14ymedio, Eloy M. Viera Moreno, Havana, 2 April 2021– On March 19, we enjoyed a true media show, when the Director of Communication and Image of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs explained to Cubans the need for the State to defend itself against a 22-year-old girl, although some details were omitted.
A few hours before, Karla María Pérez González had gone to the Cuban consulate, where she carried out and paid for the immigration procedures. She bought the essential tourist package for her trip, and began her happy return to Cuba without being made aware of any prohibition. Government authorities waited until the flight’s first stopover to inform her of her arbitrary deportation, literally leaving her in migratory limbo: without homeland or country of residence. Indescribable, for the premeditation and treachery of it, it is one more performance of the ever-henchmen.
Regarding this case, let us look at an event that took place in the same migratory field, but with diametrically opposite response on the part of our State: the return to the homeland in the summer of 1939 of Cuban volunteers of the International Brigades participating in the Spanish Civil War, among whom were numerous communists. From the beginning, they started out “on the wrong foot”. The last of them arrived in Spain coinciding with the efforts to withdraw foreign troops from the conflict, starting with the Munich Accords between the European powers, in September 1938.
What was the performance of the Cuban domestic communists in this situation? Enjoying the freedom of association of the time, they organized the Committee for the Repatriation of Cuban Combatants
At the end of that year and the beginning of the following year, they were part of the half million Republican exiles who crossed the Pyrenees in indescribable conditions, to spend about a hundred days in dismal circumstances at concentration camps organized by France, a country that also failed to welcome them.
The Brigades were organized mainly by international communism (Komintern) and received direct support from the Government of the USSR until a few months before the Republican defeat, when Stalin withdrew his backing because they no longer served his political interests.
In their homeland, Cuban brigade members faced the automatic loss of citizenship for having taken up arms in a foreign nation without permission from the Cuban Congress. This situation was a threat to the integrity of their people and an obstacle for the Government in the event of providing official assistance.
What was the performance of the domestic communists in this situation? While enjoying the freedom of association of the time, they organized the Committee for the Repatriation of Cuban Combatants, chaired by Sarah Pascual (she would later become the longest-serving Cuban communist in the party). Through public events, demonstrations, meetings and other “media shows” (as the Foreign Ministry official would label them today), they managed to awaken Cubans’ humanitarian sentiments, including those of some openly anti-communists, and thereby exerted pressure on the government.
The domestic communists, through popular pressure on the Government, achieved the humanitarian return of hundreds of Cuban citizens, despite explicitly going against our laws
In response, the State turned a legal blind eye, mobilized its diplomatic personnel for repatriation, contracted maritime freight for transportation, and provided medical assistance in public hospitals to the wounded among the several hundred repatriated Cubans.
A phrase by Eduardo Chibás uttered in those days (he was a supporter of the Second Republic and favored the return of the nationals), describes the humiliation to which the brigadistas were subjected: “If the republicans killed in Madrid trenches could resurrect, they would raise their bloody fist to hit Stalin the Traitor in the face”.
Cuban communists, through popular pressure on the Government, achieved the humanitarian return of hundreds of Cuban citizens, despite explicitly going against our laws
Karla María is not family to most of those who read this complaint, they don’t even know her. Let’s not, however, do as the poem by German Protestant pastor Martin Niemöller (attributed to Bertolt Brecht) recalls: “When Nazis came looking for the Communists, I kept silent, / because I was not a Communist”, and let’s not forget that, in the end, when “they came to look for me, / there was no one left who could protest”. Today, it happened to Karla Maria, tomorrow it could happen to any one of our children.
At any rate, I confirm the fear and the indecision of the Cuban State against which, with vile and deliberate intentions, it has “defended” itself from a young woman without any antecedent nor potential to turn into a danger to the nation.
COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.