Tuesday, December 27, 2005

José Latour has the story of José Latour, a Cuban novelist who escaped Cuba to live and write in freedom:

"I believed in the revolution" at first, he recalled. "I thought it was the best thing that ever happened to my country. Ah well, it turned out it's the worst thing that happened to my country." [...]

"Such an oppressive life," Mr. Latour recalled. "Can you imagine a writer that for three or four years keeps asking the Ministry of Culture to please sell him a computer? 'I am not asking you to give away a computer. I will pay you $500, $600 for an old computer that's not worth more than 250. I am willing to pay the price.' And they won't sell you a computer. . . . And then everything you say is a crime, and you are constantly under surveillance; and you go to an embassy because they are giving a cocktail [party]-- and there's an olive-green jeep following you all the way. I mean you feel like a bug under a microscope."

He noted: "You write [a novel] here in the United States about corrupt people in the CIA, the FBI, the police, the government . . . nothing happens; it's just fiction, and nobody questions the writer's right. . . . But you do that in Cuba--you're a traitor; you are giving weapons to the enemy."


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