Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Writing His Way to Freedom

In Tuesday's Wall Street Journal, Tom Nolan tells the intriguing and inspiring story of Cuban mystery author Jose Latour, who was able to escape Fidel's island paradise and pursue his craft unhindered by censorship:

"Such an oppressive life," Mr. Latour recalled. "Can you imagine a writer that for three or four years keeps asking the Ministry of Culture to please sell him a computer? 'I am not asking you to give away a computer. I will pay you $500, $600 for an old computer that's not worth more than 250. I am willing to pay the price.' And they won't sell you a computer. . . . And then everything you say is a crime, and you are constantly under surveillance; and you go to an embassy because they are giving a cocktail [party]-- and there's an olive-green jeep following you all the way. I mean you feel like a bug under a microscope."

He noted: "You write [a novel] here in the United States about corrupt people in the CIA, the FBI, the police, the government . . . nothing happens; it's just fiction, and nobody questions the writer's right. . . . But you do that in Cuba--you're a traitor; you are giving weapons to the enemy."

He Wrote His Way to Freedom


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