Miami-Dade blogger's Cuban slant draws fans
Mooney Piedra, The
Though only 3, Prieto remembers that 1968 day. His whole world changed as he said goodbye to his island home — a bittersweet choice his family made to flee Fidel Castro's communist regime.
Prieto's story is not unusual in
From one-liners to longer, more passionate tales, Prieto routinely files posts onto his web log, www.babalublog.com, about anything and everything Cuban. Especially, its infamous dictator.
"I wanted to have a place where
people who don't know anything about
Since Prieto launched his Babalu blog in June 2003 — named after a saint worshipped in Santeria, the Afro-Cuban religion, and made popular by singer Desi Arnaz — the site has become a favorite to many computer junkies around the world.
Hits to the site come from as far
Readers often post remarks to Prieto's blogs, either thanking him for what he's written, criticizing him for his conservatism or asking him for more information on the topic.
One of the regular visitors to the
site is A.M. Mora y
"All over the Internet you can
talk to people in rice paddies in southeast Asia, on
the dusty plains in
Prieto's introduction to blogging happened by chance.
Up until a few years ago, Prieto said, he didn't even know he could write.
But as the blogging phenomenon continued to gain popularity, Prieto became curious. He surfed the Internet, reading blog after blog.
"I was hooked," he said.
He was also shocked by the lack of posts about his country.
"There was nothing about
From current events making news on the island to meaningful Cuban holidays, there is little that goes unwritten in Prieto's world of blogging.
Most of what Prieto
writes about is his reaction to news happening in
But some of his most treasured posts, he says, are the stories he remembers being told by his parents and grandparents about life before Castro.
He also gets inspired by flipping
through old photographs of his parents walking through the streets of
"I was young when I left there," Prieto recalled. "What I know of the life there is what I know from my parents."
Some of the stories, however, aren't happy ones.
Soon after Castro took control of
When he was released, the family had
no choice but to move to the
Both of Prieto's parents worked three jobs, trying to make ends meet for their two children.
But the family missed their home in
That day has never come, though.
Growing up in
His blog is the perfect outlet, he says, to vent his feelings of anger and sadness.
One of his most recent posts reflected on the valor of Cuban patriot, Jose Marti. In another, he praised Cuban graffiti artists for painting anti-government slogans that read "Down with Fidel" on a hospital in Placetas.
During the holidays, Prieto is on the computer more than usual informing his
readers on Cuban traditions, such as cooking lechon,
a pig, in La Caja
Whatever subject he writes about, Prieto said, he feels that he is making a difference by enlightening readers about his life, the country he loves and misses, and the tyranny that plagues it.
"I'm doing what I set out to do," Prieto said. "Open some eyes, open some ears, open some hearts."