In Castroism, Those Who Deviate From the Script Are Adversaries / Iván García

Fernando Ravsberg, in 2004 o 2005, when he was a BBC correspondent in Cuba. Taken from the blog Cubaninsider.
Fernando Ravsberg, in 2004 o 2005, when he was a BBC correspondent in Cuba. Taken from the blog Cubaninsider.

Ivan Garcia, 1 September 2016 — While certain groups and people on the island try to distance themselves from the openly anti-Castro dissidence, however they can, they will always be marked with a scarlet letter by the Department of State Security and its guardians of the faith, specialists in destroying reputations.

The logic in the analysis of these people is worthless, people such as those who collaborate on the website Cuba Posible; the pointed notes of Fernando Ravsberg about the institutionalized bureaucracy; the critiques of the status quo from the Marxist ideology of Harold Cardenas; or the excellent reporting from the team of reporters on Periodismo de Barrio.

All of them, for their free thinking and because they don’t take orders from the ideological machinery of the Communist Party, are considered “enemies of the fatherland,” Trojan Horses who, with more or less subtlety, pander to “Yankee Imperialism.”

For the dinosaurs in the Palace of the Revolution there is no middle ground. The rules they write are to be followed by others. The exercise of criticism, debate and controversy without approval from the state apparatus will never be well received.

Probably, as in Dante’s Inferno, all the enemies or those in conflict with the “Revolutionary Project” are not located in the same circle. But none of them are to be trusted.

This makes it easier for the government to condemn an anti-Castro journalist to twenty years in prison, as dictated by the Gag Law adopted in 1999.

In the end, they end up fired from their jobs, like the economist Omar Everleny, now watching the autocratic drama from a fellowship in Japan, or like the talented academics Pavel Vidal, Haroldo Dilla and Armando Chaguaceda, all of whom live abroad.

It’s worth nothing, recognizing the de facto government, to bet on nationalism or a democratic socialism. The ukases and the direction of the nation are dictated by the same people as always.

In an intolerant, autocratic and arrogant regime, you have to have sufficient ability to interpret when you’ve crossed the tenuous border that limits how far governmental permissiveness will go. As the popular refrain says: You can play with the chain, but not the monkey.

Perhaps Roberto Veiga and Leinier Gonzalez are not detained in the public street by State Security henchmen and have all their belongings taken from them, as they were taken from Augusto Cesar San Martin and Ana Leon, reporters for Cubanet, when this last July they made a video in Cienfuegos.

It is likely that Arturo Lopez-Levy, a political scientist and a relative of Luis Alberto Rodriguez Lopez-Callejas, Raul Castro’s treasurer, doesn’t have his books, money and personal articles seized at the Havana Airport, nor is he brutally arrested like the independent unionist Ivan Hernandez Carrillo was on his arrival in Cuba some weeks back.

The fact that the treatment from the political police is less degrading, that they use the formal “Usted” when talking to you and not “counter-revolutionary” or “worm,” doesn’t mean that articles that reflect the realities of the citizens and the wave of liberal thinking that can be read in the digital media right now, are appreciated by the regime and its repressive organs.

The government fears opinions and analysis different from its own. It doesn’t matter that the necessary debate is found on the internet and is barely known by ordinary Cubans. The Castro brothers’ autocracy is an institution of command and control. Its journalists are soldiers of the Revolution. They cannot be allowed to write on their own account in the alternative media.

An insulting aberration appeared in recent days through Aixa Heveia, a mediocre information bureaucrat — or more accurately, a censor of journalists — when she proposed to expel from the country the Uruguayan journalist Fernando Ravsberg, former correspondent for the BBC, and creator of the website Cartas desde Cuba, and contributor to the Spanish newspaper Publico and author of the book The Cuban Headache, published in 2008.

For Ravsberg, a long time resident of the island, there is nothing new under the sun. It was Fidel Castro himself who at a certain moment decided to put him on the blacklist. One can agree or disagree with this commentaries, that’s called freedom of expression, but that a reporter of his caliber is treated like a criminal is shameful.

But this is the real core of the regime. A bizarre founding gang that includes the enlightened, illiterates and ex-convicts. Democracy is not their main course.

For Castroism, those who think with their own heads or set aside the libretto orchestrated by the Communist Party chieftains, will always be adversaries. Some more dangerous than others. But enemies.

See also:

Response to Fernando Ravsberg / Rosa Maria Payá Acevedo

A Swede in Burundi a Uruguayan in Cuba / Regina Coyula

The Voices of Cubans? / Miriam Celaya