I believe that Eroica owes something to Cuba.
No project is born without passion, without civil tension, that idea of improving the world underlies every enterprise where there is something more than business.
I went to Cuba for the first time in September 1989, with the Berlin Wall still standing, with Gorbachev who seemed to bring a new verb capable of overcoming hot and cold wars.
I was among those who were beginning to be skeptical of certain politics and the many self-referential priests who were turning it into a profession. I had already written a kind of minimal political testament in which I distanced myself from the emerging caste. With the income from that first book, which was still unique of its kind, I paid for my trip and my stay. José Martí Brigade, volunteer work for the Revolution or at least for what was left of it and represented it.
He was convinced that this was the right way to be among the forgotten of the world, among the pawns, among those whom money would eventually annihilate, the dregs of history, beasts of burden, at best masses for whom to create and sell consumption. There was a myth to defend, an island that had made its own independent history a stone's throw from the American colossus, capable of setting an example for an entire Vanished Continent.
For the record, it is also from these experiences, which I have continued in various forms of volunteering in the South, that the spirit of L'Eroica was born, the idea that what was left of sport and of certain territories needed an act of resilient courage.
Today? Another world, I am proud to be among those who have lost; a hemisphere has disappeared, Cuba is in an economic stalemate, soon to change. This does not detract from the fact that it is still a formidable destination to which to extend a small hand, a magical place where life still flows slowly, full of smiles in the midst of obvious material poverty. We will do the Cuba Eroica, politics is now romantic modernism, a thing of Barbudos in black and white, from the times when Gaul won the Giro and Bahamontes the Tour, two pure climbers, it would not happen again. Two routes, postcard views, among palm trees, roads more red than white, center in Caimito, where the Camp was, headquarters of my Brigade, and where we can still stay in a spartan way, to ensure a price that facilitates the participation of many of our heroes of Italy.
All for Saturday, February 10, 2024; because on Sunday 11 we will be pedaling again, 40 km inside Havana, with many Cubans in various forms. In tow? Those cars from the 50's, those from before the revolution, a romantic patrimony of humanity.
Just like Eroica and Cuba.