Monday, October 22, 2007

Back to work

After a much-needed (and thoroughly enjoyable) six week break, it’s time to get back to work.

Plenty of news about Cuba during my absence.

There was confirmation of sorts that Fidel Castro is still alive but in seriously bad shape. The great dictator, who so adored the sight and sound of his own televised reflection, is now reduced to writing (or dictating) increasingly silly “editorials” for the official media from his hiding place.

Then there is Hugo Chavez, the epitome of the dangerous Latin American buffoon, proposing a political merger between Venezuela and Cuba, an idea so silly and antiquated not even the higher echelons of the Cuban Communist Party seem to have taken it seriously.

And of course, today there is coverage in the world media about the highly orchestrated and totally predictable municipal “elections” being held by the Castro regime. No prizes for guessing the outcome, folk.

I know ... it’s all very sad. But by far the one piece of news that saddened me most in recent weeks was the death in Miami from cancer of Carlos Victoria, the exiled Cuban writer.

I had the pleasure of meeting Carlos only a couple of times.

The first was when he visited Australia some years ago to see his aunt, who lives here in Sydney and is a family friend of my parents. I was working at The Sydney Morning Herald at the time and knew little about his work but was pleased to show him around Sydney and buy him a typically Australian meal, which is to say a meal that combined cuisines from all over the world.

The second time was during a visit to Miami when he reciprocated by taking me on a tour of El Herald, introducing me to some of his editors and then buying me a typically Miami meal – macitas de puerco, congri and yuca at the Versalles, of course.

We corresponded regularly since then.

His last email arrived about three or four months ago – he was trying to get a writer at The Miami Herald interested in writing a feature story about my book, which had just been published in North America.

It was a generous and totally unexpected gesture from a true gentleman.

Typical of Carlos Victoria.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Victoria had "played along" with the system in Cuba, he would have become famous as a writer. Not a few Cuban writers with less talent have had much more success (of sorts) by playing the regime's game.

3:45 am  
Anonymous Rick said...

Welcome back.

10:28 am  

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