The Persecutors (Without Other Stories) / Luis Felipe Rojas

I hope that those of you who have difficulties reading Julio Cortazar because of his leftist inclinations will excuse me for this citation. The brilliant Argentine stands on his affective deficiencies (his relationship with dictatorial regimes such as the Castro government or the Nicaraguan government of Daniel Ortega does annul his talent to write fiction).

For quite some time now, I have been wanting to show you all the faces of my “persecutors”, my captors- those men who are dressed with hate towards me just because I disagree with the communist regime, so they come to my house, encouraged by the police, and have locked me away for hours in the local police barracks.

Here, I present them in the flesh, with their real names, some without their last names (but I will find them out) but all of them posing for the neighborhood which saw them keep a vigilant eye for three days (May 23rd, 24th, and 25th) on a writer, an artist, and independent journalist who forgot about the generic frontiers a long time ago in order to narrate how life is here and now.

The “persecutors” from left to right and from top to bottom: Lieutenant Saul Vega, Maikel (“J” from the Social Workers of San German). Saul with Maikel Rodriguez Alfajarrin (Housing Confrontation Brigade), Saul sitting and ex G2 official, Luis Perez Perez standing; Amaury, a young official and student of- security? Another operational official, and the last one- a neighbor whose last name is Grana.

My reports, poems, documentaries, and short essays which I have been compiling for years as a result of my readings (Twisted, Most Free, and So What?) represent that vision which I will pass on to my children and which I now give to you all. This is also a form of proactive protest: exposing the oppressor before the eyes of everyone.

The suggestion of some members of the nearest intellectual world is that I stay home and write verses. And I do, but only from time to time. The documentary “Why do you Beat Me?”, detailing the barbarity practiced against Alberto Lairo Castro in Holguin, have made them (the oppressors) follow my steps closer and closer. The arrest in the town of Vazquez, Las Tunas this past 21st of May was done in order to verify my plans and to see the photos I had taken with my camera. The order given by a local member of the Rapid Response Brigades to take or break my cell phone or any digital device I was carrying whenever they see me at work simply reaffirms the same reaction as always: to impede freedom of expression.

When, together with these notes and photos, they have already dragged and beaten Juan Carlos Reyes Ocana, an activist from the Varela Project in Holguin and have once again detained Caridad Caballero Batista along with her husband Esteban Sande Suarez. The homes of various other defenders are once again surrounded by the political police in order to impede any final meetings for the Boitel-Zapata Live On Protests. The pot and pan protests which occurred on May 13th to mark the opening of the commemoration, and the “Long Live Human Rights”,”Freedom”, “Efficient Medical Care, Sufficient Water, and Effective Transportation for All” slogans we chanted have not made our neighbors join the struggle, but they nevertheless stand as examples that one can demand without fear, without ideological compromises, and as individuals, without any imposed affiliations.

During these days, the declarations made by some members of the Cuban Catholic Hierarchy in Uruguay have come to light. In those statements, they make it seem as if there have been some changes in the mentality of- the regime? Or their parishioners? With the permission of their lordships, the nearly two-hundred arrests between the past 23rd of February (anniversary of Orlando Zapata Tamayo’s death) and this 25th of May disprove any such assertions.

Machado Ventura, the main ideological coordinator of the Politburo, is on a trip through the provinces demanding that the accords of the recently concluded Communist Party Congress be implemented and met. He has demanded a “change of mentality” and a few Cubans here and there, with their clubs in hand and their reproaches on the tips of their tongues, have prepared themselves to please him.

Translated by Raul G.

2 June 2011