Prison Diary LXIV: The Dictator Doesn’t Learn That Infamy Multiplies The Opposition Forces / Angel Santiesteban

The Mistake of the Dictator

The great slip-up of dictators is to come to believe that the pain from the abuses they cause is sufficient to overwhelm their opponents. For them, arranging for mobs of criminals, people without principles or feelings, mercenaries who obey those who pay them, although only pauper’s wagers, and like a dog who submits in exchange for a bone, they follow orders to be sadistic.

Cuba is a breeding ground of these dogs who bite right and left to protect their food. They prowl around their bowls fearing someone will snatch them. Then, they are so committed, they know no way out. Their recurring nightmares are those they subjected to justice who will spend many years in prison. So they are determined to scare off those who pursue political change, and so avoid being punished for their misdeeds.

When it comes to justice, as opponents we suffer their beatings, prison, exile. Paying the price of these experiences only strengthens our ideals, deepens the necessary convictions more and more to fight for a better Cuba where individual liberties are guaranteed, as explained by the Constitution of the United Nations in its Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which Cuba has evaded for more than five years by not signing the UN Covenants, in order to continue its flagrant violations of Cubans’ most elemental rights.

Several countries, hiding behind “respect for the right of peoples to choose their politics and regime,” have become accomplices of totalitarianism, as if Cuban citizens have chosen famine, family division, laziness, fear, denunciations and State terror against everyone who is opposing the system.

Unfortunately, there is an embargo on Cuba. I am sure that if the dictatorship, as has been demonstrated, had  power — which thanks be to God they don’t because of their own ineptitude — today we would even further away from the possibility of achieving the democracy and freedoms that every day we crave more, and that for us are the only possible path to the social development of the nation.

The embargo, even if it hurts us, should continue. “Friend” countries of the dictatorship, and even those who are not, have the luxury of playing with “respect for the rights of others,” when the dictatorship itself does not respect individual opinion. While they  frolic, Cuban continues to survive badly, accepting as an everyday thing that its children throw themselves into the sea trying to reach a better life.

In this same interval of time and actions, opponents persist and their dreams and rights, and risk their lives, like Laura Pollán and Oswaldo Payá, among other brave fighters, and resist the beatings and humiliations, because what the dictators do not learn is, it is only cowardice that corrodes and is able to feed their fears, and their infamy multiplies the forces who oppose them.

The image I carry with me and that feeds me, is to imagine them asking to be forgiven, justifying the unjustifiable, claiming they were following orders or did not know, and returning to the coffers of the State the stolen money scattered across the globe. Because that will be the only way to prevent the next leaders from repeating this dark part or our history. Then, I do want to hear that not forgetting is synonymous with bitterness. I prefer to be convinced that justice is the equivalent of shame.

4 November 2013