Physical Violence in Cuba Announces Itself With Words
Recycled accusations of treason against activists and journalists.
The current avalanche of media violence in Cuba will soon cause a physical avalanche. The regime’s handwriting, made public via the savage beasts of its press organizations, is an omen of the wave of repression to come. Let it be known that Castroism has never done anything for the enjoyment of it. The government’s only purpose is to be wicked.
- 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.
At the root of this impending repression is a new “conspiranoid” equation that the Cuban regime has started to devise. Its variables are nothing new: Washington D.C., international funding to support democracy, supposed terrorists who travel from Miami to Havana to overthrow the Revolution (and are only discovered at the very last minute), and peaceful protesters who make use of alternative methods of communication as they travel in and out of Washington. It’s a never-ending cycle of criminal claustrophobia.
But it’s not the first time this has happened. The same unjust accusations were made in 2003 before the Black Spring (against the “convenient” backdrop of the international intervention in Iraq) when State Security agents who had infiltrated Cuban dissident groups organized events involving North American diplomats in Havana. Ultimately, those events were used as evidence of imaginary crimes. Said “crimes” led to a total of 75 sentences of up to 28 years in jail for several freelance journalists and almost all the leaders of Project Varela , with the exception of Project Varela’s founder, Oswaldo Payá (who was suspected of “being part of the machine” after the release of a malevolent rumor shortly thereafter).
Thus the regime defamed all of Cuba’s opposition leaders. They blackmailed them over family matters and pressured them with malicious rumors and secrets regarding sexual activities. The regime’s audacity was disgusting. It saddens me that future Cubans will have to remember not only that period, but this current one as well. However, despite the injustice, this era was also one of honor and courage, since almost none of the accused gave in to the despotic pressures of an absolute power that has never been elected by the Cuban people.
The opposition was then accused—with far-fetched evidence, plus a handful of legal royalty checks— of receiving thousands of dollars from abroad, but no one mentioned that most of them had been laid off by the State for life. In Payá’s case, they even spied on his family in Varadero to demonstrate that he was living a life of “luxury” while his colleagues were in jail, largely cut off from the outside. For many Cubans, both inside and outside of Cuba, it was easiest to believe those patriotic fairy tales. That way, they could justify their own political panic and offensive lack of solidarity.
Today in Cuba, that same gerontocracy is still prepared to leave no witnesses when totalitarianism collapses and the floodgates finally burst open. I hope that, in this age, we do not abandon the island’s social activists in their peaceful trenches of ideas. I hope that we Cubans do not look the other way, once again playing the reactionary role of believing in the Revolution’s unlikely version of events.