Agent 000 / Yoani Sánchez

The saga of undercover agents, of moles within the ranks of opposition groups, far from alarming me, made me yawn. When they show one of those “heroes” on official television, I feel like I’m watching a fictional serial, where the characters are actors, the script has been written by someone with literary talent, and the scenes were filmed over and over until they seemed convincing. The strategy of the secret police has been overly exploited on our small Cuban screens, too common a part of our Cuban reality. The idea is to make us believe that any friend, family member or even our own children could be some kind of Mata Hari, ready to make a case against us; to convert distrust into a paralyzing element.

I met Carlos Serpa Maceira once when he came to my house because he wanted to open a blog, and wanted me to help him in the endeavor. He happened to tell Reinaldo and me that he had studied in the Journalism school at the beginning of the 1990s. We asked him about some of our friends who had studied the same specialty in those years and were met by painful confusion. He didn’t know a single one of the names we mentioned. When he left, my husband and I remarked on the poor devil who had invented a university diploma. I confess that I didn’t associate him with State Security, but I labeled him with one of the strongest adjectives I utilize for individuals: pathological liar.

Two years later, last Saturday, I received a brief text message from Serpa Macier. In just 90 characters with four misspellings, he said he needed to see me urgently, or to call him. I did neither. It was a final ploy, desperate bait to be able to record a conversation with me which probably would have been on the program that aired last night. His face on the television was not a surprise, his delight in how he spied on the Ladies in White and independent journalist seemed pathetic. As the credits rolled on the serial, I sent a brief message to his mobile: “Rome pays the traitors, but it despises them.”

I wanted to say more, but he has enough already, what with the contempt he receives from his own Caesar, that institution for which he worked considers him nothing more than another “snitch.”

Translator’s note: Following is the Cubavision TV show aired on 26 Feb 2011 — “Pawns of the Empire” — with English subtitles.