Monday, April 30, 2007

Bloggers United Update

Several developments to inform you all about regarding Bloggers United for Cuban Liberty. First of all, I can tell you that the campaign will kickoff on, or around, May 20th, Cuban Independence Day. Details of what the campaign will entail are available to potential campaign sponsors in the form of the full campaign proposal which you can receive by emailing me and telling me which blog or web site you represent. For the rest of you, be patient. This will be a slow reveal over the next couple of weeks but hopefully very worth it.

Additionally, I am proud to highlight our first two sponsors for the Campaign. First of all is our very own Ziva, who as you should know is also the person behind Blog for Cuba. It's no secret that Ziva is probably the most passionate of all of us Babalusians. I was not surprised when she was the first to sign up. Blog for Cuba's archives go back to October 2005 but she was an active commentator here at Babalu long before that. Some of you may not know this but Ziva isn't Cuban (though we have naturalized her for sure!) but she dreams in color about Cuba.

...With still closed eyes, I stretch, and feel the soft breeze coming through the open window. My senses fill with the familiar sound and smell of the nearby ocean, and I think about how privileged I am to inhabit this place that I love so much. I slowly open my eyes and stare at the light and shadows playing on the blue walls. The bedroom is small, cozy and contains my essential possessions: family photos, a couple of paintings, a number of favorite books, and a stack of CD's. I love my home, this wonderful apartment. I get up, walk over to the window and spend a few long minutes watching waves crashing against the Malécon. Turning away from the window I start in the direction of the kitchen and a café con leche when something jars my senses.

I shake myself awake; the blue walled bedroom, in the home so familiar, in the place so loved is in Havana, in Cuba--a place I've never been.
Right behind Ziva in jumping on the BUCL bandwagon is another "naturalized Cuban", Claudia Fanelli of Claudia4Libertad. What can I say about Claudia? The first time this Pennsylvania Spanish teacher appeared on many of our radars was as the author of the impassioned essay she penned called "Cuba: Why I care." That essay was so powerful that it was widely circulated among the exile community via email, I can't count the times I've received it from people who know I write about Cuba and that wanted to share it with me. I even heard it recited on Radio Mambi be Ninoska Perez Castellon.
...The problem is that now I am emotionally invested in this issue: I am disgusted, infuriated and heartsick about what I know takes place on the island. This makes remaining calm in the face of people who think communism is a good system or that fidel Castro is “misunderstood.” But perhaps the most frustrating conversations take place with those who are apathetic. “They’re not our people,” I have been told. “Not “our” people?” I ask. “Were the Ethiopians “our” people? Americans recorded music and sponsored Live Aid to help the poor and oppressed there. Were the Bosnians “our” people? Americans went to fight ethnic cleansing for them and there was nary a protest that they weren’t “our” people. Were the victims of the tsunami in Thailand “our” people? Americans donated money from their own pockets to help them. Since when do others have to be “our” people for us to care about humanity?

...These [Cubans] were the regular people, desperate to escape death squads, ration cards, denial of freedom of speech and a ban on religion. These were the people who, when faced with the idea of “socialismo o muerte,” chose death. Death by drowning, death by sharks, death by dehydration… Yep, Cuba must be a real paradise if these choices trumped life on the island. And why should I care? I think the question should be “Why shouldn’t I?”

I'm so proud to be associated with someone like Claudia.

Look for upcoming profiles on the other campaign sponsors. We have several commited and several who are considering the proposal.

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