BY MARTY ANDERSON
Pathfinder Press has just announced a special student subscription rate to La Gaceta de Cuba, a journal in Spanish published six times a year by the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC). La Gaceta is a leading forum for discussion on culture, politics, and the challenges facing the Cuban revolution today.
For $28 students will now be able to receive La Gaceta for a year. The regular individual subscription rate is $40. The May- June issue provides a sample of the type of articles published regularly in the magazine. One of the features is an interview with José Luis, founder of the musical group NG-La Banda, who previously was part of the bands Van Van and Irakere.
Asked about Cuban popular music today, José Luis replied, "Contemporary Cuban popular music has nothing at all in common with what is happening elsewhere in Latin America. In the first place, we are not ruled by a market. The Salsa groups, as you know, are owned by the music transnationals. The aim is to sell, and for that fixed patterns are established. In such a situation one cannot create or develop this music. I see this in Puerto Rico, Venezuela, etc.
"For 36 years we in Cuba have not belonged to any market. Before [the revolution] there was Capitol Records, RCA Victor.... The embargo also affects music, since it prohibits these companies from doing business with Cuba. I myself have had proposals from EMI, from Sony, and they demand that you leave Cuba and throw yourself to the great market. This has benefited our music, since it allows us to create, but at the same time our works are not known at the level they merit....
"I believe that Cuba is one of the countries in the world where the best popular music is being written and performed. "At the conclusion of the interview, José Luis is asked how he defines himself. The Cuban musician replied simply, "Me? I am a fighter."
Also included in this issue of La Gaceta are tributes to several Cuban writers and artists who have died recently. One of these is Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Cuba's most well-known film director. His movies include Strawberry and Chocolate, Memories of Underdevelopment, Death of a Bureaucrat, and The Last Supper.
Another article is about Santiago Armada, better known as Chago, who died in 1995. He was a humorist, painter, writer, poet, and cartoonist. Chago's cartoons first appeared in 1958 in the mimeographed paper El Cubano Libre, a Rebel Army newspaper founded by Ernesto Che Guevara in the Sierra Maestra mountains during Cuba's revolutionary war. After the victory of the revolution, Chago continued working for the daily newspaper Revolución. Several collections of his work were later published in book form.
Movie and book reviews are a regular feature of La Gaceta. The current issue reviews the film Madagascar, dealing with the problems and generational conflicts facing youth in Cuba today, from the vantage point of one young woman struggling to find a purpose in her life.
Among the books reviewed is Nunca antes habías visto el rojo (Never before had you seen red) by José Manuel Prieto, a collection of five short stories based on the experiences of Cuban youth studying in the Soviet Union.
Other items include a review of the contributions of writer Onelio Jorge Cardoso, an interview with Colombian novelist Alvaro Mutis, articles on theater and dance, and several short stories. Following one of its regular poetry contests, the May- June issue features the work of nine young poets, almost all them in their twenties and thirties, born after the revolution.
To subscribe to La Gaceta send a check or money order for $40
($28 student rate) to Pathfinder, 410 West Street, New York, NY
10014. Published in Spanish only, the magazine is airmailed
directly from Havana.
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