A Visit of "Our Woman in Havana" at Carlos Otero

03.03.2007 22:08 (zuletzt bearbeitet: 03.03.2007 22:24)
#1 A Visit of "Our Woman in Havana" at Carlos Otero

Aus dem alternativen Stadtmagazin "Miami New Times":

With Fidel on his death bed, journalist Carlos Otero is more critical than ever
By Our Woman in Havana

Carlos Rios Otero is trying to write a note, but his black pen has run out of ink. He shakes it furiously, tries to scribble on a piece of thin white paper, and then tosses it on the table.

He shoots the pen a nasty glare, grabs it again, and flings it high into the air.
Carlos is frustrated. The pen is just one more thing that doesn't work in Cuba.

He is trying to change that, one word at a time. He is the rarest of rare on the island — an independent journalist.

But this writer doesn't work for a state-run communist-mouthpiece rag like Granma or Juventud Rebelde. His articles are penned sometimes by candlelight, always in longhand, on the unused side of printed sheets of paper. When he's finished, Carlos whispers his words across crackling phone lines to Miami, where Cuban exiles make sense of them and put them into magazines read by other exiles around the world. Sometimes he appears on Spanish-language radio stations like Radio Mambí (710-AM).

He hopes he doesn't get caught. "It's a brutal way to live," Carlos says matter-of-factly.

We're sitting around a table in the back yard of Carlos's house, a 100-year-old Mediterranean-revival with an iron gate, peeling paint, and pink roses growing in the courtyard. The dry pen is lodged in an overgrown bush. The table is covered with a threadbare red cloth that is pockmarked with holes.

Carlos's wife, Irene — shy and tired-looking — brings us coffee in delicate floral-patterned demitasse cups. She offers a glance that apologizes for not offering more.

It's a critical time for Carlos and all independent journalists in Cuba. As Fidel Castro's illness becomes more mysterious by the week — it's cancer, it's not cancer, he's got a colostomy bag, he's dead and cryonically frozen — Cuban exiles crave news from the island more than ever before.




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