CONFESIONES DE UNA LATINA SECRETA

Originally published 4/2/14 by elNuevoHerald.com

Por Olga Conner

Barbara E. Joe es la “latina secreta” que trajo su nuevo libro. Confessions of a Secret Latina: How I Fell Out of Love with Castro and in Love with the Cuban People, a Books & Books. Me invitó Silvia Sarasúa, relacionada con la causa de los derechos humanos. Barbara Joe es una activista también de más de 30 años con Amnesty International USA, que ha trabajado con los Cuerpos de Paz en Honduras, sobre lo que publicó otro libro, Triumph and Hope.

Al llegar a la librería me sorprendió ver allí a Jorge Valls y a Ernesto Díaz Rodríguez,

Barbara Joe with three long-term Cuban political prisoners [L to R] Jorge Valls, Basilio Guzmán, Ernesto Díaz

Barbara Joe with three long-term Cuban political prisoners Jorge Valls, Basilio Guzmán, and Ernesto Díaz

poetas que estuvieron años en prisiones políticas cubanas. Ellos son parte del libro de Joe, que surgió al tener una airada confrontación con un antiguo amigo sobre su participación en un filme documental sobre las “damas de blanco” en La Habana. Como se sabe, ellas marchan frente a una iglesia después de la misa dominical con gladiolos en las manos, en protesta y apoyo de esposos e hijos, presos de conciencia en la isla. El documental fue filmado discretamente por la directora noruega Gry Winther, pero fue criticado por el embajador de Cuba en Noruega, donde le respondieron que era un filme privado y no gubernamental. Fue mostrado después en un festival fílmico en Amsterdam y luego por gestión de Joe en la Universidad George Washington, de Washington, D.C.

Ella justificó en su comparecencia su admiración anterior a Fidel Castro y la de la mayoría de los cubanos que lo apoyaron, como lo hizo ella, por su carismática personalidad y sus promesas de justicia social. Pero al ver lo que ha sucedido en Cuba, se sintió obligada a dar su testimonio personal, que contiene las muchas relaciones y entrevistas con disidentes cubanos incluyendo la de Oswaldo Payá.

[Translated from the Spanish]

CONFESSIONS OF A SECRET LATINA

by Olga Connor

confessions-secret-latinaBarbara E. Joe is the “secret Latina” who brought her new book Confessions of a Secret Latina: How I Fell Out of Love with Castro and in Love with the Cuban People to Books & Books. I was invited there by Silvia Sarasúa because of her involvement in human rights causes. Barbara Joe is also an activist of more than 30 years with Amnesty International USA, who has worked with the Peace Corps in Honduras, about which she has published another book, Triumph & Hope.

When I arrived at the bookstore, I was surprised to see there Jorge Valls and Ernesto Díaz Rodríguez, poets who spent years in Cuban political prisons. They appear in Joe’s book, which came about when she had an angry confrontation with an old friend over her participation in a documentary film about the “Ladies in White” in Havana.  As is well known, they march in front of a church after Sunday Mass carrying gladioli to protest and support their husbands and sons, prisoners of conscience on the island.  The documentary had been filmed secretly by the Norwegian director Gry Winther, who had been criticized by Cuba’s ambassador to Norway, where he was told that it was a private, not a governmental, production. It was shown at an Amsterdam film festival and later, through Joe’s efforts, at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

In her exposition, she attributes her previous admiration for Fidel Castro, and that of the majority of Cubans who supported him as she did, to his personal charisma and his promises of social justice. But after seeing what has happened in Cuba, she felt obligated to give her personal testimony regarding her many relationships and interviews with Cuban dissidents, including Oswaldo Payá.