Living Among Lies / Lilianne Ruíz

Camilo Cienfuegos seen in an artwork installed in 2009 in the Plaza of the Revolution. The text says: "You're doing fine, Fidel."

Cuba looks like an anthill, and each one has contributed — as they say — a grain of sand. Believing that this grain of sand is so little that it means nothing because “nothing can change”. I am reading for the first time “El poder de los sin poder” (The Power of The Powerless), by Vaclav Havel, what he defines as autokenesis of the post totalitarian system I see it as this behavior of ants who sustain the commune that seems to be Cuba today. The secret life of this Commune, what does not appear, is not reflected in the official press.

On May 3rd, Press Freedom Day, the announcer of the Nightly News denounced the murder of Mexican journalists, and mentioned Honduras, denouncing these two countries as examples of places where repression against journalists is growing. It was not mentioned in the report, revised and corrected by the Editorial Board of the News, that Cuba was the third country on that list. Nor was the Cuban audience made aware that such a list, where the situation of press freedom is mentioned, was published by Amnesty International.

In Cuba there is repression against journalists, but the knowledge of such situation depends much on the media showing that situation from the moment in Cuba that no one learns about what is happening watching the News show. Then, in the consequences it has for a citizen conscious of what is right or wrong to start expressing himself and do journalism, independent of the interests of the State Dictatorship.

I saw the way in which Ariel Sigler Amaya left prison and it was not on the News. I never heard of the situation of Oscar Elías Bicet from the Cuban journalists who work for Cuban television but rather over Radio Martí. I did not not know well who Laura Pollan was, until I went to her house. Laura’s death occurred under unclear circumstances but it is impossible to open an investigation and that has not been mentioned in any News whatsoever.

In the cases of Ariel and Oscar there is clear evidence of psychological tortures and attempted murder, not to mention Zapata Tamayo who was slandered in Granma Newspaper and in the News after he was left to die on a hunger strike rather than recognize the demand Zapata took to an extreme because of his freedom and that of Cuba as well.

Today I write and also make public in my blog, I live with fear, but I know the regime has had some kind of defeat after the Black Spring of 2003, carried out by the group of 75 and the Ladies in White. I also know if I do not express myself, feeling as I do, I would be an accomplice.

It is increasingly promoted in Cuba that youth become part of the huge and expensive repressive system. The government, historically a oppressor, one day could not count anymore on “the compartmentalizing” of information and the obedience of the whole people before the threat, and it happened when groups of Human Rights defenders appeared, and also independent journalists.

It did not matter whether one had a degree or not, from the Faculty of revolutionary journalism; these are people who make an effort to write a piece of news and above all they really go for it, where the only thing that matters is to be objective and witness an abuse, an arrest, a beating, a humiliating social phenomenon, having no other translation for anyone’s conscience, as the so called revolutionary journalism attempts to make us believe.

Killing isn’t done in the streets like in Mexico, but the cost of being an activist for freedom, a journalist, or a blogger, may be slow death in one of the regime’s jails. Many times, the  detentions of activists are lengthened by the regime with accusations of noncompliance with police brutality. The Cuban reality is so treacherous that it needs the real access of journalists without gags.

Then I try to imagine whose brain would be behind all the propaganda that made poor people during the first years identify their greatest welfare with the socialist Revolution, which did not start as a socialist one. And I notice it was not only one brain, but maybe many people who either believed they were doing the right thing, or underestimated their small acts from the will to survive without going against the current. And 53 or 54 years have passed, I never count them any more.

There will be some, still within the anthill, who know all this is buried under the lie, and will kill, every time, the hope of rescue for this nation and therefore for us, the people who live here. Those people who every day support the lie of the regime on many occasions only aspire to pretend a little longer until they can leave the country.

The Communist Party uses a language that can not express human aspirations. It is an inhuman language. Why don’t people scream that it is not exactly what they want, that they have access to? They are terribly scared, and that generates obedience and immorality, when one has no faith not even in the innocent fairy tales.

Why did God let such phenomenon happen? But I still trust in Him. To find Him, still in the darkest valley, makes me fear no evil, as the psalm says. However, I have the hope He will make a miracle soon. During the time I have waited for Him, my God has never failed me. The lie will fall, what I can not foretell is where they will hide from their shame, those who have sustained it.

Translated by AnonyGy

May 7 2012