The Chair of the Represser

Seeing on the lower floors of my building today, May 3rd, the chair of the State Security agent who prohibits me from going out every day, leaves a message that could not be clearer: she will return. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, 3 May 2021 — There is a rickety and dirty wooden chair. It would only be a deteriorated object at the entrance of my building in Havana, if it weren’t for the fact that it represents power. It is a bulwark, the vantage point from which they frequently watch me to prevent me from leaving my home to practice journalism. On this World Press Freedom Day, that threadbare seat is a declaration of war.

When the State Security agent who watches over my building said to me this Sunday “Luz, you can’t go out” I already knew that another day of restrictions was going to be repeated to prevent me from putting the daily life of this Island in writing. “They don’t fear me, they fear reality”, I said to myself to avoid getting overheated by the repressor, a simple instrument of something greater.

In the long hours that these political police officers wait on the ground floor of my house, I have never seen them read a newspaper, review a magazine, scrutinize a book. Only, from time to time, they immerse themselves in their mobile phones and their screens reveal that they are absorbed in social networks, the same ones that their bosses assure them are “instruments of the empire to end the Revolution”.

When the State Security agent who watches over my building told me this Sunday “Luz, you can’t go out”, I already knew that another day of restrictions was going to be repeated.

But they don’t read the press, or so it seems. Down there, below, they serve as a barrier so that a reporter does not leave her house to walk the streets and look for news, but they don’t have a good informative argument with which to respond. They are orphans of a free press but they don’t even know it, they see the journalist as an enemy without really understanding what we are doing.

I hope that freedom of the press reaches all the media currently censored in Cuba and that my daughters can one day go to the corner shop to buy whatever newspaper they think best. I also want for whoever watches me to know at least what freedom to decide to read one piece of information or another is about. Or better yet, for no one to be sitting in that chair, rickety and dirty, which today, for me, represents a gag.

Translated by Norma Whiting

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