Luz in the Dungeon

The reporter Luz Escobar. (Sadiel Me Be)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 23 November 2020 — When Luz Escobar was put in the police car after being detained in Havana’s Central Park, she heard the voices of an angry group of people chanting “This street is Fidel’s.” That same refrain encouraged the mob in November 2009, when her father was beaten by a crowd at the corner of 23rd and the Avenue of the Presidents.

As I listened to that slogan, while crushed against the fence of the José Martí International School of Journalism, I could not imagine that my daughter, eleven years later, would have to listen to it a few yards from the statue of Cuba’s “apostle,” José Martí.

It was a false and induced anger in both cases that unleashed the low passions of the protagonists of these repudiation rallies. Making perfectly clear the absolute lack of political imagination, the shouts at Central Park recalled another even more atrocious motto, the one that marked the year 1980: “Get out! Get out!”

There was no shortage of people wondering if the request for them to leave was related to the need to increase the number of those who, from abroad, support the country with their remittances.

I have no sympathy for the hunger strike that is taking place at the headquarters of the San Isidro Movement, but I fully identify with its motives. I did not like the way Denis Solís addressed the uniformed man who was harassing him, but I recognize that he had a legal right to do so because the police officer exceeded his duties.

It was to be expected that the call to demonstrate in the central parks of each province would be heeded by a small number of Cubans, and that this tiny group would be attacked with the full weight of the repressive apparatus. Luz Escobar spent four hours in a cell for confusing her roles as a journalist, who reports, and an activist who supports, such that she would be double counted.

As a grandfather I was forced to explain to my daughter’s daughters that their mother had been detained and might not show up until late at night. I have the feeling that those quartered in San Isidro defend the possibility that, eleven years from now, my granddaughters will not have to be repressed and that the streets and parks of this country with have no other owner than their rightful one: the people of Cuba, diverse and plural.

Video: Reinaldo Escobar as the target of a “repudiation rally.” State Security, after arranging the attack, “rescues” him from the “enraged” crowd.

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