Speech in Cuba: A Freedom under Threat / Luis Felipe Rojas

Pedicab in Havana (14ymedio)
Pedicab in Havana (14ymedio)

Luis Felipe Rojas, 20 May 2016 — Every day it becomes more dangerous. Engaging in speech and dissent in Cuba is still like a throwing a rock against the door of Castroism.

After their cell phones were returned to them, Pastor Mario F. Lleonart and his wife, Yoaxis Marcheco, found their Twitter accounts had been disrupted. The two had been taken far from their home in Villa Clara and kept for four hours in a patrol car.

Yoandris Veranes, a citizen journalist and activist with the Cuban Patriotic Union, sent me a hastily written note from Contramestre in Santiago de Cuba telling me that the police were preventing him from going to public internet bureaus. They did not want him showing tourists a Contramaestre different from the one they were showing tourists.

Serafín Morán, a freelance journalist who does daring reporting without a playbook, has been taken several times to police headquarters in Havana. The last time he was detained was a few days after foreign media had covered a public protest by pedicab drivers in the Cuban capital.

Morán had taken up a collection from donors around the world to buy a house for an adolescent, Abraham, who had written on social media that he had never had access to sanitary facilities to take care of physiological needs. This caused a stir and Morán found himself set upon by thugs dressed in police uniforms.

Recently, on the Radio Martí program Contacto Cuba, Rolando Rodriguez Lobaina stated that twenty photo and video cameras were seized from his production company, Palenque Vision, that its reporters been arrested and beaten, and that others had left the profession due to disruptions, attacks and acts of repudiation organized by Cuban State Security forces.

Something similar happened to Roberto de Jesús Guerra Pérez of Hablemos Press. Agency property was confiscated, arrests were made and its citizen journalists fined and/or imprisoned.

The regime, in the person of Raul Castro and his lackeys, want to shut you up.

The Revolution’s bigwigs want to sip mojitos while watching cruise ships docked in Havana Bay to the sound of maracas and do not want anyone interrupting their Guantanamera, which few remember… or care about.

Muzzling the dissenting voices of Castroism amounts to merely shoveling dirt on that idyll that was once a military revolution and is now nothing more than a disguise, a fashion show catwalk, a mockery of decent people.