The Cuban Government’s War on Roberto Guerra
Beaten in the street for reporting on human rights in Cuba.
Look at his face. Wherever you are in the world, wherever you’re currently reading these words, please—look at the beating that one Cuban has inflicted on another, all in the name of politics.
- 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.
He is a Cuban freelance journalist who carries out his communicative, peaceful work on the island, nothing more. Yet this is exactly what has cost him so dearly. Too dearly.
On Wednesday June 11, 2014, in Nuevo Vedado, Havana, Guerra was attacked in the middle of the street. No one around him was brave enough to come to his aid. The police never turned up either. While his attacker, who seemed to come out of nowhere, was laying into him with his fists, he yelled: “This is for keeping freelance journalists’ money.”
His attacker accused him of theft, which was a lie. However, in doing so, he let him know that this was not a random attack, but a political punishment. In any case, the attack was a grave warning on top of the anonymous death threats that Guerra has already received in the past weeks for his denunciation of human rights violations in Cuba. It was also a response to the bravery he has shown in taking “the voice of those who have no voice” to international forums, including the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington, D.C. and the Oslo Freedom Forum in Norway .
#Cuba Mi vida esta en peligro pero continuare informando pues es mi derecho
— Roberto J. Guerra (@HablemosPress) June 11, 2014
“My life is in danger but I will continue informing because it is my right”
Guerra is a former political prisoner and the founder-leader of the Hablemos Press agency for freelance journalists, which is based out of his small apartment in central Havana. Both his and his wife’s cell phones are monitored and blocked at random. His family and friends have been coerced in a thousand different ways into betraying him. State police officials have warned him to get out of Cuba while he still can, but a lot of the abusive action taken against him has been carried out by men in civilian clothing, such as the man who beat him up on June 11. This murderous secrecy is the most sinister feature of Cuba’s State Security.
Look at his face. Your solidarity could prevent this government cruelty from ending in tragedy.