Dialog, Why? / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 11.00.52 AMIn my country, for more than half a century, the government hasn’t dialogued with anyone. The Cuban Revolution doesn’t recognize any other interlocutor than itself, incarnated in the figure of the Maximum Leader, the now decrepit Fidel.

Executions, thirty-year sentences, perpetual exile. Whoever wanted to dialogue in Cuba ended up in one of these three categories of tropical totalitarianism.

Even today, in the 21st century, with a dissidence that has occupied certain alternative spaces of expression at the cost of much sacrifice, the Cuban gerontocracy has to die in power without having crossed words with anyone, except its own clan, the so-called “historic” generation.

Dialogue with the Communists, thus validating elections and other hypocrisies, is always a deception or a trick. The Communist have nothing to say, its not their international mission. They only follow the orders of a political party that incarnates their own dogma. They are soldiers dressed as civilians.

The idea is to take power at any cost and to never let it go in any peaceful way. There is a stage in which the Communists simply annihilate their adversaries. And there is another in which it is pertinent to sweet-talk the opponent with masquerade of a dialogue.

That is why Communist parties were illegal in so many countries for so long, a reasonable law by simple instinct of self-preservation. But today the democracies feel ashamed for being democracies–they carry a complex about being better in the face of the worst–such that no one is willing to defend the democratic establishment, either in the first world and in the developing nations.

So the Communists in Latin America, for example, although they are not all called that, now mine our social systems in blessed peace, and the entire continent tends as a bloc to violate citizens’ basic rights. Every caudillo legitimately holds his presidential seat for life, always with a red star in the logo of their respective parties.

Personally, I don’t believe that a party of violent inspiration and intolerant rhetoric should participate in the democratic game in any era. In Cuba, after fifty years of the Communist Party hijacking political life, it’s clear that there will be no democratic transition without the disintegration of the Party. And without making it illegal for a time perhaps similar to the despotic half-century of the Cuban Communists, whose contempt for dialogue soon became a contempt for decency.

In Cuba, a few days ago, TeleSur broadcast live and direct the dialogue between the opposition and Venezuela’s dictators. An opposition which unfortunately now has no other option than to sit at the dictatorial roundtable, provided it is authorized, and at the moment in which it best serves the powers-that-be to buy time to cauterize the popular protests, criminalize their leaders, and at the end of the day perpetuate themselves.

Venezuela’s rulers know well what they are doing. They are “dialoguing” for perhaps the last time. Soon they will not have to bother with these desperate deployments, where the entire planet is disturbed, but lazily so, by their hegemonic manias.

Soon the H in Havana will prove to be much more than a silent deadly letter. If there is no awakening among the international community, if the Venezuelan democrats who have given the best of themselves (their lives) are abandoned to their fate, as in their moment the world dismissed several generations of Cuban democrats, the made-in-Castro Communism will feel the impunity of falling, like a silent wasteland upon our future, always so futile in so many nations.

19 April 2014

Carromero’s Book and Death / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

The most sinister part of Death Under Suspicion is that it is the testimony of a man condemned to death, because Ángel Carromero reports that, before finally being deported to his homeland to serve the rest of his sentence in Spain (in December 2012), a Cuban State Security official warned him that if he ever told the truth, he would also be extrajudicially executed, like Harold Cepero and Oswaldo Payá.

You can believe Ángel Carromero now or not. It doesn’t matter. But there are thousands of dead for us to believe this horror of the Cuban official.

The Castro regime only lies in public. In private, never.

Read the entire article in English here.

2 April 2014

A Dictatorship Exactly Like the Cuban? / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

OLPL in el nacional screen shot 9 april 2014There are countries that never recover from totalitarianism. They remain anthropologically backward, even though, after a more or less traumatic transition from dictatorship to democracy they end up being First World countries.

Faith in themselves and in society dies. A desolate loneliness is sown in the souls of the surviving citizens, whether they were victims or executioners. All hope is hopeless. Even God ends up suspected of a debacle against divinity. They flee their past like the plague. The word never regains its shine of a human thing and is devalued, like a bridge permanently in danger of collapse. They cease to be a society to become something far more sinister and silent. This is the transcendent triumph of totalitarians: once installed, they are irreversible in perpetuity.

This happened in my country, Cuba, although almost no Cuban is capable of recognizing it, perhaps to avoid his share of the blame.

This is happening in your country now, Venezuela, and half the world seems to accept it with a criminal complicity.

When the machinery of the State is the deliverer of a Dogma that must be imposed at any price, be it Mohammed or Marx, when the government hijacks the balances that resolve and evolve within a modern society, when the individual is worth less than an amorphous mass, when a whole life turns into a vaudeville theater where the intelligence apparatus is manipulating its script with puppets and deaths, then the damage to civilization ends up being constitutional. Genetic. Generation after generation. The human being is annihilated with a bullet to the head, or condemned to decades in prison, or to permanent exile.

Paternalistic despotism is that simple, half slanderous and half childish, in its radical simplicity. Like a boy who, in cold blood, opens the entrails of a worm or a lizard that he trapped in the garden. Fascist childhood, Eden of all extremisms—and exterminations.

There is something almost sanctifiable in these serial murderers in the name of socialism and only of socialism, whether of the 21st century or antiquity: there is no totalitarianism that hasn’t justified its genocides in the sacred name of a social good, with or without mixing God into the equation of corpses piled over corpses piled over corpses. Rude geology.

Whoever tires (of killing), loses. That is the limitless logic of the State gangs, be they Muslims or Marxists.

And that happened in my country, Cuba, which in a few months paid with thousands of deaths—and with an exile in the millions—for the barbaric beauty of a Revolution that was applauded throughout Latin America.

And that is happening in your country now, Venezuela, which unfortunately applauded the Fidelist feast of the anonymous dead of Cuba, those who half a century back died in the mountains or on the scaffold, also for you, trying—even with the assassination of the commander in chief—to spare you this massacre that today continues to excite the wicked international Left.

No dictatorship is exactly like the Cuban. But Castroism is exactly like all dictatorships.

8 April 2014

The Castro Regime Kills and Doesn’t Lie / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 2.48.37 PMThe Castro regime is, above all, biopolitical. Power over the life and death of each one of the individuals, within and beyond the national frontiers of the wicked little island in the Caribbean Sea. The Castro regime is nothing if not necropolitical: death or the pardoning of life, at times with a legal view at times in a succulent secrecy.

The death penalty was restored in Cuba as soon as Fidel Castro’s guerrilla’s were installed in the Sierra Maestra. Ernesto Ché Guevara and Raúl Castro, two “leaders” who did not cause a single member of Fulgencio Batista’s constitutional army to fall in combat, loved to kill handcuffed men, especially when the accused came from the ranks of their own Rebel Army. So they won their ranks, their epaulettes gleaming with the cadavers condemned by “conviction.”

In the so-called “flatlands,” in the violent urban underground of 1957 and 1958, the Revolutionary death penalty was happily applied right in the Cuban streets by the shooters—not to be confused with the terrorists—of the 26th of July Movement (M-26-7). Continue reading

Oliver Stone’s Venezuela: Between Forgetting and Horror / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Scenes from Oliver Stone's new documentary 'Mi Amigo Hugo.' Photo: Created by Sampsonia Way via YouTube.

Scenes from Oliver Stone’s new documentary ‘Mi Amigo Hugo.’ Photo: Created by Sampsonia Way via YouTube.

For over a month now, the people of Venezuela have been joining together to protest the country’s Chavista government, which has ruled since Hugo Chávez took power 15 years ago. The demonstrations down on the streets and at the barricades are unstoppable. They form a sea of largely young people, a generation that has known no other reality but nonetheless is thoroughly fed up with the only one it knows. As a result, they are crying out that enough is enough.

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.

They are condemning the shortages, the wholesale delinquency, the government corruption, the ransoming of civil society (including the closure of the free press), Cuba’s meddling attempts at imposing a monolithic model of society, the electoral fraud, and the list goes on and on. Ultimately, they are denouncing the asphyxiation of the very fragile illusion that we call Latin American democracy. Continue reading

Carromero’s Last Days / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Ángel Carromero

Ángel Carromero

The young Spanish politician Ángel Carromero’s days are numbered. It could be 6 or 666 days, but it will not be a “natural” death. He knows it and his executioners also know that he knows it. So it must be in his still-open file in the confidential archives of Cuban State Security. Hence, the Ministry of Interior (MININT) thugs who let him leave Cuba contrary to every prediction warned him, with all historical honesty: if you talk, no one will save you from the long arm of evil.

Rest in peace, Ángel Carromero, witness to totalitarianism in its terminal phase. Nobody escapes the criminal Castroism in the democracies. Hence the fascist repudiation that was the Iberian Left’s welcome for this snitch of two assassinations, with the political correctness that demands we pardon the clan of the Cuban comandantes.

The Spanish publisher Anaya just punished Death Under Suspicion. A book that the intellectuals will literally turn to shit with their prejudices and opinions. They don’t believe this victim, nor any who come from Cuba. They don’t want to read this kind of gloomy witness to the meaning of Real Socialism’s survival. They don’t want to have to—and certainty not because of a Popular Party politician—stop showing solidarity with the Real Socialist Revolution. They don’t want to believe that Crimes of the State are possible in the mecca of international anti-imperialism. Nobody asked this right-wing guy, imprisoned in Cuba and in Spain no less, to spoil the Faustian fiesta of the European Left and its sentimental Castrismo.

Especially in Spain, where the hatred of everything Spanish that can be smelled from Havana (the only city on the planet where everyone wants to be Spanish).

I won’t say a single word about the book. There is nothing new in its pages. It’s just a testimony in the face of posterity, so that new generations will remember, when it pleases them, that at noon on 22 July 2012, in Cuba, the State committed a double assassination against the human rights activists Harold Cepero and the founder of the Christian Liberation Movement Oswaldo Payá, our first winner of the Andrei Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought from the European Parliament (2002), and perhaps also our first Premier when the Castro regime collapsed.

Carromero  already spoke. He spoke from minute zero, when men in plain clothes took him to the militarized hospital in eastern Cuba, the most vile area of our debased little island. Men in plain clothes who never spoke at the hijacked trial where they condemned Carromero in Cuba, a trial whose sentence of four years perhaps even the King of Spain himself now considers impeccable, such that the Iberian National Audience literally also throws shit all over this conspicuous case of a Spaniard* killed at the hands of another Spaniard.

It would not be strange that Oswaldo Payá’s death had been agreed to in advance, beyond the Plaza of the Revolution: perhaps with sectors of the Cuban exile interested in paving an economic path to reconciliation—the new reconcentration; perhaps with the quackquackquack Cardinals who, in the end, practically made Payá a Catholic pariah inside Cuba; perhaps with the high politics that is cooked up between Strasbourg and Washington DC, where, far from the thousand and one infertile forums, everyone agrees that democracy in Cuba has to wait. Contrary to Payá’s redemptive preaching, the last thing they want is for Cubans to recognize their rights. We have lived too many decades without rights, why insist now on these desires for freedom that will only destabilize our region in relation to Europe and the United States.

The Cuban people should express their gratitude for Ángel Carromero’s unarmed courage and they should hurry while he’s still alive. But I suspect that after the testimony of Death Under Suspicion, once again the idea of Revolution and the idea of crime-without-punishment will be synonymous with the idea of lack of solidarity.

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

*Translator’s note: Oswaldo Payá had Spanish citizenship; Ángel Carromero was driving the car in which he died.

From DiariodeCuba.com, 25 March 2014

Me in Venezuela’s “El Nacional” / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Yesterday, the OAS voted for much more than the silence of María Corina Machado. Yesterday the OAS sentenced her to the murderous loneliness of nasty socialism, which is the only one that germinates in America. Yesterday the OAS made itself an accomplice to a crime against morality which, like the coercive quotas of Venezuelan oil, muddies the miserable hands and tarnishes the reactionary faces of half a continent. Read the entire article here.

23 March 2014

With or Without the Organization of American States (OAS) / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 10.27.44 AMAs a child in Havana, more than a decade after Cuba had been expelled from the Organization of American States (OAS)—for placing itself within the Soviet Iron Curtain and constituting a danger to the region’s democracies—we were still forced to chant at school that slogan with no expiration date: “With or without OAS, we will win the fight.”

As kids we had no idea what “OAS” might mean. We imagined it as the imperialist bald eagle that frightened us in so many children’s songs of that era.

But our childish innocence wasn’t important, as long as we never flagged in our discipline as “Moncada pioneers”: that is, children capable of assaulting the Moncada barracks and dying fighting at dawn, disguised in the uniforms of those soldiers who were taken by surprise in Carnival season, as Fidel Castro did in the putsch of Sunday, 26 July 1953.

All that mattered then was to show and demonstrate our patriotic devotion in the classroom, shouting this slogan until the veins in our necks ached. We had no idea what “living in chains is to live in dishonor and ignominy” meant, but we just sang that line in our National Anthem with grim theatricality at every morning assembly.

It seems that the slogan of the Cuban Communists remains strongly in force. The government in Havana boasts it will never return to the OAS, and promotes parallel organizations—like the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States—to diminish the prestige and power of the OAS. And to top it off, Cuba controls, through a headless Venezuela, the geopolitical interests and economic dependence of the region, given that many Latin American ambassadors appearing in front of the OAS are nothing more than puppets, supporting or boycotting as a block in response to neocastroism’s strategic interests, be they “Twenty-first Century Socialism,” or “State Capitalism” or “Raulpolitik.”

Orlando and Maria in Washington DC

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo and Maria Corina Machado in Washington DC on 21 March

Yesterday, Friday March 21, I spent the day at the OAS in Washington DC. An odious odyssey of fears and lies was taking place within, in the opaque style of dictatorships, under the pretext that every people have exercised their right to decide through majority vote. But, in reality, we’re not talking about 100% sovereign nations. In the best of cases they are the pawns and parasites of the authoritarian chess game controlled from behind the Havana Curtain. In the worst of cases, they are despotic-populist regimes where the caudillo and his clan are legally “reelected” to the end of time, with no options for the opposition, and with an infiltration of intelligence forces comparable only to the criminal Plan Condor from decades back.

Yesterday, María Corina Machado was treated by a miserable majority at the OAS as a fugitive from supposed Venezuelan justice. Her companions—the student leader Carlos Vargas, the union leader Iván Freitas, and Rosa Orozco who became an activist after the assassination of her daughter Geraldine Moreno—were rudely censored and almost ejected in handcuffs from the building by OAS Security (not to be confused with State Security, much less with the murky Cuban G-2, which coerces without batting an eye—by force of blackmail and terror—Eurodiplomats, global magnates and Yankee congressmen and women: remember that Castro spies have been captured inside the Pentagon).

The message could not be more repugnant, with or without the OAS: the leaders of the area are delivering María Corina Machado into the jaws of some desperate usurpers between Havana and Caracas, who no longer care about formal procedures because they know their time is up and that only slaughter will keep them in their positions in perpetuity, if they finally manage to impose in Venezuela and the rest of nations that call themselves “Bolivarian”—that word which, like “revolution,” means nothing and is the cause of all the impunity—the civil cemetery in which we Cubans have lived since the first year of “our” Revolution.

María Corina Machado has humbly declared that there are millions of citizen leaders in Venezuela today. True, but this formula is completely useless to the rage of the repressors, who need to stigmatize, isolate, disable, imprison, exile, and even execute, as if by accident, a specific number of leaders.  A sacrificial relationship with good Venezuelans whom she and Leopoldo López now definitely represent. A limited list that is a limitless list of hope for finally eradicating—after more than half a century of myths and bullying—continental Castroism.

Yesterday, the OAS voted for much more than the silence of María Corina Machado. Yesterday the OAS sentenced her to the murderous loneliness of nasty socialism, which is the only one that germinates in America. Yesterday the OAS made itself an accomplice to a crime against morality which, like the coercive quotas of Venezuelan oil, muddies the miserable hands and tarnishes the reactionary faces of half a continent.

22 March 2014