The long prison sentences that the Cuban courts have been imposing on the July 11th (11J) protesters in Havana are taking their toll on the courts’ public image, even there, where they preserve it. That some people from the ruling party’s orbit, among whom is troubadour of the Revolution, Silvio Rodríguez, who has publicly criticized the sentences, has encouraged the regime to start a campaign to justify the sentences.
This Friday, Granma, the official newspaper of the Communist Party published a piece, which, despite being titled Victimizing the Victimizers is the Enemy’s Strategy, is not included in the opinion section, which defends the thesis that people judged for the acts of July 11th “put the stability of the nation at risk.”
The article begins with three brief testimonies of people allegedly attacked in the maelstrom of the demonstrations, two of them, police officers from Havana, who were involved in the altercations. Two others are public officials who, according to Granma, were carrying out tasks related to the pandemic, although they were not injured in that context but rather for “defending the material assets of the people.”
The text also mentions the alleged attack on the Cárdenas hospital, of which there is no graphic testimony, only the statements of several people to Cuban television
One of them, Reynaldo Rosado Roselló, head of logistics at the University of Informatics Sciences and who suffered a wound to the forehead, reported in July that the events occurred when he went with several colleagues to the area of the disturbances, although Granma infers that the demonstrators were the ones who appeared before institutions that housed patients.
The article also mentions the alleged attack on the Cárdenas hospital, for which there is no graphic testimony, only the statements of several people on Cuban television.
According to the Granma note, on July 11th, “violence, disorder and vandalism prevailed” and they accuse “the enemies of the Revolution” of trying to “portray the Cuban people’s demands as just.” Although the article admits that there was a lot of discontent among the population, it argues that the people who peacefully expressed their discomfort withdrew when they saw that “that unbridled mob had no sincere demand, but rather responded to external interests that were not at all beneficial to the people.”
The ruling party defends itself by insisting that the people who have been severely penalized were violent and looters, not political prisoners
The ruling party defends itself by insisting that the people who have been severely penalized were violent and looters, not political prisoners. However, the highest sentences in the case of Havana recently, or in Holguín last month, have not been for those who were accused of committing violent acts, but for sedition.
This is one of the most serious type of crime in the legal codes of every country, because it involves standing up against the government in order to overthrow it. But the demonstrations against the authorities in democratic countries, in which slogans and insults are shouted against the leaders who are held responsible for the problems of the population, are part of freedom of expression and the right to demonstrate. In the event that they result in some act of vandalism or violence, the fine or penalty for that act is applied but the protester is not accused of sedition, as has happened in Cuba in these processes.
However, the Granma note insists: “Impunity, when order and citizens’ peace are at stake, is something that we will never allow, because no one is above the law in Cuba.”
The article emphasizes that the protesters actions were instigated from abroad, which aggravates the situation
The article emphasizes that the protesters actions were instigated from abroad, which aggravates the situation. “Those who provoked such acts, who incited chaos, were in many cases far from Cuba, calmly and coldly observing the result of their actions and, of course, counting the dollars they received as payment,” the newspaper says, before emphasizing that Cubans decide their destiny in their own way “with creativity, with depth of thought, with peace, with love and commitment… Anyone who thinks that it can be otherwise is guilty of being naive,” it warns.
The article is an extension of the podcast published hours earlier by Cubadebate in which statements by alleged witnesses and victims of the “violent acts that cannot be denied” are inserted. The prolific dissemination of audios of those who corroborate the government’s version is striking, compared to the absolute absence of those who deny it. In that program, they also show notable annoyance with the Spanish newspaper El País, which published an editorial this Thursday against the 11J trials entitled “Ruined Lives in Cuba.”
The interviewees do not explain that what bothers them is the journalistic approach but, curiously, that the newspaper is dealing with a topic that is outside its borders “given all the problems Spain has.” This same Friday, Cubadebate highlights the million deaths from Covid-19 in the US and the marches in Serbia on the anniversary of the NATO bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999.
The interviewees do not explain that what bothers them is the informative treatment but, curiously, that the newspaper is dealing with a topic that is outside its borders “given all the problems Spain has”
The program also dedicates several minutes to accusing the United States of hypocrisy for asking Cubans on their social networks not to risk traveling illegally to the country, while the country fails to comply with immigration agreements, leaving those who intend to leave the country without the legal channels to do so. Adding that, of course, that people leave for economic reasons, “which they try to say is political exile.”
The message is in line with the umpteenth statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs this Thursday, highlighting that Cubans are traveling to Guyana to access US consular services in that country, because of the lack of measures aimed at reactivating services in Havana.
To counteract the effect of intellectuals, inside and outside of Cuba, critics of the 11J sentences, whose discontent was reflected in their Manifesto Against Silence, for justice, signed by more than 40 personalities from, among other fields, the cinema, the press and literature. The Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC) and the Hermanos Saíz Association have published their own articles.
“We can discuss any opinion about our reality, and we do so with total freedom. But we do not accept the maneuver of only using concerns to serve as an instrument for the enemies of the Homeland”
In it, they accuse the signatories of the Manifesto – “of different origins, of dissimilar professional results, most of them residing outside of Cuba” – of assuming the representation of Cuba’s intelligentsia, which, immediately afterwards, they attribute to themselves.
What they describe as a pamphlet turns out to be, in their opinion, “a condensed falsification in a few lines, without a hint of serious analysis” of the “riots of July 11th and 12th“, and they ignore “the embargo and the external aggression.”.
“We can discuss any opinion about our reality, and we do so with total freedom. But we do not accept the maneuver of using fair concerns to serve as an instrument for the enemies of the Homeland. They are not interested in the poor, nor do they intend, in any way, to solve the problems that affect the conditions of their material and spiritual life,” the article concludes.
Translated by Norma Whiting
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