Fernando Ravsberg, correspondent for the BBC in Cuba, has published an extension of the misrepresentations, manipulations and deceits with which the Cuban official media have sought to confuse the Cuban people and the rest of the world for over half a century. He has published it in his own blog, perhaps because the daily four pages that the newspaper Granma— the Communist Party’s organ — publishes were already full.
This time, to the falsehoods copied from the Round Table (the government’s political talk show) and to the absurd accident theory that the government provides to explain the deaths of my father, Oswaldo Paya, and of Harold Cepero, Fernando adds some entanglements of his own invention. He claims that Angel Carromero, the young Spaniard who was driving the car, and Aron Modig, the young Swede also in the car, traveled to the island to proselytize and to distribute money.
My friend, Harold Cepero recently wrote that “those who have the courage and freedom to choose a path of peaceful political work know they are exposed to nothing short of absolute solitude, labor exclusion, persecution, imprisonment or death.” His life and death are sincere and radical confirmation of his thought.
Ravsberg chooses not to mention that most Cuban dissidents lose their jobs, that they and their families are treated as social pariahs and are condemned to misery, especially outside Havana, where the foreign press is not interested to go. Instead, Fernando highlights the hypocritical moral debate regarding whether or not the opposition should be provided material support, as if elsewhere and in other times, during the struggles in oppressed societies, with many examples in Cuba’s history, regime opponents had not been positively supported by sympathizers and exiled communities.
I wonder how many countries of the world Ravsberg knows where dissidents cannot travel freely in their own country because their names are in all police stations and airports. In what other dark corners of the planet do political police stop opposition members from meeting through blackmail, threats, beatings, arrests or “accidents.” This is the reason why young supporters who came to meet my father sometimes facilitated transport for him. This fact is far from the version that this reporter from the BBC and the Cuban government are determined to sustain.
Fernando lies intentionally because he knew my father very well and is aware that no one could give him orders on how to organize the Christian Liberation Movement (MCL), a movement with 24 years of history with young members who have a clear vision and path. My father enjoyed freedoms that Fernando probably has never experienced despite coming from a democratic country: the freedom to live responsibly, to be consistent with one’s principles, thoughts and feelings, to be illuminated by his faith, these freedoms know no owners.
Mr. Ravsberg employs the most cynical colonialist tone to discuss the concerns of my people, simplifying us, saying that us, “the cubanitos”, will have enough if food appears in the markets and buses at the bus stops. Subtly he adds himself to an orgy of lies which aims to entertain the public, with a façade of poorly implemented economic reforms, which cover the fraudulent change my father often denounced.
Ravsberg, you enjoy the privileges that come with living in Cuba as a foreigner, you live above the disadvantages of all Cubans.
Your children can get in and out of the island, as they live their lives in Spain, but my brother has not been able to go meet his uncles in Madrid. I wonder if you have had to wait 5 years to visit your son, that’s the punishment doctors receive when they decide to live Cuba. You’re so used to ignoring these disadvantages that you dare to suggest Cubans do not care about human rights. How dare you despise people in such a racist way, the people you have lived off for so many years?
Thank God that today there are many initiatives in the cultural, political and social fields that manifest the dissatisfaction of the Cuban people and promote peaceful change. I would like to remind you that the Varela Project is supported by over 25,000 signatories, and it continues to exist because it intends to make changes in the law and not in the constitution, its purpose is to realize basic rights we still must conquer.
Thousands are signing the Heredia Project, which aims to give the people the right to leave and enter Cuba freely, to reside in any part of the country. It demands a stop to the humiliating internal deportations Cubans suffer and seeks to guarantee equal opportunities without exclusions due to ideology and to provide internet access to all at a price that the people can pay. These are independent and spontaneous initiatives that reflect the aspirations of many citizens.
Cubans, inside and outside the island, need our basic rights to design and build the Cuba we want. Our ingenuity, hard work and skills, which have been demonstrated even in times of crisis, are proof that we will be prosperous despite the destruction 50 years of communism will leave behind.
I assure you, Mr. Ravsberg, the food and the buses will come when we Cubans have our right to work for the right price and have real economic, social and political opportunities that allow us to participate in the process of building our own future. This is why we are fighting for our rights; this is the freedom we are demanding. We are getting closer to obtaining it because even those who persecute us, those whom you serve, are also our brothers, they are also Cubans and will benefit from democracy.
You have been in my house many times and now pretend not to remember how to spell my father’s name, a technique you have learned from the Roundtable. You have used my father’s name to supplant the truth, and have offended his memory, my family, the entire opposition and all Cubans. That is too low even for a correspondent for the Roundtable.
Translated by Cleonte
5 September 2012