. This effort came to overwhelm her, but she considered it a duty to share this information, which they later thanked her for. Naty’s confidence in me became clear ten years ago when she gave me the complete originals of the correspondence between her and Fidel Castro during the almost two years he was in prison on the Isle of Pines and later when he was in Mexico, to organize chronologically and transcribe into digital format. It was weeks of work to unravel with a magnifying glass the rushed and cramped handwriting of the letters from the Presidio Modelo [5]; however Naty’s letters were very easy because they were typed. Letters that the whole world had heard of but very few had seen and that Naty, aware of the value of this collection of paper, had never given to the Council of State’s Office of Historical Affairs, nor did she want them published in her lifetime. Now, major publishers will begin the bidding with her daughter Alina, fruit of that relationship and inheritor of the correspondence. Behind all the media attention she has always sparked, Naty was a woman who paid for her decisions and who was loyal, not to Fidel Castro as many think, since over the years she learned to separate the public man from the private, but with the idea of social justice associated with the triumph of the 1959 Revolution. Like any human being, she had her defects and virtues. Everyone will have their own Naty Revuelta, a character worthy of literature. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] Continue reading