The “Well-Informed,” the “Badly-Informed” and Those Who Pretend to Act The Fool / Eliécer Ávila

From Diario de Cuba
Often when someone speaks out in a way that displeases the system’s officials, they resort to option three in the manual in order to downplay the importance of, or discredit, the individual who expressed an opinion: “You can see that so-and-so is quite misinformed, in order to talk about this issue you should first inform yourself about it.”

They must have a lot of nerve to ask, or rather to demand, that anyone in Cuba inform themselves. First, we should clarify what is meant by being well-informed today. Any conclusion you could come to about broad-based subjects would require the ability to consult the internet, where it is normal to find people who think and bring their knowledge, from whatever field.

So, to ask a Cuban who doesn’t have the privilege of accessing the internet (the vast majority) to be well-informed, is a subtle but exquisite way of acting the fool.

On the other hand, if you are one of the chosen who has a window onto the internet and you use it to write a better criticism or to express yourself using details that disagree with the system, it’s almost certain that the following day you will no longer enjoy your window on the world because it will have been closed.

So it is that pretending to be a fool is a fundamental requirement — from a State workplace — to be able to continue to count on a certain level of access to the net. This has become a science in which some have achieved stellar performance.

To be fair, we have to recognize that even so, some people, at the risk of losing their access, do share information and even offer the person sitting next to them their chair so that they can become better informed and participate in the ongoing debates constantly being generated, debates which, unjustly and without warrant, remain foreign to our uninformed people.

It is also true that the internet is not the only way to get information on certain topics. But no sensible person should ignore that the Cuban government and, following its orders, all the institutions of the country, do not provide some information to anyone, much less that which would be needed to be able to write the data-filled articles that “those who pretend to be fools” expect of us. Here everything is classified and it is never declassified. Although the President says that we must fight against the practice of secrecy, this is one of the things that can’t change because without its secrets this system would cease to exist.

In this context, those who refuse to pretend to be fools, and who are not willing to negotiate access and communications in exchange for silence and complicity, are left with no other option than to appear uninformed before the nasty gaze of the “private statistics gurus” who make videos for their own consumption about this country as it bleeds to death. Videos about the magnates who keep the real information in their strong boxes under a thousand combinations.

What these “well-informed” don’t know is that there are two halves of this real information about our country: one that is in their strong-boxes and the other scattered in a thousand pieces throughout the Island.

Every necessity of Cubans, if you look closely, is contained in a story whose opening pages we don’t know well, because they are in the strong box; but we do know the ending, because it is on our empty plate that shines like a magic mirror and that tells the story better than anyone and, fortunately, our plate does not care to act the fool.

From Diario de Cuba.

29 June 2012