Monthly Archives: February 2012

Mr. Lázaro Fariñas

“A Miami-based Cuban journalist” is the same one who, a while ago, was complaining, as usual, because in Miami they permitted for only 24 hours a billboard showing the five spies sentenced by the United States. We should thank him in some way for teaching us that there, in “enemy” territory, at least they can engage in political criticism and disagree with the government. By contrast, in Cuba you can’t even think differently. And I congratulated him for having fled with his family to a land, if not of absolute freedom, at least of limited freedom, as he wanted to explain in his column.

And now this man once again has the nerve to say in a Cuban newspaper, “Cuba is making progress, despite the doomsayers” (29-11-2011), without specifying which way is forward, it may be the abyss, and he states that “I had a friend in Miami who was a radio commentator; he conducted interviews and made comments on that city. He defended Cuba (meaning the dictatorship) to the hilt and attacked the extreme right-wing Cuban Americans with a sarcasm and intellectual ability that few can imagine.”

I wonder if the author had one lobe of his brain removed so that he doesn’t mind looking ridiculous, clumsily trying to manipulate the Cuban opinion. Or is he just another propagandist, supposedly a journalist, since the paper supports everything they put in it. In short, he is complying with the regime and continuing to receive benefits that are granted in return for the services he provides.

How can this guy play with the intelligence of Cubans in such a clumsy and inconsistent way? Or is he laughing cynically about the people of Cuba? I’ll never understand how someone who left the country to improve his professional and private life now defends the cause that made him flee. Because it’s impossible to be an envoy of Castro in Miami, a member of another “Wasp Network” that operates without prejudice in the media there, and that survives olympically under the noses of its enemies.

The fact that someone in Miami had a radio program where he judged, criticized and ridiculed the same people who are suffering deeply from the distance from their land, without anyone shutting down his program, or taking revenge with their own hands, seems to me an act of stoicism on the part of those who had to endure it.

I refuse to believe that Mr. Lazarus Fariña has forgotten the fierce repression and censorship that exists in Cuba, now for over 50 years, where we never were permitted to have a personal, private and independent media that would provide free speech. Not even the ability to print something, nor the right to write reviews, newspaper articles, radio spots, not to mention accessing the Internet. How can he defend a process that punishes, with years in prison, those who voice a thought critical of Fidel Castro?

Characters like Lazarus Fariñas are those we sadly see in a future democratic Cuba, also defending the politicians in power.

Later he continues his contradictory writing, wanting to protect what he criticizes. Since criticizing censorship in order to defend the Cuban government has put him in a bind. Mr. Fariña talks nonsense by saying that this radio commentator, now deceased, named Álvaro Sánchez Cifuentes, “belonged to the revolutionary militias at the time of the Bay of Pigs invasion.” However, clearly his destiny became twisted, and he ended up living in Miami, with those he fought in order to avoid being forced to emigrate years later. And he survived in the city where his enemies live, those he provoked tirelessly, according to reports, when he asserts that “I let myself go, gave them nicknames and laughed at the stupidity of these tragicomic characters of the local theater that make up the so-called Cuban exile community of Miami.”

Where Fariñas reaches new levels of cynicism is when he says “I’ve never liked participating in programs run by people who hold my own opinion. I prefer debate and discussion.” I infer that the place referred to is Cubadebate, the space of least possibility of discerning that exists and in which the official, registered “journalists” publish, like Fariña himself. Even more contradictory is the fact that his article is published in a country where not even a remote chance exists of challenging an official opinion, and in a newspaper where all opinions go in one direction.

Mr. Fariñas enjoys the benefits of being on both sides. He lives his “fierce” capitalism, which he doesn’t abandon, and he defends the system that doesn’t accompany it. From a short distance the story is different, and he knows it better than anyone. He survives in Miami and takes his vacations in Cuba. These people who don’t know the meaning of the word “dignity” are the allies that the Cuban government deserves.

What I most wish for Mr. Fariñas is that his U.S. citizenship be revoked and he is returned to his Committee for the Defense of the Revolution, that they make him President of his block, and that he experience the stark reality of the Cuban people.

Then we’ll see what he says.

Translated by Regina Anavy

February 17 2012

Cuba: For 53 years the paper supports everything they write

The most official newspaper, the voice of the only political party in Cuba, is cynical enough to publish an article entitled: “The dark side of democracy,” by the “journalist” and Bolivian university “professor,” national “Senator” for the Socialist Movement party (MAS), “former director”of the weekly “Here” and former candidate in 2002 for vice president of Bolivia with coca grower Evo Morales, Antonio Peredo Leigue, who begins by quoting the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Language Academy, in its two meanings of the word “democracy.”

Then, ignoring our geographical position, because by saying: “I will not mention any examples of Our America, where everyone feels acutely the critical need to dissect what happens in each of our countries,” he loses the social sense of what happens in Cuba.

So we infer that he Olympically ignores Cubans who for over fifty years have not the least rights (according to the dictionary) to comment, disagree, criticize or complain, about what happens in our country, for what the “journalist” shows a total ignorance of the circumstances in which we live the on this island. And if his intention was to include us in the continent, we who do not really have our place in the Western Hemisphere, than any of the residents in Cuba who provides critical testimony to the system sinks into the most extreme of the absurd circumstances overcoming, even, the Kafkaesque occurrences, we have only neighbors, on this imaginary and marginal planet, in North Korea and China. So, definitely, Mr. Journalist who published that article in the newspaper Granma, you did not take us into account.

But all this, according to the journalist, is to make a scapegoat of the European Union, hence the publication of the communist libel, although it’s clear that the regime’s censors did not read line by line, or perhaps their attitude reaffirms what we have known for a long time: that faced with such a disadvantage in international public opinion, they have lost all shame, and the only thing that matters is trying to manipulate the people of Cuba, although they don’t manage it, because the silence of its citizens is the response of fear, and the officialdom is committed to that.

Later, the columnist says, “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, clearly and promptly, the right to life and decent work for all people in all countries. This is the foundation of democracy. In some countries it is more problematic than in others to fulfill that statement. “

If the journalist had written this piece in Cuba, they certainly would not have published it in any media, because it is too ambiguous, too close to the demands of Cuban dissidents. It would have certainly suffered censorship and ideological position would have been challenged, as all are obliged to think uniformly, and although they do not, most of them fake it.

For us, if demand the same, we are branded as traitors, spies, we are in collusion with the enemy they choose, they fabricate. Surely, such a journalist, with his ideas, would be part of those persecuted by and inquisitive government machinery of the Castro brothers.

With pleasure we would explain this to all those foreigners who distort the Cuban reality; although I still doubt that they can be as innocent, or simply bought off with some with a benefit paid to them by the Cuban regime, not always with money; the most common bribes to intellectuals and journalists, those of the “Left”, are often invitations to the island with all expenses paid.

February 25 2012

Trampling Innocence

In the official newspaper — of course no others are allowed to exist — a “journalist” published an article titled “Trampling innocence,” where, exalted, he concerns himself with highlighting some children’s games where they pretend to “kill.” He tells us, “They can hide these irresponsible attitudes in the future; and although habit does not make the man, it least it identifies him.”

The writer also highlights that another group of children ran some remote control toy cars over some soldiers, who are seen as human figures, and the one who ran over the most received the biggest ovation and shouts of victory.

Then, wise, he emphasizes, “The formation of personality is a process of sedimentation of behavior, values and influences. Could not the ’naive violence’ shown in the game be a pattern that prevails in the future? It’s worth pondering.”

And he says, “It is not a secret, because the Law so provides, it is the responsibility of parents to form the character of their children.”

When I finished reading it I wondered how could a journalist in middle age, as evidenced by the photo accompanying the article, could trample his innocence, or worse, the readers’. How many times have we called attention to militarism and, therefore, the violence that the government plants in children?

For as long as we can remember they’ve prepared us physically and psychologically to kill. What is the point of the “Boy Scouts” other than to direct you in the first steps in military rigor, the life of survival in extreme situations? Since children are part of the military circles, military units led us, taught us to handle the military technique.

We, according to the education we received, are a product of the revolutionary process which we must and have to defend with our lives. From an early age they made us go and hold a gun made of wood or tin. They filled the island with shotguns, because the slogan was: “Learn to shoot, and shoot well,” and the investment was made by SEPMI, a direct offshoot of the army.

We had a subject, which still exists, read well: a subject called “Military Readiness” for little boys and girls, as important as the others when it came time to average the grades by which they assign those who will study for future professions. A subject to accompany you for the rest of your life, in high school, in military service before college.

Even then, in the university, the preparation continues. And after graduation, you still part of the army and from time to time are required to stay for a month or more in spring training. The Sundays of MTT, which fill our neighborhoods, understood as the spaces of childhood, with dark scenes of attacks, gunfire, smoke and explosions. And we, the children we were then and now, witnessing all these scenes of death.

While we postpone our games because we wait for the adults to finish with theirs, but with real guns, and we returned to the streets, while we wait for our mothers and fathers to come home, in their sweaty uniforms and muddy boots, with barely the energy to clean the house, only their bodies begging for a bath, food and rest. And we are left with: imitation, going to repeat those fires, to occupy the barricades with sacks filled with dirt.

To this add, of course, always removing the mask of innocence and pointing to reality, that the national television programs in prime time are about the police, incorruptible heroes, who through violence reach justice. Just remember those great series: “It had to be in silence,” “Julito the fisherman,” “Something more than dreams,” among many, presentations that, like it or not, marked our personality of who we are today, and our parents unable to prevent it, even if they were aware of future consequences in the human beings we would later be. But how to stop events, time, isolate us from everything?

I believe that the journalist, perhaps with the best of intentions, tramples his own innocence, or underestimates the society by concealing that the true reasons for the current violence is transmitted through the speeches, the perennial fear generated in us about invasions to our shores, air strikes, among others.

Cuban society in these 54 years of political process that governs us, above all those of us born out of chaos, were raised to kill a perceived enemy that never came. We still await the impending attack of the United States, so that several generations of Cubans sacrificed their lives, putting their hopes on a better future that never came.

I remember in the innocence of my generation as we played at killing like cowboys, but most wanted to be Indians, Apaches defending their territory because we saw the gunmen of the West as abusers who wanted to impose their law, steal our land, our tranquility and impose their customs. We learned from American movies with which they also roasted us, just before the arrival of Soviet war movies and the rest of the socialist camp. They twisted our culture, the look and the innocence.

Hopefully the most objective of the writer is his call for “reflection” which would be worthwhile for anyone, though, we understand, he didn’t have the audacity to name it directly because that would be suicide, closing the door to his existence as an official journalist. Because ultimately, what we are, good or bad, we owe to our rebellion or to Fidel Castro, who imposed the rules with which each generation must comply.

Bifurcated ways that everyone, rolling or rocking his innocence, took for himself.

February 8 2012