CDR: The Number of Spies is Not Rationed / Tania Diaz Castro

In Every Neighborhood, Revolution

HAVANA, Cuba, July, Cubans know that Fidel Castro’s government, since its inception, violated citizens’ right to privacy of. On September 28, 1960 he founded the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR), an organization with fascist roots, whose program is “Everyone spies on each other.”

I know — because I worked as a young woman in that organization for four years — that even Raul Castro himself did not like the idea of the CDR.

This organization not only served to divide the people, but also to systematically violate the privacy of everyone, to end the right of each individual to his or her own privacy.

Perhaps Mr. Edward Snowden, fugitive ex-CIA agent, as they say here, for trying to alert Americans about government wiretapping, does not know much about the history of our dictatorship, nor is he interested to know. But what is incomprehensible is that it is definitely the Cuban government and its unconditional friends of ALBA, who are the most ardent supporters of this man, who supposedly fights to defend the right of individuals to privacy.

The history of the CDR has left a bitter taste in Cuban society. Gossip, slander, envy, lies and hatred all proliferated.

From the 1980s, the phones of those of us who are in the peaceful opposition, along with those of hundreds of thousands of citizens who do not support the Castro regime, were tapped through a listening center of the Interior Ministry, a program widely criticized by civil rights advocates, in clear violation of the Constitution.

I remember in 1987, my little girl picked up our home phone and heard a man say he was going to crush me with his car, because I was a counterrevolutionary cockroach — as Fidel Castro publicly called those who opposed him. My daughter, crying, could barely repeat the words of that person who was complying with an order from State Security.

Then there were no more threats. The phone service that I had since long before the Revolution was suspended, along with that of all those who belonged to the Human Rights Movement in Havana. And to make us feel watched, a video camera operated 24 hours a day in front of our houses.

This organization of tips or snitches even has its museum, Fidel Castro’s idea, for anyone who wants to know its entrails. It is located on busy Obispo Street, at number 310, in Havana. Exhibited there are historical documents which reflect the spying of some CDRs, with multiple complaints to neighbors, humble people, so-called internal enemies of the Revolution.

This ancient and valuable building on the capital boulevard today represents one of the most unfortunate and unsuccessful stories of Castro, in which a good part of the people served as volunteer protagonists, to police one another, in order to prop up a bankrupt regime.

The significance of this organization in times of structural changes, occurring now under the Raul Castro regime, remains to be seen. The neighbors are no longer the “eyes and ears” of the Revolution, the fundamental element for detecting the unhappy. Today almost everyone is unhappy. So the question is who spies on whom, if everyone sees that Fidelista socialism is dissolving, like a handful of salt in a toilet bowl.

Monday, July 29, 2013 | By Tania Diaz Castro

From Cubanet

12 August 2013