If It’s Green and Thorny, It Must be a Cactus / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar

Jose Ramirez Pantoja, Holguin Radio journalist and author of the blog Verdadecuba.(Facebook
Jose Ramirez Pantoja, Holguin Radio journalist and author of the blog Verdadecuba. (Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana 29 August 2016 – The dismissal of the journalist Jose Ramon Ramirez Pantoja from Radio Holguin for having published in his blog a statement by Karina Marron, deputy director of the newspaper Granma, has sparked an interesting controversy which, by virtue of the secrecy that reigns in the Cuban press has not appeared on the social networks or in digital spaces.

I am not trying to put myself in the skin of Ramirez Pantoja. It has been 28 years since the same thing happened to me when I was fired from the newspaper Juventud Rebelde (Rebel Youth), accused of writing texts with a double meaning, trying to confront the new generations with the historic leadership of the Revolution. But, despite my justified reputation for conceit, I didn’t come here to talk about me, but about what one feels in a similar situation.

The audacity of those who dare to criticize or share a criticism is usually grounded in the infinite confidence that the sentiments expressed are going to contribute to improving the situation. To warn at the time that “this is not the way” is a serious responsibility, one that is only assumed when we suppose that the guide who is leading us is listening to us, because he believes in our good faith. To say publically a necessary truth, disobeying the order of those who impose silence, is not only a gesture of courage, but above all of honesty.

When the response to the criticism is punishment, when the high-minded guide is disposed to expel the troops who question his decisions, when the exposed truth forces an unmasking because its nudity offends those who feel harmed, then the daring critic has only two choices: make a retraction or slam the door.

Someone once said that the lost sheep that escapes can return to the sheepfold, but can never return to the flock. The obedient flock can only see in its rebellion bad intentions or sinister aims of betrayal. With that grim admiration that underlies envy they will remain attentive to the final decision of the pastor.

If the insubordinate sheep is sacrificed, they squeal with happiness while applauding the verdict, if forgiveness comes, or even better the recognition Jose Ramon was right, he did the right thing, they will approach submissively patting him on the shoulder, while behind his back they will comment that everything was preplanned, it was all a dark operation of the upper echelons of power.

Really, who wouldn’t want to be in the skin of this Holguin journalist.