Defending Freedom is Not a Profession / Lia Villares

Ailer Gonzalez, Antonio Rodiles, Angel Santiesteban, Lia Villares, Luis Trapaga, TBD, Claudio Fuentes

Lia Villares, 5 February 2018 — The low blow of a sudden search of a dissident’s home, orchestrated by members of Cuba’s counterintelligence “with the objective of seizing objects of illicit origin” and using this to accuse us, to charge us with a common crime (“illicit economic activity”), even if only for political motives, is just a warning to those closest to you, whether or not they are involved in this “subversive activity” that they say you perform “illegally” – charging that all your work is based on “CR content material” (“Counter-Revolutionary”) – and it is also an outrageous and cruel mockery of all those hands offered in solidarity, people who, in spite of everything, continue to help us.

Defending freedom is not a profession, it is a principle. Rising up from our trampled dignity and continuing on the path, and doing it with the selfless help of people committed to human rights, to truth, to freedom and democracy, out of the most basic principles of humanity, is not a matter of beautiful speeches or political allegations: to live our lives being persecuted and attacked by a repressive counter-intelligence apparatus is the sacrifice, the price, that we must pay in a shared way for aspiring to that most fundamental freedom, with a clear conscience in the face of the apparent advantages of the impunity and arrogance of the henchmen.

Ignorance or incomprehension, fear, prejudices, have made us a conforming and inferior society with an enslaved economic structure, dependent, with the colonial heritage that made us weak and cowardly: a mentality made for servility. We are the ones who resist and we openly speak against a system that disguises itself as the socialist left in the name of national sovereignty and does nothing but crush its own citizens with the most atrocious injustice, denying them every dream of prosperity and of a future.

This is the price. To live in your home, without the tranquility that belongs to the concept of home: for suddenly it is invaded by these dark characters, these minions eager to rummage exhaustively through every intimate detail of your life, repeating the excessive operation they have carried out numerous times – surrounding you, harassing you and threatening you for trying to live fully and freely, for trying to breathe, just for existing – all of this is now inside your home: a parade of despicable aliens trampling through your private spaces, turning over and photographing every note, every piece of paper they find, it doesn’t matter if it is your literature, your diaries, your personal letters; every corner is raided and emptied with despotism and arrogance, with all the impunity of those who know themselves to be powerful and with the most extreme lack of ethics and respect.

Your home is no longer a place of shelter, it disgusts you to even sit down where earlier invading hands “seized” all your things, your means of expressing yourself through art, your creative projects turned into dust, these things that they insist on calling “enemy projects against the general interests of the nation,” because you are not “of the people,” you are nothing (as the ingénue Daisy Granados said to Sergio de Memories of Underdevelopment), you are being expelled from this island under the pretext and cowardly justification of an “exit restriction” for nine months, even though for years they have violated all your rights, one after another, and now finally they steal your privacy and immobilize you even more, sending you back to the depths of that maze you have already run over and over to the point of exhaustion.

Totalitarianism does not admit criticism, nor disaffection, nor parties that speak of plurality and inclusion. Much less people who are free within themselves. That is why in the end they make us the unquestionable protagonists of critical times, infinitely dark. Victims of their own infantilism, they make themselves ridiculous with their linguistic euphemisms writing down things like “20 booklets with drawings of two subversive pigs,” making crystal clear with the most absolute brazenness the real objective of their laborious search, their canine tracking.

Not content with the “positive” humiliation that leaves them only half satisfied, they lock us up in cells and write “CR” in our arrest records under “reason”; all executed in the most arbitrary manner, claiming to be acting under the statutes of a supposed legality, under the shelter of an absurd and ridiculous law that demonstrates its foolishness with every prisoner of conscience, with every person unjustly imprisoned.

In the dungeons we are now stripped of even our rings, earrings and shoelaces. Here and now we no longer have anything else to lose. We do not need any food or liquid because our human sense of inner freedom, the strength of our free and transparent spirits, continues to nourish and hydrate us. Our commitment to the strongest desire of every human being. The ragged but true cry of free beings, our truth is reflected behind these bars, unable to contain us.