December 17, 2014 began like any other day—kids getting ready for school, adults heading to their jobs, moms making breakfast, elders going out to buy bread and the newspaper… Nothing indicated that the regular daily routine would be broken that day. But around mid- morning, my neighbor started banging on my door and in a voice choked with emotion told me that Cuba was releasing Alan Gross and that the United States would do the same thing with Gerardo, Tony and Ramón, the three Cuban Five that still remained in US prisons.
The road is long, complex, risky… The questions are many and the possible answers, infinite. There are few guarantees and many uncertainties. But today, I only wish to enjoy this different day, a happy day for my people, for the families of the prisoners who were released. A day that will go down in history!
This issue is dedicated to Cuban literature in recognition of Cuba’s growing influence in the world of literature, which this month sees Cuba’s premier literary event. This issues features interviews with three of Cuba’s best contemporary writers: Pedro Juan Gutiérrez, Leonardo Padura and Wendy Guerra. We also have included a piece on the late Gabriel García Márquez and his long-standing relationship with Cuba.
January is a beautiful time to visit Cuba. You may need to hurry up with your reservation since the No Vacancy sign has been already hung up on many hotels and private houses and you will need to book ahead for the best restaurants.
Finally, in this month of change, it is worth pausing to commemorate José Martí, who was born in 1853, on Paula Street in Havana, in the house that is currently marked with number 314. Poet, journalist, orator, essayist, translator, José Martí is not only the most significant literary figure of the 19th century in Cuba, he was also the organizer of the Cuban Revolutionary Party against Spanish colonialism.
January 2015 Highlights (Havana, unless stated)
- January 1: Anniversary of the Revolution
- January 7-11: Festival de la Trova Longina (Santa Clara)
- January 20: Casa de las Américas Literary Prize
- January 27: Marcha de las Antorchas
- January 28: Birthday of José Marti
Do check out our expanded Havana Guide, which is growing to accommodate the new bars, restaurants and casas particulares that continue to spring forth adding vitality and energy to Havana’s entertainment and hospitality scene.
Thanks to all of our contributors, sponsors, partners and readers. Do please keep providing us with your feedback, comments and suggestions. All enquiries should be directed to Sophia Beckman at CubaAbsolutely@gmail.com. All the best. Viva Cuba!