My Map of Prohibitions / Luis Felipe Rojas

Yesterday, February 2nd, I was on my way to the home of Caridad Caballero Batista in Holguin. She is a great friend of my family and during the last few months I have barely been able to visit her for two reasons. The first reason is simply because her house continues to be under the eternal vigilance of the G2 (Secret Police)who prevent anyone from being able to get to it. The other reason is because I am also prohibited from leaving my own town.

Just a few meters from her house I was intercepted by the political police officer, Saul Vega, and another official who claimed his last name was Caneyes. I was detained and taken to the police station of that same neighborhood. Without giving me any explanations they kept me sitting on a bench for half an hour. Later, they put me once again in a police car and took me to the center of the city to another outpost of the G2 known as “El Anillo” (‘The Ring’). I submitted to an interrogation where the main question was why I was visiting Caridad Caballero.

Then came the lecture of the “do’s and don’ts.” They will not allow any type of commemoration to go on during the 23rd of February, the one year anniversary of Orlando Zapata’s death. They will not allow meetings to be held by the Eastern Democratic Alliance. They will not allow me to go to certain towns to report any incidents of those which “you put on your blog.” Once again, my blog, my reports, my interviews with citizens and activists who are beaten and mistreated by that same police who were questioning me right then.

In another section of that document which they read to me they stated that on the 3rd of February it would be one year from the day when a public protest was held in Camaguey by more than 20 peaceful dissidents who took to the streets to alert everyone that Orlando Zapata would soon die in the Amalia Simoni hospital room and that not a single guard was doing anything to help save his life.

There were other prohibitions mentioned as well. Neither myself or any other member of the Eastern Democratic Alliance has permission to travel from one town to another. In other words, I am restricted during this whole time from traveling to Las Tunas, Santiago de Cuba, Guantanamo, Moa, Bayamo, Baracoa, or Holguin. And never to Banes.

When they concluded the litany of warnings, threats, and prohibitions, they took me (once again in a police car) to the exit of that town, which indicates the way back to San German. They told me that I “better return to my town because the restrictions for Holguin and Banes for this month had been made very clear.”

Not only do they limit and restrict my freedom of expression and movement from one province to another, but also within my own province which is the place I am forced to move about, for all my friends live there and that is where all the cultural centers I visit are located.

At some point in the “chat” (which although it violated my citizen rights, this time it was not aggressive) I asked the official who claimed his name was Caneyes if all those prohibitions and formulated threats could be handed to me in written form. His answer came quick, “No, no.”

I then told him, “That’s where the difference lies between both of you and me. ”

“What’s that?” he asked.

I responded by telling him that, “Whatever I think about any subject I write it down and publish it on my blog, and you can’t give me what they tell you to do in written form. For my part, I have the freedom to chose what I will write and the freedom to publish what I think. As soon as I get out of here I will write about what we just “spoke about” and it will get published on my blog. I will try to get someone to print it for me and if you accept it, I’ll give you a copy, and a few copies of previous entries as well.”

February 3 2011