“…and you discover, as if they cornered you and ate you to pieces, that your dreams and your friends were getting left behind, sad ghosts, in agony, until they become specks, more invisible in your memory every time”.

City Never Lost

He hated scholarships, but he knew all about them, because his parents, submitting to the revolutionary process in the country, decided to send him, beginning with secondary education, to the schools built in the countryside to inculcate students with the need to link education with work, “thereby forging the new generation, that of the new man.” Only when he arrived at the University did he get to sleep in his own room, in his house, in a marginal part of Santiago de Cuba.

Review where he published his first shortstory, "Miracles", at age 15

Review where he published his first shortstory, "Miracles", at age 15

“If my childhood was totally happy, full of my parents’ affection, those years of adolescence were difficult: beautiful and terrible at the same time.”

He got to know the poor conditions of those boarding schools. He suffered all the illnesses that devastated the island during those years, “because my nutrition and health were so bad that my ears were bigger than my body. I was all ears and pure bone, nothing more.” He learned firsthand about selfishness, betrayal, and an evil that “today owns almost everyone in this country”: individualism. He also learned about love. And furtive sex, which could lead to expulsion “for amorality and libertinism.”

Thanks to his facility for learning, “because I never liked to study,” he managed to get excellent grades, which allowed him to choose from the best careers at that time: Psychology, Law and Journalism. He asked to do a degree in journalism.

He still hates scholarships.