The Ginarte Scandal: Cuban Courage or Uncivilized Hypocrisy?
As the Cuban government puts a powerful ranch owner under house arrest, citizens write their disagreement.
- Is it worth-while to focus on the last images and letters coming from the inside of the last living utopia on Earth? Is Cuba by now a contemporary country or just another old-fashioned delusion in the middle of Nowhere-America? A Cold-War Northtalgia maybe? Can we expect a young Rewwwolution.cu within that Ancien Régime still known as The Revolution? I would like to provoke more questions than answers.
- Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo was born in Havana City and still resides and resists there, working as a free-lance writer, photographer and blogger. He is the author of Boring Home (2009) and is the editor of the independent opinion and literary e-zine Voces.
Who is this powerful man? Miguel Ginarte, age seventy-five, was born in the westernmost province of the island—the cradle of the Castroist Revolution. A laborer renowned for his skill in training animals, Ginarte is a veteran of the Rebel Army (of the 1950s) and the Cuban military intervention in Ethiopia (in the 1970s).
President Raúl Castro’s so-called reforms have seen more than a few arrests of both foreign and Cuban entrepreneurs, as well as the near total replacement of the entire bureaucratic system of elites. Though loyal to his brother, former Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro, these elites are not to be trusted with what some analysts and dissidents have described as State Capitalism: The Putin model.
The interesting thing about the Ginarte scandal is that more than 50 renowned Cuban actors, directors, and audiovisual media professionals have dared to support a letter of protest against his sudden arrest and the confiscation of his property. In the letter they reel off the numerous prizes and official awards that he’s accumulated throughout his life and end by referring to him as “the richest poor man we’ve ever known.” Public pressure came not from the streets but from burgeoning social networks, as is usual nowadays in Cuba.
The paradox is that none of those who are supporting the fallen magnate defended Ana Luisa Rubio, a radio and television actress who, in September, was severely beaten in her neighborhood by crowds that had been riled up by the government. Why was she beaten? Just for being an activist blogger in favor of human rights.
The paradoxes of despotism.