Reintroducing myself for the regulars
I cannot believe that it has been more than two years since Val asked and I accepted to take on the position of Babalú managing editor. It really does feel as if it happened just the other day. Back in April of 2010, I dove into my new role here headfirst and, for the most part, I have consistently kept up a furious pace reporting and commenting on issues regarding Cuba and U.S.-Cuba policy for 27 months. And I have loved every single moment and minute of this.
Nevertheless, after much thought, I believe the time has come for me to take a sabbatical of sorts to both rest and clear my mind. I am in no way, shape, or form abandoning the cause of freedom in Cuba. On the contrary, I want to use this time off to sharpen and rejuvenate my mind and come back stronger to the cause. In other words, I will be back.
I am proud to pass the baton on to our good friend Nick Jimenez. He is much younger, much smarter, and a much more talented writer than I am. I have no doubt he will maintain Babalú as the go-to place for up-to-date news and commentary on Cuba issues.
I want to personally thank all our loyal Babalú readers for their incredible support throughout my tenure as managing editor. After Cuba, you have all been the inspiration that gave me the energy to continue day after day for more than two years. But please remember, this is not a goodbye on my part by any means. I will return.
-- Alberto de la Cruz
A few days ago, I got a call from Val asking me to step into the "Managing Editor" position here at Babalú blog. Honored as I was that Val, Alberto and others would think to ask me to take that on, I was even more surprised. My name's been on the "contributor" list for a while now, but I probably haven't been contributing enough to warrant that title.
Still, I have accepted, so I figure it would be best to reintroduce myself to regular Babalú readers. Not because I'm particularly interesting, but because I think there's something to be said for knowing who is behind the stuff you read every day.
My name is Nick Jiménez. I was born in Miami. I'm 25. I'm a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism. I now live in Madison, Wisconsin, where I work in content marketing for a software company.
Though I haven't been a frequent poster on Babalú, I have been engaged and involved in el tema de Cuba for a while now. While a student at Mizzou, I founded the Cuban American Undergraduate Student Association (CAUSA), which was part of the Raíces de Esperanza network of student organizations. I also served on the leadership team at Raíces for some time.
After graduating from college, I did some work to support Cuba's independent journalists. I also was one of the three guys behind the One Cuba petition to the Pope, of which I'm sure many Babalú readers are signatories. There are more One Cuba initiatives coming, so stay tuned to that.
I've also been doing some freelance writing. If you're a Cigar Snob subscriber, you might have seen my piece on the intertwined cocktail histories of Cuba and the United States.
I have traveled to Cuba three times for democracy and press freedom promotion purposes. Four times if you count the time they didn't let me in. On those trips, I had the opportunity not just to see some of the things you read about on this blog, but also to meet the protagonists of some of those stories.
On one of those trips, I met Harold Cepero, who became a friend and recently died in a car crash with Oswaldo Paya. I shot this video of him while I was there. There are closed captions in English, so turn those on if you don't speak great Spanish.
My role here at Babalú will consist mostly of making sure that there's a steady stream of Cuba news on the blog. That said, I'll also do my best to find time for original reporting and interviews. Maybe even some video stuff exploring how people here in Madison, Wisconsin see and think about Cuba.
I welcome any and all readers to contact me if they have tips, interesting links, content requests, complaints, or anything else to share. You can always email me, but if you prefer social media, you can find me on Twitter and Google+.
You can also follow my Cuba news Scoop.it page, which is less blog and more headline, article and media aggregation that I curate.
-- Nick Jiménez