THE BLOG

In Brazil I Receive the Gift of Publicly and Freely Expressed Criticism

Writing a travel log is as difficult as studying for a math test in a nightclub. Mindful of the new reality presented to my eyes since I left Cuba, I have been faced with the dilemma of whether to live or to narrate what's happening to me, to act as the protagonist of this trip or as the journalist covering it. Wearing both lenses together is hard, given the speed and intensity of each event, so I will try to put down some written impressions as I go. The loose threads of what happens to me, the sometimes chaotic fragments of what I experience.

The first surprise in the program was at Jose Marti airport in Havana when, after passing through the immigration booth, several passengers began to approach me and offer displays of their solidarity. The affection grew as the journey progressed and in Panama I met some very affectionate Venezuelans as well... although they asked me please not to put the pictures with them on Facebook... so they won't have problems in their own country. After that stage I flew in a larger plane to Brazil with a mental and physical sense of decompression. As if I had been submerged too long without being able to breathe and now had managed to take a deep breath.

The Recife airport was a place for embraces. I met many people there who have supported me for years in my efforts to travel outside the national borders. There were flowers, gifts and even a group of people insulting me which, I confess, I really enjoyed, because it allowed me to say that I dream that "one day people in my country will be able to express themselves against something publicly like this, without reprisals." A true gift of plurality for me, coming from an Island they have tried to paint in the monochromatic color of unanimity. Later I also looked at an Internet so fast I could barely understand it, without censored pages and without officials looking over my shoulder at the pages I visit.

So far everything is going very well. Brazil has given me the gift of diversity and love, the possibility of appreciating and narrating so many wonders.

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