14ymedio, Eliecer Avila, Warsaw, 23 October 2014 — Recently, a wide cross section of Cuban civil society and opposition has been invited to Poland. The program has included a broad array of activities; including a visit to a jail and the governmental palace, meetings with important political figures, debates and lectures.
What has struck me most was entering the archives of Polish Communist State Security. I had only seen such a degree of paranoia and meticulousness in movies, like the classic “The Lives of Others.”
But this time was different. We found ourselves face to face with 90 kilometers of documents, hundreds of thousands of records, operative cards, photos, video tapes, personal profiles, and information about collaborators and people under surveillance.
These records prove that in all the Russian communist colonies there existed similar repressive agencies that turned into the biggest and most sophisticated institutions of their time. The surveillance and repression of thought was the activity to which those countries devoted the most resources.
The National Remembrance Institute leads investigations to purge the responsibilities in thousands of crimes committed by State Security against Polish citizens, always under the guidelines of the infamous Soviet KGB.
The information that these documents hold even today can be vital for many people who aspire to occupy public office, now that new democratic institutions usually ask those in charge of the archive to investigate if in the past such-and-such a person collaborated with State Security.
The documents also reveal that practically no one escaped security surveillance. Priests, artists, intellectuals, diplomats, business owners, all foreigners and even the Communist leaders themselves were spied upon. To that end they used the most advanced techniques of the time, like steam machines to unseal and then reseal letters, microphones inside of homes, hidden cameras and personal tracking, among others.
Even Fidel Castro himself had his file in the archives of the Polish State Security
Even Fidel Castro himself had his file in the archives of the Polish State Security, even when cooperation was very tight between all the repressive bodies of the Soviet bloc, including Cuba.
In spite of all that Mafioso and apparently infallible machinery, the people knew how to find their way and free themselves from so much sick perversion and, in the majority of cases, undertake a road towards true development, with a foundation in a government of law and in open and democratic politics.
The gray days dominated by fear and sadness were left behind to give way to a multitude of colors in the plazas of cities like Warsaw and Cracow, converted into reference points for constant growth and improvement.
I am absolutely convinced that one day in the not-too-distant future we will show delegations from all over the world the archives and installations of State Security in Cuba. Officials and collaborators of the repressive apparatus will be like naked kings before the astonished gaze of new generations formed in pluralism and respect for others in order to rebuild the nation.
Translated by MLK