From Camaguey, Cuba: Presents and a Threat

March 18, 2017 |

by Cafe Fuerte

Henry Constantine and his son.

HAVANA TIMES — This Friday, independent journalist Henry Constantin, the director of La Hora de Cuba magazine and regional vice-president of the Inter American Press Association (SIP), was officially accused for “misappropriation of a legal standing” and if he goes to trial and a legal case is made against him, he could face up to a year in jail.

Constantin is one of the most recognized figures in Cuban independent journalism, who has decided to stay in Cuba and work from his native city of Camaguey.

The police visit to his home coincided with the birthday of his son Dante, who was turning 11 years old. Now, Constantin will be subjected to a precautionary measure which prevents him from leaving his home city, which will prevent him from attending a professional event in the United States and the SIP’s mid-year meeting in Antigua, Guatemala.

In solidarity with our friend Constantin, Cafe Fuerte has reproduced the short, but moving text that the journalist wrote when describing his bitter-sweet day on Friday.

PRESENTS AND A THREAT

By Henry Constantin

Today, Dante, my son, my smile, my innocence, my hope, the greatest challenge and present that I have received until now, turns 11 years old.

Today, at midday, a police patrol car loaded with policemen also left a message at my house that I had to go to the Third Unit, where I have already been arrested once before.

A short time afterwards, friends told me that, this week, at least two of La Hora de Cuba magazine’s collaborators had been pressured by people from State Security to accuse me of financial crimes, that I don’t pay them for their work, and other things which have NOTHING to do with my principles, my conduct and that of La Hora de Cuba. These two, good people, refused to do so.

There is a dirty accusation against me, because they don’t dare go straight for me. I will go to the police station instead of spending Dante’s birthday with him. However, I have had time to give him a kiss and a hug and take a photo, and teach him over all these years, to be studious, honest, just, noble and brave. And that being like this here in Cuba is a problem, and that’s why we have to change it.

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  • CErmle

    There is a lot more to this story than you are reporting here. Tell the whole story. You are making it sound like something out of fictional drama.

    • Olgasintamales

      Well if you know more please tell us. I’m dying to know.

    • Moses Patterson

      Haven’t you heard? In Cuba, oftentimes truth is stranger than fiction.

    • Sky

      Knowing that you have been summoned to the place where you have been arrested and knowing you could be facing jail would you antagonise or add to the potential charges by telling more? Come on, to whose benefit would that be? Try to put yourself in his position ( it’s called empathy). Moses is right, Fact is often bigger than fiction in Cuba…

  • Rich Haney

    Cuba clearly is paranoid about dissidents, journalists, and bloggers on the island it suspects of being supported and/or funded by sources off the island, especially Miami and Washington, Otherwise, Cuba actually has a tolerance for domestic critics it deems self-motivated…such as indicated by the ANTI-GOVERNMENT Letters-to-the-Editor sections of the state-controlled media and little or no hindrance of anti-government bloggers on the island not considered foreign inspired. That viewpoint is expressed by Ana Maria Mari Machado, perhaps the most powerful and surely the most respected of the Cuban Vice-Presidents in the National Assembly. In the looming post-Castro era in Cuba, coinciding with the Trump era in the U. S., Ana is probably the Cuban with the most ascendancy potential, strictly due to the fact that everyday Cubans, all across the island, hold her is such lofty esteem. Her full name…Ana Maria Mari Machado…is one that should resonate more because it is quite possible that she will have more to say about Cuba’s impending future than far more famous…but less notable…names in Havana as well as Miami and Washington.

    The female-dominance of the Cuban Revolution, both in its origin and in its evolution, was and is best represented by one name — Celia Sanchez. The female-dominance of the post-Castro era in Cuba, both its genesis and how it evolves, might well be best represented by one name — Ana Maria Mari Machado. From 1952 till well beyond the revolutionary victory in 1959, Celia Sanchez had the total support of almost every single everyday Cuban on the island, FROM THE PEASANT CLASS TO THE MIDDLE CLASS. In 2017, Ana Maria Mari Machado, I believe, has the support of almost every single everyday Cuban on the island. Whatever one might think of Cuba’s current system, the CELIA-ANA parallels related to popular support were and are the most crucial aspects within the bowels of both the Cuban Revolution and Revolutionary Cuba. Cuba’s enemies can dismiss that nexus at their own peril…while they conjure up misnomers about HOW IN THE WORLD THE CUBAN REVOLUTION SUCCEEDED AND HOW IN THE HELL IT HAS SURVIVED FOR ALL THESE DECADES. When counter-revolutionaries concoct self-serving untruths about the Cuban Revolution and its longevity, it serves the Revolution far more than it serves its enemies.

    Underestimating Celia Sanchez in 1952 was Batista’s and Washington’s biggest mistake. Underestimating Ana Maria Mari Machado in 2017 might be the biggest mistake Cuba’s enemies in Miami and Washington will make. Cuba’s best historian, Pedro Alvarez Tabio, was not mistaken when he wrote: “If Batista had managed to kill Celia Sanchez anytime between 1953 and 1957, there would have been no viable Cuban Revolution and no revolution for Fidel and Che to join.”