God Will Provide Me a Legal Defender / Lilianne Ruíz

The majority of things that I afterwards write about, occur to me while cooking, washing dishes. Thus in a sense I have the logic of a housewife. Two plus two has to add up to four, even if the military men say the contrary. If the laws of the police are not just for the citizens, it is a priority to change the law. The laws are not relative; there are centuries of culture behind us, teaching us about the good and the evil. When the law identifies itself with the evil, you have to blame the law.

In these years there have been people that in of spite the repression, of the threats, and of the State Security’s dirty war against citizens, have persevered in denunciation and protest. I know from experience that the pain of others matters to few people, one has to feel close to the pain in order to feel any solidarity with the victims. I myself ignore the sufferings of a North Korean although I can imagine them on account of my own. The only hope of being supported in order to struggle against the bad laws, the bad politics that governs Cuba, is we Cubans in any place in the world where we are. I see them as coming from the outside.

In the building that I live in, many families live separated from their children. Those children have gotten on with their lives and forgotten. They can’t really be blamed for that. They are perhaps exhausted and dulled and I know that they can’t be counted on. I know too that since “Castro-ism”, families have  dispersed to all parts of the world with the purpose of supporting from outside, “La Revolucion”.

Who is it then that feels the pain of political prisoners? I don’t know if I deserve their pardon but “Voices Behind the Bars” came into my possession fifteen days ago. Fortunately they are already free but no-one knows for certain how many political prisoners remain in jail in Cuba or when the disastrous hand of the regime will put into play a new process of death, suffering, incarceration, for dissent, for protesting, for opposing as is their human right, a political party, in power by virtue of the violent powers of state that puts into effect laws of pure wickedness.

If here in Cuba there is little we can do to set this right, then I need something like a champion in the media age, like in the novel Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott. I want to believe that for me, this champion is God but God has always wanted to translate Himself in our hands, in the will of our hearts. I would like to say more, to dare myself to ask more, reading “Voices Behind the Bars”. Fear doesn’t paralyze me but why is it that I don’t feel terror ? Because of that, for certain, I’m going to denounce, I denounce it, because of the same terror that causes me to spend the next minute in Cuba without rights and without liberty.

Translate by: William Fitzhugh

March 11 2012

The Sunday of Lent / Lilianne Ruz

I climb the hill drawn by the magnetism of the chapel, by the theology school of the Dominican friars ( in spite of the torches of the Inquisition ) by the alpha and the omega, the cloistered life of the monks confer to my church a special something. “What is it to love thy neighbor? If we love everyone, we make no distinctions. On this morning, I feel a crazy love for Gorki, for El Sexto, for Ferrer, and for the Patriotic Union of Cuba.

Today I was thinking in my heart that it’s very easy to put a Christian to the test by obliging him literally to love his neighbor while in the gelatinous conscience, victims can be forgotten, that is the same as forgetting ourselves or even giving ourselves the luxury of not knowing them, which is equal to not knowing ourselves.

This is the moment of the performance, of not going off to fill our stomachs, to corner ourselves as if we were already at the margin because there are others who are suffering for us while we still have food and an enormous ego to pray only for ourselves. What shit is the conscience that can go to sleep so quickly. Because it’s known that even murderers love their families, they have cats and dogs, little fish and cry at the opera or some other trivial crap.

But they’re still bad and if the conscience turns to jello, it forms common cause with the bad. To have faith is to become an arrow of steel. For that, it’s been a while now that I don’t want to give the greeting of peace to the poor of Augustine and today I’m almost not able to look at her. She’s served me as a reference in order to say to God: “the brothers of this saint are guilty. Save us from the brothers of this saint who comes here and I don’t want to join in her prayers.

Cardinal Jaime Ortega, the hunger strike of Coco Fariñas, the perseverance of the Ladies in White took many years to obtain the freedom of the 75.* As a Catholic, I remember also that it was the Bishop of Santiago de Cuba who appeased his heart in order to intercede on behalf of that ¨Lord of the Flies¨ and in a very short time, managed to free him. That brevity with which the previous dictator** pardoned the armed attackers of a military barracks did not serve the decrepit rebels in avoiding the death of Zapata Tamayo, and distort the denunciation he made before dying that “El Jefe” of that armed assault was cooking spaghetti in his cell while the prisoners of Castro-ism were dying in cells blocked from any light. The whores of the regime were saying on television during those days that Zapata was crazy, that he was wanting to turn his cell into a suite and that’s why he was on a hunger strike.***

Is the fist of some brutish thug incapable of dialogue and of speaking the truth also waiting for me? But I keep saying that life without Christ is short and pray to my Lord and Savior that hell be closed around those responsible for this nightmare, in that death without resurrection, definitive, and without compassion. I know that Christ died for all but he also left open a path that the dictators of the Revolution have wanted to ignore. Now I plead to God to in turn ignore those who Him, that they be left unnamed and in this moment there will be light in this land (a Word from You will suffice).

And that you forgive me for not being able to forgive. I have no other strength nor hope other than God. Why is it that we have to surrender the idea that this world could be more than a vale of tears ? Here they’ve tried to spread the idea that this is a problem of Cubans and they don’t consider Cubans those who have emigrated, so that here on the island disarmed Cubans facing the knives of the regime are not even respected! If we plead for help, they accuse us of being mercenaries; why do they keep believing this story? They don’t see that this problem is everyone’s problem?

And above all, why is that what we had called the “invisible border” (this is what a wonderful Cuban blog called it ) they have invented “International Committees” of the left of the world to threaten even our great grandchildren, spreading their filthy doctrine that conceals such violence under the banner of the dispossessed and forgotten. There has to be another alternative which I would say is the Gospel but not to be forcibly imposed because that would be a crime against the soul, a treacherous one.

The Gospel is a an individual sacrament, a narrow road, a transformation of the conscience that many have called a “conversion” only with which one can achieve freedom. Perhaps our egoism should be cured by organizing networks of rescue for those less favored in life, to return the favor and not in order to condemn them to eternal poverty and lack of opportunity, to give to each and every one of them the dignity of the person, without killing anyone nor imposing on anyone neither ideology nor religion. But this is something the state can’t do and neither can a political party do because this would require condemning a society to a dictatorship.

Castro-ism is hypocritically speaking, worse, a false doctrine of the worst kind and if it is not stopped now, it might trap everyone. Above all, because in Castro-ism the poor and the forgotten will always be poor and forgotten and there will emerge as always, a Pharisee sect within the “Revolutionaries” that will not pardon any poor and forgotten family whatsoever if they incite indignation against them. This is a problem for the entire world. No-one should sleep any longer. No-one knows where the stone that is thrown today will fall.

Translator’s notes:

*”The 75″ are seventy-five individuals arrested in the “Black Spring” crackdown on political dissent which took place from March 18 to the 21st, 2003.  They were accused of being on the payroll of the United States and given sentences ranging from 13 to 27 years. By 2010, many were exiled to Spain. 

**A reference to Fulgencio Batista who pardoned the attackers of the Moncada Barracks after their attack. Among the attackers was a young attorney named Fidel Castro whose candidacy as a member of parliament ended when Batista cancelled the elections.

***Zapata Tamayo died while on a hunger strike in prison on February 23, 2010 at the age of 42. He denounced the conditions of prisoners in Cuban jails among other denunciations, stating that prisoners deserved the same conditions that Fidel Castro enjoyed while he was imprisoned for his abortive 1953 attack on the Moncada Barracks in Santiago. The Cuban government stated that his hunger strike was for a TV, a stove, and a phone in his prison cell.

Translated by: William Fitzhugh

March 1 2012



It’s been ten years ago already, in the purple-blue evening of Centro Habana, in an independent literary workshop that had the Ministry of Culture(made flesh in the person of the vociferous agent Fernando Rojas) dying of fear and envy, we had invited an activist from the Cuban independent press. What audacity for some intellectuals! (Today it looks like an unimportant novice’s mistake.)

It was shortly before the Black Spring that imprisoned (and even asked for the death penalty, although without officially validating it) dozens of our opponents of a more or less peaceful and digital nature. So we were all a bit frightened, in truth, including that author who did not show too much fighting spirit and in fact, a suspicious humility that we, beginning writers, not unreasonably confused with a lamentable lack of talent.

There did not shine in him that huge ego of those chosen to impact with a unique style (read me, for example). Our dissident certainly was a good guy of his home, but precisely because of this, was a lump of dough. None of us could imitate the author. Too little incendiary, too conservative in his little anti-establishment speech, too commonplace in the anti-dictatorial demagoguery that nobody in Cuba would dare to criticize, too much political peace in times of war uncivil to death.

At the end of his soullesstalk , it occurred to me to ask why the opposition was not threatening with at least a word of the violent kind. Nothing of terrorism, of course. Just a clean war with bullets or the gun that both sides will choose to exterminate themselves. After all, let’s not pretend to have been cheated.The Cuban Revolution will be only a truce of cadavers hidden with the stamp of Legal Medicine. Before and after that, we will murder ourselves again democratically in the middle of the street (and in the headlines). Long live the freedom of exhumation.

The good man turned pale to the level of 2003 (if they manage to arrest in March, he dies of a heart attack). Stu..stut..stutter..ter..tering… I had not the quality of a character narrator, obviously. I was not ready to survive a live debate before the cameras and microphones of the future. And then I did what the 99.99% of Cubans would do ( the exceptional hundredth continues to be me): he felt attacked and offended me in his own defense and in that of his party, I suppose, one of those matches where in barely four words, the words “Cuba” and “National” are set in front of the leg that makes them trip. I’m almost branded a collaborator of State Security (Everyone in Cuba is indirectly that still because no one has yet signed its dissolution) as well as a provocateur (of course I try not to have a dialogue with anyone without provoking them beforehand, without forcing them to be like they would be honestly in private).

Now I think maybe he himself was and he reported me to the authorities, who knows if looking for an impossible legitimacy for his illegal activity. Our system of block chieftains makes us protagonists just like in an act of repudiation** as in an already tiresome intellectual blindness. We don’t know how to read. We ignore all irony. And being a pacifist in the two thousands or zero years in Cuba, one is paid the going price (and life is not far from the highest), is a sort of totalitarian common denominator, a collective correctiveout of which we are guilty apriori, a hypocrisy to deceive foreign NGOs but of course not the local G2.***

Today I ask forgiveness of my poor opponent for the panic that I set into his soul that unspeakable night, for stoking his paranoia and laying bare his verbal violence (if he had had a gun, certainly he would have shot at me, at me yes; at the government; no ). Reason was not on his side, but he had suffered and was an aged creature in himself and in that other greater cage that is the Archicementerio of Cuba. Simply put, he was no longer a public figure, but appeared as such. He was, shall we say in scientific terms, an angel (an author in his Adamic phase, the most dangerous by naivete: it’s known that nothing is more genocidal than an angel).

Once in a while, as a creator of fictions that cause fractions, I go back to feeling out my question of 2003: when did violence lose its crazy glory in our lands ? I speculate severalsuicidal solutions in my narrative that is more outrageous than unprecedented. But the only answer that I love, even though I don’t know how to set it up in writing, is a class of conspiracy theory: only when the Cuban state will be useful, will manipulate like a puppeteer their good men for and against, until they set them to fight each other as a mechanism of governance.

Then it will not be worth columns nor “Gandhi-loquent”martyrologies like those of our hunger strikers cruelly posed (and disposed) to fail. Then it will be the crude bodies of the Cubans that will recover their most vile voice. And then only if we will be free to massacre ourselves mutually in peace.

For the moment, war is too unambiguous, too scripted so that it is guessed in advance, too bored by its lopsided scoreboard.

Translator’s notes:
*The original title is:”En la masmedula de la muerte.” “Masmedula” is a word invented by the poet Argentinio Oliverio Girondo
**”actos de repudio” or acts of repudiation and disowning is a tactic used by the government to harass and intimidate dissidents. It typically involves the creation of a mob of “indignant citizens” outside the home of an opponent of the government to shout slogans favorable to the government and threaten anyone entering or leaving that home.
***G2 is the Cuban government internal police force in charge of intelligence gathering on Cuban citizens.

Translated by: William Fitzhugh

January 20 2012

The High Court predicts an increase in competition from the Municipal Courts / Yaremis Flores

Yaremis Flores

The Supreme Popular Court foresees an increase in competition from the Municipal Courts during this current year 2012. This reform was predicted in the setting of meetings between professional judges and involves the integration of crimes with penalties ranging from three to eight years, to the understanding of municipal authorities

According to current legislation, the Municipal Courts are capable and fit to know sanctionable deeds with the deprivation of liberty or incarceration up to three years. With this new change, they would be able to punish someone selling beefsteak or a bearer of a firearm, among others

This transformation, aimed at alleviating the backlog of work in the Provincial Court, nevertheless requires fundamental changes. Some of those provide a high level of improvement and adequate protection of judges.

With respect to this, a professional judge of the municipal court of the Capital affirmed that:”I fear for my security. The penalties are more severe and unlike those who work at the High Court, we don’t even get worker’s transportation. I have even ended up with the accused or their family members, in public transportation after having conducted their trial!”

The neglect of the circumstances of the lives of judges is alarming. It contributes to demotivation and in the worst of cases, to an increase in corruption and impunity. The only incentive received by functionaries of the courts is a bonus of 60 pesos in national currency* to buy clothes and footwear in a shop whose prices are not favorable. And this after a rigorous selection process that prevents enjoyment of the prize to those who apply for certificates ofmedical leave, leave without salary or workers on maternity leave even and when appropriate dress is demanded of workers in the judicial system.

December 27 passed as a commemoration to Day of the Courts — December 23 — an event was held at the Social Circle, located in the Capital. Nevertheless the budget of the High Court did not even factor in a defraying of expenses for the refreshments of the guests of honor who paid for their own appetizers at the same price offered to the public.

However, Rubén Remigio Ferro, president of the highest judicial authority, said at the close of the year in his disclosure of the rendering of accounts to the National Assembly that: “noteworthy steps have been consolidated in advance in the improvement of the conditions of work and attention given to the necessities of judges and other functionaries of the system.”

*Translator’s note: Cuba has two currencies. One, the CUC is tied directly to the U.S dollar but the other “moneda nacional” is worth less. The bonus amounts to about $2.50 US.

Translated by: William Fitzhugh

February 29 2012

Unusual Experiences at Hospital Nacional / Yaremis Flores

  Foto: Yaremis Flores Yaremis Flores

Amparo awoke in the room while a tube scraped against her throat. Endoscopy, a delicate and risky technique which they performed without adequate anesthetic. This 55-year-old woman used to be Doctor Gonzalez. Something’s up and she knows it but her colleagues can’t find what. She is now the patient in bed 33, room 5B of National Hospital. The nurse on the earlier shift thought that they would be able to “sell her a pig in a poke” with the Rocephin. A third generation antibiotic very sought after on the black market.

The modus operandi is to add water to the Rocephin solution with the aim of saving the rest for business. Amparo as a doctor noticed this detail in the end; the solution didn’t look as yellow as it should. Now the ingenious doctors added crushed Polivit to mask their scam.

There are lazy and irresponsible people who no longer debate between the good and the bad. They don’t think twice about profiting from the misery of others. Patients and family members complain to the director of the center, Doctor Armando Aguiar. But everything continues and nothing changes.

Doctors without gloves. Baths without water. Dirty tiles. Customary insects. A small room with six beds. Medical students eager to experiment with the suffering at hand. The doctors no longer say much about the illness. They prefer to read their Clinical History.

The personnel of the infirmary receive the dose of the medicines to be administered from the physicians. But poor are those who have not yet settled on or been assigned their prescriptions. Nurses do not always bring the pills at the time indicated. And it’s wise to stay alert because they confuse those prescriptions.

No-one can be sure if there really is a shortage of Tambutamide (for diabetes) or Niphedipine (for hypertension). Outside the hospital, an old man with blister packs of pills in hand, offers them for sale.

In this country, it’s better to not get sick, here I’ve seen things that I never imagined” Noelia said, a diabetic patient of ninety in bed no. 34 , Room 5 B. She was admitted last December the eighth for cardiac weakness and fluid accumulation in her lungs. She’s taking her medicine for diabetes because she brought it from home.

The text of the Constitution establishes the right of all to medical care and the duty of the state to guarantee it. Any person dissatisfied with a delivered health service can complain to the Ministry of Health. the Law of Public Health holds this ministry responsible for carrying out measures designed to avoid violations, measures that include disqualifying or barring doctors and nurses who fail to comply with their professional obligations or ethics.

The paths of Amparo and Noelia have crossed in this place. The first was never in the shoes of the patient. The second, her experience by contrast, so different from the news shown on television. As if they had been friends forever, they share their miseries and their joys, passing up the hospital food. Both wish that this were just a bad dream.

Translate by W. Fitzhugh and others

February 27 2012

What Was I Doing Before? / Lilianne Ruíz

I have been many Lillis, and all are me, one of those Lillis tried to escape from a confinement to which my mother condemned me, at age 22 at the Fajardo Hospital, really depressed after an abortion and drugged by one Dr. Justo against my will, I jumped without knowing what I was doing from the third floor. I didn’t break even one bone but underwent a lengthy surgery.

Since then, craziness doesn’t sit so badly with me. But in countries governed by an ideology that demands concurrence and standardization, any display of sensitivity, any human reaction to such an inhumane order, can be considered insanity.

It is not I who says that, many people worldwide more intelligent than I or better informed have studied it. But I have suffered it, I know what it is about and the maturity of 30 years has granted to me that I like being who I am as opposed to being the same as all the rest. Within me there flow secret springs in which I believe in more and more each day.

Returning to the chronology; what I was doing before writing in my blog: Absurdities More Absurdities Less, seven years went by.

At one time, I loved Rene, the father of my daughter, in those nights in which we made love on the beach under the illusion of being truly in love and in fear that they would steal our clothes, an hour after having ecstatically watched, while sitting on the hood of a matte gold BMW, the cranes at the Port of Havana, that seemed like dinosaurs, moving the containers, as a night of so much fun followed me in the distance throughout Old Havana.

To be a mother did change my life. I want it all and above all I want it all for her, Olivia Mariana, more than my own soul. Her first name is for the olive trees, and the olives and the balsam trees and her middle name for the Virgin Mother of God.

In 2008, before the passage of Hurricane Ike, my father died in Santovenia, an institution for the elderly cared for by nuns. Miraculously, by calling on the Virgin of Guadalupe and the Mother Prioress, I was able to improve the situation for my father. I started living alone and taking care of everything, always on the lookout for my miracle and its verification.

I have changed skin so often, without ceasing to be me, dressing up, translating and betraying myself, trying on, getting lost and finding myself again. To save myself and my daughter,  God in my heart, always waiting for me to turn back, painting the next stage of my life, posing before me, the riddle in order to find him. My friend Macho whom I love very much and who has proven to be the oldest tree in my life, who resists me always, saying that I collect unusual situations.

Three years ago, my friend Jean sent me a Japanese man who wanted to rent the second room of my house for himself. I offered a ridiculously low price given the despair that I had about needing to buy food. As I like to respect the law, I told my future tenant that we would go to Immigration the next day to apply for permission. He asked me to move his things: consisting of two pairs of shorts, some shirts, two bags of soy milk and his computer.

They denied us permission, even though we pretended to be a pair of lovers, to the surprise of the officer who attended us because that Japanese guy was very gay.

While returning, something extraordinary happens to me. I felt it more than he, I needed that money from the rent in order to buy food but the fine for letting him spend the night without the permission of Immigration would be $1500 and we were already warned.

It was a memorable night because when I asked him nicely to gather his things since there was no deal made nor was there any advance payment and he had noting to lose but I did, he gave me a shove in the chest and said to me in Spanish with a “manga” accent “…tonight, no.”

I had to call some neighbors so that they would help me convince him. They called the police who sent an official who looked like the comedian “Cabo Pantera” who said to him in Japanese with the eastern accent of the police “What do you have there cousin?” pointing to an object that he had been keeping in his suitcase.

To my shock and surprise, it turned out to be a katana ( those curved swords of the samauri, this one was the size of a kitchen knife ) wrapped in a silk handkerchief. That image of the Japanese guy in slow motion unwrapping the sword wrapped in silk forms a part of the novel of my life.

The following year, I met a man with whom I had an intense love affair, younger than I, a professional chef, who besides being a pompous and pretentious lover, prepared the most exotic meals that I’ve ever tasted, and gave me a rest from my anguish over survival.

It never seemed odd to me that he always had some condoms at hand that were of a brand “Trojan” that are not sold in Cuba. One afternoon, I discovered that in order to maintain the household, he was pimping males to foreigners in Parque Central*. I thanked him for the “Trojans” which are strong condoms while I threw him out of my house without compassion

Last year I decided to test my luck selling products on the black market. They weren’t food products but could have been Colgate toothpaste, socks, “calentitos“( sexy underwear), blouses, or shirts. I ended up opposite a successful, independent merchant, the owner of that business that saves Cuban men and women from the exorbitant prices of clothes in the state-owned shops, clothes of even poorer taste than his which I understand come from Ecuador.

I must have not seemed very skillful with sales because about the only conversation he managed to have with me was his insistence on inviting me to have a beer but I don’t like those guys and I don’t like beer.

I left without merchandise to sell and I was no longer able to imagine myself going out into the street with a suitcase of clothes and Palmolive soap, stationed in the front steps of “Ultra“** like the other vendors that sell even fake ponytails.

When I think seriously, I realize I was lucky that he didn’t give me anything to sell, those guys are dangerous, but besides that, at that time, the sale of clothes “por fuera”*** was illegal and it would have been absurd for me to go looking for a problem with the law on account of something I don’t believe in anyway and it would not have made sense to go through with it and take responsibility for it.

Then I set myself to think about the desire I was feeling to meet Laura Pollán, to go to Santa Rita and extend my hand and a kiss to the Ladies in White and that I was willing to put myself at risk because I do believe in that. I never managed to go. When I got to know the house, Laura was no longer in this world because her ashes were being cast to the wind.

And from all that I was thinking and feeling then, I wrote my first post and baptized my blog and since then I feel like the person I am.

This terrible situation can no longer crush me without receiving my response, my punches, if I can make myself responsible for expressing myself in my blog. I can challenge the government that condemns the people to theft, to prostitution, to detrimental solutions that condemn the course of their lives for the rest of their lives, because the Law of Love that governs the Universe in spite of wickedness and of dictators, shields me.

It has also given me new friends; today Augustin of the blog Dekaisone who found out that we don’t have food and brought us beans, some meat, and pasta for a week. Having a blog doesn’t pay money but it gives the gift of a network of friends.

To recognize yourself in the soul of another person doesn’t let you fall. Living in this same city, seeing the same view, surviving those years without electricity, without food, without shoes, without understanding anything, at age 17, more rebellious than ever, made me find an alternative in the face of the sustained attack of the all-flattening ideology, the urgent necessity of finding God in my heart and that if God has named me, only for me, so that I never forget Him.

With this secret that can be shared, I aspire to unite my efforts with those of many people who work for the peace and freedom of Cuba.

Translator’s notes:

*Parque Central near Old Havana, with its monument to Jose Marti, is where men meet to discuss baseball. It is located in an area frequented by foreign tourists and is surrounded on three sides by large hotels for foreigners.

**A large department store on Galiano Street in Havana.

***Literally “on the outside” this refers to clothes taken from the official supply chain and sold to others to sell on the black market. This is a way to increase sales volume and therefore profits.

Translated by: Hank Hardisty and William Fitzhugh

February 15 2012

How Night Fell (Cómo llegó la noche*) / Lilianne Ruíz

It would be really good if the Cuban Revolution were to finally admit that it has a lot of political opposition, peaceful and civil, from within and without the island. Because from the beginning, “The Revolution” refused to admit that it was having “political problems” within its own borders. It’s more confused and wastes more time discovering the lie if it presents the campaign against dissidence as if The State has “Patriotic Urgency” or “The Threat to Sovereignty” and “National Socialism (Communism ) is the most progressive alternative” and that those who oppose a political party and its dictator are “mercenaries” with neither will nor heart”.

But all that is false and honesty can still be useful, not for “humanity” but rather for each human being, small and infinite, with rights and with worth. If having faith, hope, and love of life didn’t make sense, if it were preferable to keep quiet, to look the other way, to forget to be the protagonist of your own life, to make your dreams real. Why Christ, the God in which I believe, is it taken so seriously that even…….

For a powerful reason was he abandoned on the cross to be tortured until death, being killed for the maladies that we’re capable of and that only He can pardon. Must we give up that this world be a place to inhabit in well-being and security? Do they have to keep governing the barbarians while we take refuge in religion but are not capable of acting with faith in life?

So many deaths in the Stalinist collectivization, such a genocidal Marxist doctrine in order to justify the class struggle. Who can be leftist nowadays without admitting that they are complicit in or guilty of, genocide. It isn’t even worth recommending to the stupid of the world who believe in the kindness of socialism to come to my country to see the outcome because recently I’ve discovered that there are people who need to be submissive, servile, managed, rationed, justified in their envy in staying on the margins of their wishes, anything God only knows, and for this reason they stay as Marxists in the world.

No-one believes anymore in the story of socialist justice because Wilman Villar and Zapata Tamayo were very humble men who never got respect for their rights when they were slowly killed. The Left isn’t humane, it’s fascist. Fascism is the extreme left and Communism is fascist. There was a Hitler because there existed a Lenin and a Stalin. This is the real cause of the second World War, the opportunistic German disciple of Cominterm ( Communist International ) ambition and the Soviet extermination camps with the novelty of nationalism but don’t forget that National Socialism is another form of socialism, no less bloody than communism. It is the worst swindle and those that hold it up high like a flag in the world or are very frustrated and are disguised serial killers, or the poor; they are idiots and idiots cannot guide the destinies of millions of people.

*Translator’s note: The title of this post is taken from a book by Huber Matos.

Translated by: William Fitzhugh

February 23 2012

Forbidden Books / Lilianne Ruíz

Well now I am in my house, just returned from the sixth birthday of Ada’s twins; Ada is the sister of my friend Agustín. I love going with my daughter, all very simple, just great in the way that she knows how to share this family whose roots are in Villa Clara.  There is nothing warmer than a home of Cuban peasants. And Agustín; he administers the Dakaisone blog.

The girls have played, the adults have chatted.  When a person lives in a country with laws that limit what one can eat, what books you can read, what you are permitted to do and what you risk when your conscience wants to take you beyond that, you go over and over the same things, but it is left to the rest to talk about their experience and why it is a good thing to find other similar people who repeat to each other with their own voice what you already know.  Nobody has a solution, only to speak about resistance.   The resistance of conscience that knows to plant itself on free ground and which can face the winds that the constipated entrails of the Revolution spew, not without holding our noses. A beautiful and tragic image of the awoken conscience in the middle of a sewer.

At the party, I met Omaida and her daughter Jennifer. Omaida is the source for a network of independent libraries. The term “independent library” could sound strange but in communist countries, in dictatorships of the extreme left, such libraries are the only oases of good literature. In the case of Cuba, the history of literature is not even totally complete  for the twentieth century. All that was saved was what the magazine Orígenes collected. The second half of the twentieth century is empty in the piles of shelving or repeated in others, such that it seems like no-one writes poetry that is worth the trouble in the contemporary world, or novels, or essays that are not indigestible in the realm of the Americas.

As for myself, I’m getting sick and tired of Saramago and the Castro’s personal Columbian friend (Gabriel Garcia Márquez ) because I’m convinced that enough better literature has been written in the world than to have to forgive the creator of the town of Macondo of his mortal sin. I have books that are dearer to me but they continue to be back issues to which I can return as is only possible when so few books are known.

In Cuba, only the friends of the Revolution get published. Because the Revolution; apocalyptic beast with the number of man that “very few have understood” is a beast with few friends. It can’t survive when it is compared to the free expression of the mirror that has found its nature in the vacuum between the freedom of the glass and the quicksilver, the absoluteness of the death of ideologies, the easing of the mind before the serenity of a lake that perfectly reflects a mountain, the silence of haiku.

It is rare to find a book from Octavio Paz, Vaclav Havel, M. Kundera, Vargas Llosa, absolutely impossible to find a book from Carlos Alberto Montaner.  It is easier to be badgered by Italo Calvino who was a communist or Eduardo Galeano who has remained as the only one that state misanthropy can resort to.  Calvino wrote very very well, but Galeano did it terribly terribly badly, and used the case of Cuba as a symbol, I’m not sure of what, but he behaves for the world like no Cuban resident of the island does.

In this Cuban experiment, that is about how submissive human nature can become when it submits to the absolute control of government political and economic totalitarianism, it has been seen that the first recourse has been the education of “the people” that are thought of like livestock.  The example of that unglamorous little library where the ex president of the island made the curatorship of the University’s books for everyone without universality.  The information that the conscience would be subjected to was selected carefully, it was repeated, it was threatened and the result is this will to survive in an autophagic way, to not protest save a few exceptions. On of the ways to produce consciousness to open up the bandwidth of information, providing news, evangelizing with the literature of liberty, and for this reason it is a crime to administer a separate library.

That’s how I learned, with horror, about the harassment to which Omaida has been subjected by state security. They sent an agent she describes as having crawled out of a dumpster who has the nerve to sit uninvited in her living room and threaten her.  And although it seems like something out of a bad Bukowski novel, he dares to call on her birthday to remind her that an evil shadow lurks where only her guardian angel should dwell.

But these guys have no fear of God. She also told me that the chief agent made a visit too, a man who can cite books and authors. Undoubtedly he is autistic, because agents do not understand what they read. Their core value is the constipated revolution. These thugs do not know the potential Delphic curse Lezama invented having to do with the famous inscription “gnothi seauton” (displaying my complete ignorance of Greek), which means “Know thyself.” That is what literature is for: to illuminate, to transport, to change the adornments of the soul until its final form is found, released by the image.

My Christian charity is not sufficient to pity them.

Translated by William Fitzhugh 

January 30 2012

Ideology, Later Not Being / Lilianne Ruíz

I can’t stand ideas. I aspire to a pure understanding of reality and of myself but I have to postpone it. I read in order to erase, in order to find within the forgotten. Or in the memory, which is the same. I get scared seeing myself in the street surrounded by people who cause a tremendous sense of exhaustion in me and I like to just stay in my house. Nevertheless, I have to go out, to take my daughter to school, to prevent the confusion that can cause her to think that mom believes that the heroes are not heroes, that vowels are not red nor are consonants blue. It’s too bad that I don’t have at hand that book by Rimbaud that neither gives me the true color of the vowels but music, the rhythm of beauty transformed into a chord.

Today my daughter has cut out for me a pile of paper jewelry, a necklace, earrings, rings. After having seen a documentary that included the testimony of a widow from Villar, I feel like quitting everything and staying shut in with my daughter in my ark until the flood that hasn’t stopped for 53 years, where plants , animals, and people have been lost, finally passes. I don’t know if I have an ark. And worse, after the deaths of so many people considered pariahs by the Brahmans of communism, is the fact that the majority of Cubans on the island are apathetic regarding the suffering of opponents of the regime. They repeat fragments of the speech of the flood not because they are even convinced but because they have come to forget the fear, just looking for alternatives in order to survive and to get the impression that they live in the most contemporary style.

So if I were to ask a DJ who works a disco, he will say to you that politics are not his thing, that one has to live. David Torrens, who I do not know, but with whose stuck-up representative I exchanged a few words while looking for work, would say that art is their thing. My friend Taisuki, who’s getting more and more lost to my sympathies, has told me that her thing is beer and cheap clothes that she treasures as if they were out of a copy of Vogue magazine. The ration book shopkeeper has told me that he was born into “this”  and that he can’t do anything about it and that “you have to live”. Cuba will have, as some say, “human capital” but it’s hard to find people who persist in the effort of discerning between good and evil.

I detest the preaching of virtue since we’ve already seen where San Ignacio de Loyola leads to by effect of the butterfly, the poor; what a trap! I prefer forgetting. Or, simply that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and I insist that responsibility is inseparable from freedom. There is no end in the creation of ideology, I wish the ocean would just wash away ideology. In a brain inhabited by only one doctrine, with an ideology that cannot pass the test of forgetting, to  truly format itself,  there are vast extensions, that by absence of blood circulation, are dead. The power of mirrors but it’s necessary to test which images reflect the face of our humanity and which do not, which images call together the amazing company and which drive  them away to leave us alone.

To Theresa of Avila, the experience of climbing the Jacob’s ladder is a symbol, it left her stunned. What would Theresa de Avila do if she wakes up in Cuba? Would the silliness of this infused understanding make her desist from the compassion of my Virgin before the downtrodden? Could the ground upon which we step be planted with the emptiness of love? Not with the emptiness but with its image, without saying the word “love” too much, love has to be a void in speech, the powerful trumpets of the Temple of Jerusalem, the reign of the image. This is my ark. If I can still try, without guilt, to be happy tomorrow, it is not because the “Battle of Ideas” that is forming the “New Man” (read: “political police”) is any less bitter, paranoid schizophrenia induced from the Tribuna* all the way to the eastern half of the island, that killed Villar.

If I can be happy tomorrow, it is for the perseverance of life, because not even the Totalitarian State has power over dreams, but it’s necessary to get Teresa out of her silliness so that the lizard is not stuck so firmly to the inside of the pot, so that earthly happiness is given up, the rain, the paper jewelry, and to be able to enjoy all this without threats. Is it necessary to give up making laws in the world that guarantee that the right to life does not exclude the right to freedom? Lezama has written a beautiful text entitled Teresian Non-rejection. If all this effort were impossible for us, there would remain hope for the awareness of good and evil. One does not condemn a man for cheating, one does not let him die of hunger, one does not separate him from his family, he is not to be tortured, he is not to be left in the cold, never, but much less so, for having declared himself opposed to a government that condemns him to misery, to fear, to not being.

*Translator’s Note: The “Tribuna” is a stage with a podium that has been constructed in front of the U.S Interest Section in Havana. It is here that officials of the Cuban government including both Fidel and Raul Castro, give speeches, often condemning the United States.

Translated by William Fitzhugh

January 31 2012

Human Rights / Lilianne Ruíz

These days there’s a spot on Cuban television that shows a series of watercolors of butterflies from one of the five officials of the Interior Ministry imprisoned in the United States. For me, a Cuban citizen, prisoner of the narrow ideological setting of this island, discontented with “socialist legality”, without the right to complain, it doesn’t seem that bad to me that a person, a human being, could paint watercolors while hoping to be free because all prisoners hope to be free.

But I can’t help but contrast it with the stories that are told of Cuban jails, especially for political prisoners who, ever since their detention, have been victims of socialist legality whose first act is to pretend to ignore human rights.

Ultimately though, I don’t wish a certain René* the captivity that his colleagues inflict on opponents of the regime. I don’t wish that they inject him with psychotropic substances as they have been known to do to the Ladies in White nor that he be beaten, nor psychologically tortured. Not even that he turns up in a wheelchair like Sigler Amaya, so different from that image of strong biceps that was presented to us in the first of the five officials to be liberated.

Because the Communists have the right and the opposition does not; this is at the root of the socialist ideology and legality. It is in that insult ’gusano” (worm) with which they were ordered to attack the opposition. The Communists have always acted within this legality because there is no legality above them that protects everyone. They use the laws of North America because the United States is not the the west into which they have converted Cuba.

Translator’s note: René Gonzales, one of the “Cuban Five” recently released from prison and now on parole in the United States.

Translated by William Fitzhugh. United States

December 19 2011