13 December 2006

Cuba Journey

We received a license from OFAC, the Office of Foreign Assest Controls, to visit Cuba for the Havana International Book Fair. K's books were represented for the full 10 days of the fair, we made a good contact with the main bookstore in Havana, and we met people who both knew and appreciated K's writings, and also immediately responded to the them on first encounter.

There is a strong control of information in Cuba: most people are not allowed to have internet or a computer, or satellite TV. You do not see international magazines or newspapers for sale. And, when we entered Cuba, we were detained for two hours at the airport, and our books inspected. The official who checked the books seemed most interested in the titles The First and Last Freedom and The Only Revolution. In the end, we were surprised to be let through with all 150 K books in Spanish for the Fair and free distribution.

Similar to what we found in China last year, it seems that one of the side effects of Communism is to remove a certain religious conditioning and to create a receptiveness to the 'rationality' of K's writings and its lack of religious dogma. Cubanos are well-educated, though in dire economic conditions, and like in China, there seems to be a growing search for the 'other' in life; something beyond the man-made, including ideologies.

We heard that people are passing around ancient, pre-revolution dog-eared copies of K books, and photocopies (which must be a risk, since photocopying is another information technology tightly controlled in Cuba). The 150 K books delivered in Cuba we hope will find themselves in many hands.

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