December 7th, 2009 at 22:04 · Clasificados en Sin Evasión
Mr. Ivan Garcia, creator of the excellent blog Desde La Habana, recently published in the newspaper El Mundo an article entitled “The ‘other’ Yoanis” where he tries to reflect a review of four women of the alternative Cuban blogosphere, including me. Aside from liking the author, I feel I have the right to publicly correct some erroneous information that, without any malice, he states in the subtitle, “Voices of Change”, referring to my humble person.
To avoid a distorted picture, I want to lay down some assumptions: I have a good rapport with the referenced colleague, and deeply respect his work. I appreciate the courtesy of mentioning my writing as a blogger and the high esteem that he has for my blog, which he considers “one of the most lucid and mature of the Island’s blogosphere” which is, in my opinion, an exaggeration. However, after trying to unsuccessfully reach him in order to amend the errors published in his work, and aware that spreading false information could damage the credibility of this blogger, I decided to rectify those errors from my blog, confident that the colleague will understand my reasons for doing so.
I majored in art history, as Ivan notes, but I have never been a “high level” anthropologist, nor do I know what he meant by the term. I trained as a researcher in anthropology and archeology at an institute of the Academy of Sciences, but I do not have any anthropologist degree, since it is a specialty that has no graduate studies in Cuba. Ergo, I am, at best, an empirical anthropologist, (mostly self-taught) and not “high level”. Nor have I ever seen a 90-square meter computer, and, of course, never learned to operate such a device.
The referenced article states that in early 2002 I began to write “news and opinion articles for Encuentro en la Red”, an internet site. Actually, my first publication on the site was an article titled “Solidarity”, released in September, 2005, which -incidentally- was also the first collaboration I sent in. My work at the magazine Consensus, where I was not only “collaborator”, but also co-founder and editorial board member until its transformation into the magazine Contodos and its subsequent disappearance, had begun a year earlier, in December 2004 and not later, as indicated by my colleague. While at Consenso and Contodos, I published works under various pseudonyms: T. Avellaneda (in tribute to the poet from Camagüey, whom I admire so much), Lucia Morera, and Arcadia Agara (the name of my paternal grandmother, whom I never met, but whose memory I love and respect). I also published some other works there under my own name after I left my employment ties with the State.
Finally, Ivan Garcia reports that a year ago I decided to open a blog (Without Evasion) under my own name. This is inaccurate. Without Evasion was born in January 2008, in other words, it is almost two years old, and when I started it, I used the pseudonym I had created for Encuentro en la Red, Eva González. I revealed my identity in the blog on July, 2008.
The final paragraph in the article “The ‘other’ Yoanis” says that every woman in his review are “supporters of the rule of law, democracy, a multiparty system, freedom of speech and market economy”. For my part, I endorse all those things, except the “market economy”. I have never expressed any view on this concept, with which I am not even familiar.
This might come across as trivial or as excessive jealousy for me to dedicate a post to mend someone else’s minor errors, however, I have always made clear in this blog my commitment to the truth. To accept slips of any nature about things related to me or my work would be akin to aid in spreading falsehoods. Maybe Ivan should have consulted with me before publishing, because it is not a small matter to speak about third parties without verifying the data. As far as I’m concerned, if he had ever requested some small interview, I would have been glad to agree to it, just as I did with several foreign journalists and blogger Claudia Cadelo when she interviewed me for Global Voices almost a year ago. Let’s hope that such small errors do not turn into practice.