Por muy terrible que sea el castigo, denunciar es todo lo que nos queda

No matter how terrible the punishment, denouncing is all we have left

HAVANA, Cuba.- Revealing the pressure that State Security exerts on civil society can become boring, and at the point where we are, almost useless. Recent experiences have shown that even the most mediatic rots in prison, in the cruelest solitude, in the most abject of oblivion. Still, staying silent is the worst decision when living under a totalitarian regime. It doesn’t matter that the fence gets smaller, or that the impunity of a dictatorship makes any attempt at self-defense look vain. If you only have a needle, with it you defend yourself even if a sword is ideal.

The last “encounter” I had with the political police, on April 7, left me more concerned about Cuba than about myself. “You’re going to go to jail for what you do,” was the opening line of officer Osvaldo, who also warned me that there is already a file against me and he will be the one to accompany the entire process. However, he does not know who I am nor has he read my texts, nor has Officer Alberto, who accused me of publishing false news despite the fact that I write opinion articles; many of them based on data and figures endorsed by state media.

At some point in the “interview” they admitted that since July 2021 things had changed, for the worse. They spoke contemptuously of the political prisoners, of the San Isidro Movement, of the journalists who have opted for exile; They even suggested that I emigrate.

Officer Alberto was particularly interested in a informal press conference which was held by Mr. Timothy Zúñiga-Brown, Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of the United States, with some independent journalists, myself among them. The meeting in question had the objective of announcing the partial resumption of consular services and commenting on current issues, especially relations between Cuba and the United States, which are not heading in the direction of improvement despite the reopening of the diplomatic headquarters.

Officer Alberto assured that a similar meeting had taken place days before with the accredited press, insinuating that the independent media had been relegated to the background. I wanted to know if that preference affected me in any way, as if doing the press was a matter of credentials.

The independent Cuban media have been where they are needed and have nothing to envy the foreign press. Some consider that they have remained stuck on the same issues, but unfortunately Cuba’s traumas have not changed in six decades. On the contrary, they have entrenched and aggravated to the point of sinking the nation into the most frightening immobility. Economic collapse, repression, exodus. What could be more urgent?

The worst thing about the “interview” was enduring the supine ignorance of two individuals who look at Cuba without seeing it. Zero pain, zero shame, zero empathy. There is not the slightest light in those heads that allows them to understand that what is happening is dangerous even for themselves. You have to be in front of a State Security agent to know how a shadowy brain works, devastated by the effort to contain a wave that grows larger and more enraged with each passing day.

I couldn’t help but feel sorry when I saw officer Alberto arrive exhausted, sweaty and with bags under his eyes to spend an hour of his life watching officer Osvaldo try to intimidate a woman. That’s what the young henchman went for: to learn how to waste his life embittering that of others, in the name of an elite that has screwed up the future for both of us; a breed that has been worse for Cuba than the dictatorships of Machado and Batista combined.

Writing for a foreign media does not mean that we take for good the intentions of the United States or the European Union. History, and even more so, recent events, are there to show that their policies are too fickle to be trusted. Washington proceeds according to the government in power, and the European Parliament condemns the atrocities of Castroism while hotels continue to be built on the Island with the money of its member countries.

Nobody here is stupid. My trust belongs to the Cuban people and their diaspora. Neither the United States, nor any other country will come to take us out of our misery, and woe to us if, if necessary, we allow it. I am not enthusiastic about annexation, let alone an invasion; but I recognize that no matter how wicked the “northern neighbor” has been at certain times in our history, it has not caused as much damage as the Communist Party of Cuba, the only enemy of this unfortunate people.

Almost about to finish his monologue, officer Osvaldo asked me, referring to the harassment against me: “let’s see, tell me the truth, do you think this is life?”. Of course not, and neither is biting your tongue while the sun burns you and fatigue wins you the fight in a six-hour queue to buy two little tubes of hash.

Living, what is said to be living, is incompatible with the reality of Cuba. Silence cannot be the solution. No matter how limited the reach of our voices, and no matter how dire the promised punishment, speaking out is all we have left.

The opinions expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the issuer and do not necessarily represent the opinion of CubaNet.

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