Every page of ‘The Hidden Island’, by Abraham Jimenez Enoa, was written against the official version of Cuba
By Xavier Carbonell (14ymedio)
HAVANA TIMES – In the German film The Lives of Others, the writer Georg Dreyman encapsulates his break with the regime in a report about suicides in communist countries. He writes it in red ink on a secret typewriter and under the vigilance of secret agent Wiesler, alias HGW XX/7. When I had just finished reading The Secret Island, by Abraham Jimenez Enoa (born in Havana in 1988), it seemed to me to be the reverse kind of book — almost tropical,although no less dramatic or oppressive.
The book doesn’t hide its scars. It talks of a nervous people, hungry, people who want to escape or kill themselves. Every page was written as the polar opposite of the official tourist guide to Cuba. It is important that a book like this is published in Europe, where some newspapers are still promoting the Island as a paradise of communist nostalgia, with cheap hotels, cigars and mulatas.
Jiménez Enoa goes further even, than just describing the “real and the incredible” poverty of Havana, ‘invention of foreign correspondents’. His interviewees, who come from a wide variety of provinces and dangerous neighborhoods, live for la bolita — a lottery-type betting game prohibited by Castro — and they cure their illnesses using only water; they have two religions (“yoruba culture and football [soccer]”); they build portable houses out of cardboard and go out chasing French or Italian women, “the less attr