Like most of my Babalu colleagues I can’t put an exact date on the first time I became aware of this blog. A buddy at work mentioned it to me one day. As it happened I was working on a web site with the objective of debunking the Che Guevara mythology. Once I published the site I realized that that was only half the battle. By then I was reading Babalu on a daily basis and the one thing I coveted was a spot on Babalu’s blogroll. I went out to Cuba Nostalgia in May of what must have been 2005 with the sole intention of meeting Val Prieto. Eight years later I can honestly say Val is one of my closest friends if not my best friend. Over the course of those 8 years a lot has changed in my life. Changes in jobs, the birth of my children, the pain of divorce, and the joy of new beginnings to name a few. I even served as managing editor of this great institution with great pride for a few years. But through it all the one thing that has remained constant in my life is this family of great people that are my fellow Babalusians.
A lot of times I’m asked why I write for Babalu, why I care so much about Cuba. After all, I’ve never even set foot on the island. They ask because it’s difficult for some to understand the gravitational pull that Cuba has. As I once wrote on the topic:
It is my totally unscientific opinion that Cuba has some sort of mystical power over human beings. Since Columbus first set foot on Cuba’s fair shores, and reportedly said that it was the most beautiful land his eyes had ever seen, man has been enchanted and taken by its power to seduce. It’s a power that I believe can actually be transmitted genetically to generations that have never been on the island. Generations like mine.
Today, that pull is as strong as ever. Luckily as Willy Chirino famously sings, “nuestro día ya viene llegando” (our day is coming). And when it does, Babalu will be around to celebrate it.