Banana Dissidence

Dania Virgen García is a journalist like Usaín Bolt is a cosmonaut.

Her story is one of an imposter. Before the flood of material and political shortages that Cuba experiences, some citizens, spontaneously, feel deeply that the road of dissent is a good way of changing the state of affairs.

Okay. It’s fair that all have their own point of view and try to share in the pie of transformation that inevitably will happen on the island. But to invent a curriculum for oneself is a stretch. Writing notes or having a blog is not rocket science.

To do journalism on one’s own or have a blog is a kind of personal exorcism. A venting. A cry with all your lungs. A particular prism that permits you to observe and reflect the life of your people and your country. Nothing special.

History is what is narrated. News is that which is worth telling. But on this island of unproductive sugar cane, there are often Cubans who dissent, who believe themselves to be wild cards. Or an octopus.

They are five in one: journalist, blogger, opposition member, human rights activist and independent librarian. It’s not possible to try to write in a way that is the most objective possible if you are the spokesperson for a party, a group or a political tendency. Or if you claim to play several roles at the same time.

The road of opposition or independent journalism generally is taken by people who had a trajectory in Fidel Castro’s revolution. and with courage they distanced themselves and criticized the manner of governing of the lawyer from Birán.

But once in the dissident movement, they are in the habit of burdening themselves with a series of unmistakable phenomena with the single way that Castro used to manage public matters. Consciously or unconsciously, they place on the opposition the same Castro stamp. And they convert themselves into clones dressed as dissidents of the one and only comandante.

Inside some parties and internal opposition groups you find individuals, strong leaders who are corrupt, who practice nepotism and trafficking in favors just like you would drink a glass of water.

When the government throws them into the street and they can no longer earn a living, they join the line of help offered by governmental agencies of the United States. Help, of course, that also has generated an apparatus of opportunists in Miami, under the pretext of “the struggle for liberty and democracy in Cuba.”

From my point of view, it’s lawful to write, and for a web page or a newspaper to publish and pay you. Or to place advertising on blogs. What I don’t think is good is for agencies of the federal government of the United States to send money to the dissidents.

The regime in Havana stays silent, criticizing the interference of the Americans on the island. But if someone cannot speak it this respect it’s this government. during many years not only has it sent money but it also has sent specialists and weapons to parties of the left or guerrilla groups in Latin America.

Just because the Castro brothers are immoral and unscrupulous, the opposition leaders shouldn’t be the same. I think that if the United States didn’t interfere in our internal affairs, there would still be opposition leaders, independent journalists and true bloggers, not ones invented or inflated.

It’s true. In an impudent way in Cuba, the inalienable rights of human beings are transgressed. But in my opinion this doesn’t justify building an opposition more toward the exterior than trying to resolve the acute problems of the country.

If the stagnation of the Castro government lasts, it’s partly the fault of the banana dissidence that we have.

And from Cubans who lack ethics, who elevate the story of a simple woman to a “legend,” with more litigious family members than preparation, who one day decided to write basic news. And from night to morning they announce her as “a big star of independent journalism.”

Perhaps that’s the problem in Cuba. A lot of ego and little talent. Too much protagonism. And believe me, it’s nothing personal. Against no one.

Iván García

Photo: EFE. Provincial Court of Havana, Friday, May 14, 2010. Dania Virgen García and an unidentified opposition member give the victory sign, upon her release with a fine of 300 pesos (13 dollars), after an appellate court judgment on García’s detention, at the end of April, when she was sentenced to 20 months, accused of a crime related to domestic violence.

Translated by Regina Anavy