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