Repression: Quarry of Dissent / Miriam Celaya

Santa Clara, Cuba. This travel blog photo’s source is TravelPod page: Under Construction – City of CHE

After the close of the Sixth Congress of the Communist Party, which officially established its approval of the stagnation of the system, and circumvented the changes of large social sectors, including official sectors, the only point on the official agenda that seems to be right on the mark is the repression of the alternative groups that have been growing at a significant pace in recent years.

During the month of April and until today, we have witnessed a marked upsurge in acts of harassment, arrests, intimidation, house searches, seizures and threats against members of the dissidence, both opposition party members and representatives of the independent civil society, in an escalating repression that has even caused the death of a citizen, Juan Wilfredo Soto a victim of a brutal beating by the local police last May 8th (Mother’s Day) in the city of Santa Clara.

A strategy of reducing protesters while at the same time reinforcing fear in the population is the strategy chosen by the “reformist” General, who aims to establish his cosmetic measures in order to retain the most absolute control over the social actions and thoughts in a country where the tensions and the absence of rights, long violated by the dictatorship, continue to accumulate the ingredients awaiting the suitable breeding ground for an eventual process of protests.

The General wants to introduce an artificial peace, though for his zealous subordinates – not exactly characterized by having a high IQ — this might literally be the sepulchral peace. That is why, with cynicism that impunity allows, the official media were, with unusual speed, quick to “clarify” with its “moral fortitude” its own truth: the “murder victim” (whose exact meaning, according to Aristos dictionary, is “killed violently”) was no less than “a delinquent” who “fulfilled his two-year prison sentence”. In short, from the perspective of the regime, Juan Wilfredo deserved to die, although it would be inconsistent to assume that the lynching by kicking an opponent was exactly the General’s intention when he called from his mock revolutionary congress for revolutionaries to defend the streets.

Simultaneously, the authorities are also developing a quiet but steady purge job within official places, using extreme measures in the presence of any suspicion, primarily in relation to Internet usage. In this regard, the Telecommunications Company (ETECSA), now completely controlled by the Ministry of the Armed Forces, has gone so far as to fire young computer techs from their jobs because of the absurdly punishable circumstances of having occasionally connected to Facebook, or “of having used the Internet excessively”, or under the pretext that those responsible for computer security “have lost track” of sites they connected to, which shows that the social networks and the access to information currently constitute true threats to the regime.

Careful monitoring of its employees, forced to convincingly justify every minute of virtual navigation, collaterally contribute to the establishment of a state of permanent fear in those individuals known to be monitored. Paradoxically, such a system only manages to breed a sense of rejection of the government, because young people subject to such controls can thus more clearly perceive the castration of their freedoms.

In short, if the physical and psychological repression is the strategic card chosen by the regime, little would be left for it to do. It is the most effective method it could have found to help, sooner rather than later, to fill the dissent ranks.

Translated by Norma Whiting

May 13, 2011