Being Honest in “Revolutionary” Cuba is a Serious Crime

September 15, 2017 |

By Osmel Ramirez Alvarez

Photo: Silvana Galliano

HAVANA TIMES — It’s dangerous to read Jose Marti on your own in Cuba, without the Marxist “editing” that the Jose Marti Studies Center apply to his writings. Adopting his ethics, his moral and political values, his love for Cuba and his passion for freedom and democracy can bring us great problems with the system.

This because wanting to be useful to your country, wanting to be free and honest in the Marti sense, which is very peculiar, is a dissident act.

“Liberty is every man’s right to be respected and to think and speak without hypocrisy. (…) A man who hides what he thinks or does not dare to say it has no honor. A person who obeys a bad government and does not try to change it is not honest.” This is what he wrote in “The Golden Age”, in “The Three heroes”.

This is Marti’s message to children, so that they grow to be honest and civil so they can then become “citizens”.  However, the Cuban Revolution triumphed and radical socialism was instated, where Marti is superfluous or needs to be adapted. Ideas like the above moved on to become the “best” of bourgeois thought, unnecessary and counter-productive in the Communist context.

An independent journalist in Cuba is only making use of his/her right to free speech, of his/her right to be honest. An opponent of the Cuban political system because they consider the government to be bad, is only trying to be honorable by seeking out ways to improve this government. It’s not me saying it, Marti said it himself.

The Apostle himself, which according to Fidel Castro was who motivated him to fight against Batista’s dictatorship, is also motivating those of us today who are fighting to overthrow a Leftist dictatorship which Castro instated instead of the other one, the right-wing dictatorship.

Photo: Silvana Galliano

In my articles published on Havana Times and Diario de Cuba, I have never defamed anyone, nor do I make up stories, nor do I analyze reality. Whoever doesn’t stick to their ethics and the truth in this line of work isn’t a journalist but a fake. And how many stories I let painfully slip away because if I told them I would put people in harm’s way and that’s not my objective! Even though some people deserve it…

However, political authorities in Mayari don’t value my ethics, or the interesting debate that is often sparked with my articles. Nor do they thank the fact that I highlight problems which affect our territory, which are solvable if there was political will. On the contrary, they are very uneasy, worried and even ready to stop me from continuing my work by any dirty and illegal means they can find.

They still haven’t arrested me and they haven’t done anything directly to me, I think that is down to the fact that I enjoy social prestige, I have some kind of natural leadership in my community and I keep myself involved with people in every matter, even things that I don’t share myself. Of course, without being a hypocrite, just being respectful and tolerant.

That’s why, in spite of them propagating the idea among revolutionary circles that I am a negative person, or that I am a CIA agent, or that I am a mercenary at the Empire’s service, nobody believes them and they come to tell me what they are saying as if a joke.

State Security has harassed me via my family and several friends and have caused unnecessary suffering to my wife and parents. They threaten that they will arrest me soon. The interview I wrote for Diario de Cuba with Mayari opposition candidate, Confesor Verdecia, caused Verdecia to be arrested himself on Saturday Sept. 9th this month for two hours. In addition to intimidating him so that he would renounce his intentions to nominate himself (that is to say, they urged him to stop being honest and a citizen), they left a message for me with him.

Photo: Silvana Galliano

It was the following: according to State Security forces, 15 of my articles constitute a crime and I will be locked up for them. That I only have a few hours left free on the street. They mentioned my articles about the unfair price of tobacco, about problems with cars, about potholes in public roads and so on.

Luckily, it’s been four days already and they still haven’t arrested me. It would be shameful if they did, if I were arrested for being honest, for saying what I think and for trying to improve this bad government, which keeps us poor and stuck in time, stripped of our right to improve it. I would go to jail, no doubt, for following Marti and for letter his ideas forge my character and my values. I would be a prisoner of conscience.

But, I don’t have any other path to walk down but to take the risk. I won’t stop being an honest man for anything in this world, although this might incredibly-enough constitute a serious and punishable crime in revolutionary Cuba, the one which used to promise freedom and progress.

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  • Carlyle MacDuff

    One can only hope that any supporter of the Castro regime upon reading this article will reflect upon it and sense the fear that is instilled by the policies and actions of that regime.
    If the Castro regime had any sense of shame, they would cease their constant manipulation of the image and writings of the Apostle of Cuba. But as communists they know not shame or admit fault. All is justified by that ingrained hate for others which motivated Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. They would sacrifice the people of Cuba willingly in pursuing such hate.

  • grok

    You people *always* speak here of essentially only _bourgeois_ liberties — and not socialist freedoms, potential or actual. And this is obviously because you are understandably disenchanted with the stalinist reality of Cuba: and reject a regime which speaks ‘marxist’ talk — but exhibits few traits of actual Socialism in social and political life (and I am not speaking of ‘Actually-Existing Socialism’: which was another fish entirely).

    But since Miami is only 100 miles away… I doubt very much you are going to be feeling any particular need, soon, of looking beyond these petty personal [U.S.-style] freedoms (to ‘make money’ for the most part, it appears) which you clearly crave — and to strive again, instead, for the ‘Greater Good’ you have all so cynically and despairingly rejected since probably your teenagehood.

    I find this very sad. But not demoralizing. Because I’m a real marxist, with a long history — and all the time I have needed to understand the actual score, Worldwide. And so I don’t ‘sweat’ little Cuba too, too much. The Planet is a far bigger place, eh?

    • Eden Wong

      Whatever you’re drinking, please order me a case. Thank you, amigo.

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      ‘grok’ there is no need to explain that you are a Marxist. That is self evident to anyone who detests Communism as I do. My concerns remain with the rights of the individual, with the retention of humanity, with freedom of speech and the future of mankind. I have a Cuban God-daughter, and hope that she will know in her future the freedoms which you and those like you would deny her.

      • grok

        I detest people who comment ‘knowingly’ — even pompously — on matters in which they CLEARLY have NO experience or understanding.

        But certainly an ‘interest’.

        • Carlyle MacDuff

          You communists detest all sorts of things – freedom of speech, freedom of movement, freedom of the media, freedom to have democratic choice of government, indeed freedom of anything. You pursue a belief that that International Communism ought to be imposed world wide, that human individuality should be obliterated in favour of creating a “proleteriat mass” and that all other forms of life for humanity ought to cease to exist.
          You ‘grok’ are too unimportant for I or anyone else to “detest”. But I do detest that which you and your fellow communists preach and if given the opportunity, practice. To the wall! Goodbye for awhile!

          • CErmle

            Who are you Carlyle to label anybody a “communist”. You make outlandish conclusions about others, saying they are “unimportant” and insignificant based on nothing but your disagreement with those who don’t toe your party line. Get a grip on yourself my friend. I don’t know if you are aware of it or not, but you project an air of importance about yourself. You are soo Trump-like. Sadly, human “individuality” leave you far too judgmental.

      • CErmle

        Thank you Mr. Trump. Unfortunately you have no concept. You continue to be a propagandist for the Empire.

        • Carlyle MacDuff

          My God-daughter was conceived and is both a reality and the future of her country. Insignificants like yourself can sneer and jeer like spectators at a sporting event, but I write of reality, I write because of humanitarian concerns. I care naught for any Empire, but am glad when like the USSR, they implode. But I do care for the populations which are subjected as in Cuba. You CErmle can sit smug as a bug in a rug on your island retreat or visit Cuba to get cheao medical treatment at the Clinica Garcia and feel superior, but your knowledge of Cuba and its people amounts to zero!

          • CErmle

            Ooops. I must have touched a nerve. How can you be a godfather when you are not even Catholic and you write against the Pope on this forum?

    • Moses Patterson

      You write “Because I’m a real marxist”. Is that akin to being a “true Scotsman”, the term attributed to British philosopher Antony Flew which originally appeared in his 1971 book ‘An Introduction to Western Philosophy’. Sounds like it.

      • grok

        You can try to pin the ‘True Scotsman’ dodge on me all you want…

        …but let’s see it stick, eh?

        • Moses Patterson

          What does being “a true Marxist” mean?

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            It means confession Moses!

            You may recall Terry being offended by my implication that some communists contribute to this site. Well now, some are out in the open! I remain in favour of their freedom of speech.

          • Moses Patterson

            How can you BE a communist but live in Canada? If I lived in Cuba can I say that I am a capitalist while living in Cuba? Rather, I would support capitalism but live as a socialist, no? Likewise, and I realize that I may be splitting hairs on this, but Grok claim to be “… a real marxist, with a long history” I say that’s impossible.

          • grok

            I means not being a FAKE marxist — of which there are *slews* out there. *Anyone* can claim to be anything, eh..? However: it is still far harder for most people to discern a fake marxist from, say, a fake medical doctor. After all: a fake certificate _can_ be analyzed for veracity… not to mention the immediate results of mal-practice.