14 de junio de 2024

Radio 26 – Matanzas, Cuba

Emisora provincial de Matanzas, Cuba, La Radio de tu Corazón

The doors of UNEAC’s social house in Matanzas have been opened.

For five years, the Social House of Writers and Artists in Matanzas has stood out as one of the most attractive cultural centers in the city.

How does the Matanzas artistic vanguard arrive at the 10th UNEAC Congress?

«Transcendent is that it comes at a time of greater unity and that satisfies. A maturity is appreciated in the sense of belonging to UNEAC, which makes us feel that we managed to promote the exchange of common, ambitious, remarkable ideas that represent the walls of our Social House and beyond,» said Jose Manuel Espino, president of UNEAC in Matanzas in an interview for this media.

«And that is reflected in a more humanistic projection. We have lived through very difficult times and that has strengthened us, it has tanned us in art, knowing how to value, as never before, what culture represents for the nation».

For five years, the Social House of Writers and Artists in Matanzas has been one of the most attractive cultural centers in the city.

The artistic-literary spaces have increased in the diverse manifestations, with a harmonic monthly frequency, to which are added exhibitions, events of national connotation and meeting points among intellectuals.

They have the brilliant touch of being animated by illustrious personalities. The members of the provincial presidency are their main promoters, headed by the award-winning writer Espino Ortega, ratified in his position as President in this last election process, prior to the X Congress of the UNEAC.

And this recognition is not fortuitous. There is no project, contest or event conceived by the associations that is not supported by the institution; among these are the popular gatherings De la Matanceridad, the literary Café Mezclao, La guillotina, El libro inédito, Memoria Viva dedicated to dance; as well as the peñas TéConté, El Maíz Regado, El Concierto, La rumba soy yo and La tarde de Jazz.

In addition to this dynamic development, there is the systematic attention to veterans and the sick, the follow-up to the work of the municipal committees of Cardenas and Colon; the interrelation with cultural entities; and a concrete link with the authorities of the province, in a continuous and open dialogue of the executive with the Party and the Government, to which personalities of the territory are invited.

The interview flows then as a natural act, because we need to know how this multi-awarded author, to whom Matanzas dedicated for his triumphs the International Book Fair 2024 and reached with the anthological poetry book «Rosa de los vientos», the Reader’s Prize «To the Most Sold Book» during that celebration, maintains in rise his condition of leader of the artistic intellectuality of Matanzas.

What are your projections before the continuity of your responsibility?

«The reelection means a superior commitment; initially one has dreams, but, already at this point, the priorities dominate and this period will become a link to take UNEAC Matanzas towards a new dimension in the work, above all, community.

«The first thing was to strengthen its performance as a Social House; now we need to expand into freer and more spontaneous spaces to share the art of the artistic vanguard in every place that needs a transformation from culture».

In your opinion, what challenges do creators face?

«The biggest challenge is the fight against mediocrity, against people who profit from art, against those who see culture as a fetish or a mercantilist act and impoverish the possibility that art gives us to become better humans.

«We must not allow our spaces to be occupied by those who want to live at the expense of art and not live for art, whose meaning is to excite and celebrate from the soul as the essence that moves true artists».

These ideas lead to the premise that the 10th UNEAC Congress proclaims: «Culture is the Homeland».

«Our greatest thinkers saw the homeland from culture; since José Martí and the Mambises, we cannot imagine a conquest that is not accompanied by the cultural spirit.

«All that we have proposed would be useless if we were not accompanied by that burning flame that has been art and its creators, at the service of a country, which we call Homeland, with immense love.

«And its construction arises from our music, our poetry, our canvases, our theater, in a greater commitment to see a country splendor and this is achieved with the vision of Homeland that we have venerated from the culture».

Before me, I observe an impeccable José Manuel Espino; a mature man, with clear oratory and serious gestures, to whom, however, the brightness of his eyes lets escape the flashes of youthful mischief that characterize him, because he is, without a doubt, an effective leader, without ceasing to be an extraordinary writer, with multiple awards in literature, preferably the one conceived for children (his ovillejos are famous); a person known for his good humor and temperance.

How does he combine both requirements, I ask him.

«Actually, there is not much of a combination. Every day I find it more difficult to sit down to write a book; but I have the reward of fulfilling the expectations of other creators who want to realize their works. That is directing UNEAC. Being less selfish in the conception of how to approach this stage of life.

«Of course, there are always those who ask me for a text, others ask me for two or three poems, I do readings of my works in various scenarios, I even force myself to improvise, when I direct the Peña El Maíz Regado with several colleagues and we go to schools, city squares or gather the children here at the Social House and we put together a colossal entertainment».

José Manuel Espino Ortega, the President of the UNEAC Branch, for five more years, reelected by the great majority of the affiliates, stands as a bastion of culture, both in his very important role as leader of Matanza´s writers and artists and in his splendid role as creator of fantasies and fun rhymes for our children.

Everyone appreciates in his work, together with Leo Ernesto García Ramos, first vice president, and vice presidents Alfonsito Llorens and Leymen Pérez, plus the executives of the associations and his work team in the big house on Milanés Street, a stimulus to promote dreams in this beautiful Cuba, in this, our beloved homeland.

Written by María Elena Bayón.


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