La Revancha / Revenge by Henry Eric Hernandez is a truthful account of the history of the previously unknown. The lives of those documented in this eloquent statement of episodic accounts are not of the wealthy or the text book elevated leaders of Cuba's past. Those included in this book are individuals who contributed to Cuba's deep, cross-rooted culture.
The backdrop of the story is the 1950's overthrow of the Batista regime by the 26th of July Movement and the establishment of Fidel Castro's new Cuban government. Each story Hernandez etches into the historical record draws from the patchwork quilt of Cuba's oppression and wealth. Photos and text create an episodic written documentary. Notes From A Ferry is Episode 8 of the 16.
Notes From A Ferry is the story of Conchita Mas Mederos who listened to the rogue radio station: Rebel Radio (Radio Rebelde). The station broadcast the messages of Castro and his forces from within enemy territory. Carlos Franqui, Castro's previous acquaintance and a Cuban exile living in Puerto Rico at that time because of his involvement with the 26th of July Movement which resulted later in his torture and imprisonment, was the reason the radio station could broadcast. Franqui, also a journalist, was smack in the middle of several literary and artistic movements where he made deep-rooted connections with Cuban artists which included writer Guillermo Cabrera Infante and painter Wifredo Lam.
Conchita lived during the time when the United States Congress sought to prevent the sale of sugar to the socialist West. Hernandez documents how in February of 1958, Conchita heard such broadcast slogans as, "This is Rebel Radio. . .We are against the intervention of the United States in our national affairs!"
Hernandez weaves the story of how at the age of fourteen Conchita finished sixth grade and began work as a domestic for a wealthy family so she could help support her family. And she also joined the "clandestine fight to collect funds to expedite the invasion of the rebel army." Hernandez states, "Many adolescents had done more than offer a prayer for its victory."
Conchita was literally working herself into the grave, Kevin powers writes in his introduction. Completely dedicated to the revolution, in 1963 Conchita's name had been given to the Circulo Infantil for her merit, Powers states. But as Episode 16 documents, Hernandez confirms that at the age of 19, Conchita took her life shooting herself on July 19, 1964.
"The causes that drive a person to suicide are difficult to assess, but the State as an institution-wherever its zone of action and whatever its ideology-has a long and dark record of pushing people to extremes. All of us have breaking points: when they are known, we break; when we are unaware of them, we break even faster; sometimes we break irrevocably," Powers writes of Conchita in his introduction.
However, Hernandez does more than just document works of lives not yet known but nonetheless who contributed on personal levels. Hernandez' art is unique in that he completes "interventions." His works include such interventions as the repair of three girls' bathrooms at the Ruben Bravo School. Hernandez replaced the washbasins, toilets, tiles, pipes and did the electrical and carpentry work. The tile motifs include photos the artist took of the bathroom in the condition in which he first found the buildings, Powers writes.
With regard to Conchita, Hernandez held a collective birthday celebration for the children in need who attended a daycare center that used to be the home of the owner of the Cienfuegos electrical plant in the 1940's. In 1961, the daycare center was renamed after Conchita, about four years prior to her suicide.
"In one symbolic sweep the individual owner had been changed into a state collective and a rich person's house into a social services center-in short wealth had been redistributed," Powers writes.
Hernandez combination of good works and art delineate the truth from the documented untruths of the continual rewriting of history. The book is an intellectual read and far surpasses the text of any previous release from Perceval Press-even considering the most outstanding works from this indie publisher.
La Revancha / Revenge is available for purchase at $35 from Perceval Press Here http://percevalpress.com/revancha.html