Information is Power / Rebeca Monzo

Rebeca Monzo, 19 May 2015 — The year was 1985. I was still working at a state agency, like everyone in our country, and there was talk in the Cuban media about an “enemy” radio broadcast that had been named, improperly, Radio Martí. This generated fierce government propaganda against it, above all, for having baptized it with the name of the “Apostle,” (as Cubans call José Martí) which the Cuban misgovernment feels it owns absolutely.

As could be expected, like all human beings we relish forbidden fruit, especially in the case of a source of information whose censorship is imposed by a totalitarian regime. My curiosity grew and I gave myself the task of finding a formula for reaching it.

Availing myself of an old shortwave radio I had been given (its sale in stores was forbidden), I succeeded, crossing the dial from one extreme to the other over and over again, finding the outlawed station right next to the famous Radio Rebelde (Rebel Radio), which inflicted intolerable interference on Radio Martí. But in my persistence I managed to discover that, by gently moving the device to one side or the other, I could capture quite clearly the forbidden voice.

From that glorious moment, my life changed. I became aware of what was happening inside and outside our borders. But above all, I was happy to leave behind the manipulative official rhetoric.

Because it was very difficult for me not to occasionally drop a controversial comment at my then workplace, influenced of course by this new source of information, I soon found myself in the administration’s spotlight. So in 1986 I decided to quit my office job and devote myself entirely to my artistic work as a way of life.

Imagine my surprise and excitement when one day, as I was working in my studio with my ear glued to my favorite radio station, listening to an interview they were doing about an SIP (Inter American Press Association) event, I heard the unmistakable voice of a much-beloved family member, whom I had not had any contact with for 26 years. Despite the difficulties and intolerable interference, I became a faithful follower of this radio station, which opened a new window to the world of information.

My sincere congratulations on your 30th anniversary of this great collective work, which over the years has made a recognized and valuable contribution, after providing information to all Cuban citizens, because even though it does not reach many, those who do manage to connect are responsible for disseminating it, changing the single view provided by the island’s official media.