Black Sheep of Exile is Killcastro's younger and cheekier sister , and on March 30th it turns one. We will always remember that anniversary because Black Sheep and RCAB were born a day apart. Killcastro and Black Sheep of Exile were not only the first blogs to welcome us to the blogosphere (Black Sheep with its first post), but the first to link to RCAB. In the beginning, most of our referrals came from Killcastro. It is well-known that that the Babalunians, when they want to know what is being said on the street or the secret councils of power in Cuba, recourse first to Killcastro, which has a network of informants in Cuba in the most unexpected places. And there they found us, too. The boycott against us initiated by Val might have succeeded but for Killcastro's spontaneous offer of assistance.
It should be noted that our respective blogs, though pursuing the same end, do not always take the same roads. Unlike the Babalunians, we do not want the whole Cuban-American blogosphere to speak with one voice. Such artificial unity is the hallmark of totalitarian states such as Communist Cuba. Nevertheless, the respect and faith which we both have for and in our countrymen on the island, our refusal to let others demean them by questioning their courage and dignity when it is theirs that is in doubt, binds us in common cause.
Moreover, we are not Miami-centric blogs. To turn Cuba into Miami II is not our aspiration, nor to turn Cubans into Americans. We know too much Cuban history and have lived more than enough to ever entertain such notions. We do not dream of rendering the Cuban nation in a pressure cooker, nor of rivers of blood, once congealed, providing a carpet for our return. We are not willing to starve our mothers (or anybody else's mother) in order to spite Castro. We believe that the Cuban people have suffered enough and do not desire to add to their sufferings. Cuba without Cubans is not acceptable to us though it is some kind of ideal for those whose patriotism is more concerned with preserving our country from our people than preserving our people. We are not alone, of course, though the other tendency is well-established in the Cuban blogosphere.
Here is the review that we published of Black Sheep of Exile on May 28, 2007:
This blog is older by one day than the Black Sheep of Exile. Our seniority allows us not only to review but to welcome to the Cuban blogosphere this latest and most interesting addition to it. Those familiar with the incisiveness and brazen originality of Killcastro, which is really sui generis among Cuban-American blogs for maintaining active contacts in Cuba and reporting firsthand on the quehacer cubano, will find the same and more at the Black Sheep of Exile, which draws with even a more personal and nostalgic brush the realities of life in Cuba as seen from the unique perspective of Killcastro and Charlie Bravo, who actually lived there for most of their lives and experienced in the only way they can be experienced the horrors that they report. That fact also has made them more understanding and compassionate towards those left behind, though not to the extreme of justifying conduct which should be censored here or there.
They are both formidable writers and both use English in the new and innovative ways pioneered by Cabrera Infante but taking him up a few notches. Their cubanization of English does not usually sacrifice correctness, but does make it do things that one would have thought impossible in this staid and emotionally-constrained tongue. This, of course, is a very different approach from my own, which is to out-English the English (I don't even think about the Americans). Two different approaches to English but both informed by the same Cuban spirit of rebellion which can manifest itself either by expanding the original (their case) or restoring it (mine).
Really, as most of you know, because you come in droves from Killcastro, Charlie and Killcastro are a joy to read, both for content and delivery, but, above all, for that in-your-face originality that both captivates and instructs. After a visit to killcastro or the Black Sheep of Exile one feels as if one has partaken of a hearty and substantial meal, a sensation altogether different from the lighheadedness that follows after sampling the fluffy and watery fare at other Cuban-American blogs. The difference, of course, is genuineness: the fact that one is and does not merely aspire to be. But let me stop here before this turns into another review of Babalú.
Those familiar with Killcastro know that I have differed with its editors on several issues in the past, but it has always been possible for us to reach consensus. When I think that there must be millions of Killcastros and Charlie Bravos in Cuba, it greatly consoles me. Without them, I would have no such consolation.
I urge you to read the following recent posts on the Black Sheep of Exile:
El hebreo (memories of an elderly Jew in Havana who taught Charlie Bravo the meaning of fascism and communism and how Castro was the fusion of both sides of the same totalitarian coin).
Momias Gallegas (On Charlie Bravo's boyhood excursions to Colón Cemetery, the Chinese Cemetery and the Protestant Cemetery).
Sí, España (a touching tribute to the mother country and a necessary tonic for those who think that one can possibly affirm one's Cuban identity by hating her).
A Voluntary Buzzcut (which Charlie and his friends got in Cuba to show their solidarity with U.S. troops in Kuwait during the First Iraq War).
The Switch (about the bittersweet love affaire between Cubans and their cars).
I know you don't need an invitation or further inducement, so go there: