Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Reflections: Malaletra Atenco

A discarded flyer. A blog by a former employee of the Dirección de Contrainteligencia del Ministerio del Interior. The California elections. Separate threads woven together by a chance sighting and an Internet search.
Discarded on the street
On my way to lunch Monday, a discarded magazine caught my eye. I liked the color treatment and use of fonts so I snapped a photo. Later when I went online to get more information about the publication, I discovered someone else had been inspired by the color palette.
I didn't find out much more about the publication I'd seen; the cover photo appears to have been taken in Mexico in 2006. I did discover a blog, La Malaletra or Bad Handwriting, written by a woman in Cuba, Regina Coyula, a former employee of the Dirección de Contrainteligencia del Ministerio del Interior (think KGB). Living in the states, especially on the west coast away from communities of Cuban immigrants, one doesn't hear much about what it's like to live in Cuba. It's hard to put faces to rhetoric.
Cuba, like the US, recently held elections. Their October election was the first in which Regina's son could vote. He decided not to.
In California, it's often joked our votes for president don't count. Going to the polls is more about local and state initiatives rather than national governance. When I turned 18, I looked forward to my first election with excitement. (Women had marched so that I could vote; it was a right that had been fought for, not simply given in the Constitution.)
"You are a citizen.
Exercise this power.
We have already left our fate in the hands of others for too long."

- Cuban Man to Teenaged Boy
Now, I view elections as more of a chore. Propositions are poorly worded. It's hard to know what exactly you're voting for with all the double negatives.
More disheartening is the chance that your mail-in ballot might not be counted. If you dropped your ballot in the mail, depending on your local mail carrier's efficiency, your ballot might be sitting uncounted. "With some races so tight this year, late ballots could have made a difference." I dropped mine off at my polling place, so I think my choices might have been counted.
So why keep casting a ballot? Because, although it's broken, it's a process that others are still fighting for. If you were ever apathetic about voting, read Regina's blog Bad Handwriting (English translation); it'll give you a new perspective.
Are you working to make a difference?
Ciao Bella!
Credits: All layouts designed by and images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life.