The Costly Frivolities of Agent PercyJuly 25, 2012 | Print |
In response to a poorly written article that follows the protocol of psychological warfare
Haroldo Dilla Alfonso*
HAVANA TIMES — I’ve been reading all the mess generated by Cuban security operative Percy Alvarado through his article on Obama’s imperialist interference in Cuba.
At first he accused everyone who crossed his path of being a pro-US puppet, and then he apologized for having slung mud with such energy at those who he wasn’t authorized to defame.
None of this is new for Percy, whose favorite hobby has always been mudslinging, as well as screwing up in his unwholesome trade. We should recall that the same thing happened not long ago with some pro-Chavez Venezuelans, who he dumped a shovel of mud on and then swore that this had never been his intention.
The problem is that some people — no matter what the context in which they circulate — continue being their same old selves.
Recalling Where I Met Percy
Now, reading about these latest immature entanglements of Percy Alvarado, I thought about a young guy I met nearly 40 years at Lenin High School, where I first worked.
At the time Percy Alvarado (PA) was a young Guatemalan who taught literature at the school and who fantasized about his epic past as a guerrilla fighter, as well as his dream of reunifying the disbanded armies of Turcios Lima and Yon Sosa to march on Guatemala City.
It was a little annoying, but everybody — students and teachers alike — put up with it because, as my friend Pepin used to say, without those fables Percy wouldn’t have existed.
Perhaps he was endured because we sensed that this being who roamed the cold halls of Lenin High and who unloaded his frustrations on the tolerant parishioners was the best personal version that he could manage from his existence, doomed to moral misery.
What followed was terrible. Not because he was a spy — which is a profession like any other one everywhere, and has always been professional and honorable — but because he has determined to leave us with his written memoirs.
He has entered into ideological play with his McCarthyite articles, like this one now, which — despite its inconsistencies and humorous features — doesn’t prevent it from being dangerous as an accusatory indictment in a country where there are no individual guarantees or an independent judicial process.
Serious Unfounded Accusations
The danger is that Percy’s article is not simply what it seems — ridiculous burlesque — but a serious unfounded accusation that continues with what the official ill-paid bloggers and Cubadebate were already coming up with at the time of the “Festival CLIC.”
Their intention was to create a state of opinion favorable to a crackdown on critical independent projects and the opposition by presenting them as creatures of the US government’s interference in the internal affairs of Cuba. They were framing them as anti-national pimples that needed to be popped and removed for the sake of the common good.
As an article, his poorly written piece follows the rules of psychological warfare: crammed together decontextualized data that mentions names along with details of alleged activities (about 40 people are mentioned/incriminated), in a line in which he appears very confident of himself as a police agent in control and in which he uses explosive phrases that say nothing but imply a lot. Yet above all, it’s an article that fans fear.
It speaks, for example, about things that are “known,” things about which “there is strong evidence,” accusations that “don’t harbor the slightest doubt,” references to “secret meetings” with avowed enemies; and the guarantee that, while much more is known, these facts are only being saved for future repressive ammunition to be used by a guy like PA, who must feel like a fish in water.
A favorite victim on this occasion was Eliecer Avila — the young man who managed to get Ricardo Alarcon to reveal all of his nonsense — who Percy describes as “the new son of mercenaries.” He accuses the youth of “harboring foolish ideas,” of wanting an “impossible Arab spring” and using “fanciful concepts.”
But despite all this, the warning is made that Eliecer will be closely monitored and prevented from carrying out his “silly-flighty-impossible” plans by applying all the “resources and elements necessary.”
All of this proves once again that the young man would make an excellent psychotherapist charged with draining weakened minds. Speaking of nonsense, there are no recognizable boundaries: Percy has obviously surpassed Alarcon and his ever memorable metaphor about “the skies being filled with airplanes.”
Eliecer Wasn’t the Only Target
But Eliecer wasn’t alone. Estado de SATS creator Antonio Rodiles is presented as a major target, along with almost four dozen other of people who are mentioned by name along with their alleged functions – provided with the same delight as would be enjoyed by the neighborhood snitch.
Percy includes recognized critics and opposition figures, several cultural projects and once again pluralistic projects on the left such as Havana Times.
He adds, in a very curious manner, the prestigious “Comite de Ciudadanos por la Integracion Racial (the Citizens Committee for Racial Integration), which he accuses of offending patriotic values by recognizing the “Partido Independiente de Color” (the Independent Party of Color, founded in 1908) and its leader Evaristo Estenoz – a group which, according to Percy, was active in the 1800s.
It was here that he made the slip of emphasizing the appearance of a ridiculous plot, which he poorly contrived and described even worse. In his unbridling of the virtue of repression, Percy crossed the line and committed a sin when he included on his list of “mercenaries” five intellectuals who not only have nothing to do with the opposition; instead, in some cases they made highly public leaps of pro-government faith, and are therefore officially recognized as intellectuals.
The Ministry of Culture, which had published Percy’s article in one of their newsletters, found itself forced to apologize for that action (the only moderately positive outcome of this whole mess), alleging that the article didn’t concur with its editorial line in its the attack on those five intellectuals.
Notwithstanding (and here I return to the quagmire), by default the ministry accepts the rest of Percy’s repressive arguments, his personal attacks, that simplistic vision of the world, and the endangering of dozens of people and institutions with the allegations of this scribe in the service of worst circles of the Cuban political class.
This was abysmal for MINCULT, and I think that it missed an opportunity to show the world that there remains any decency or good sense among the highest political circles on the island.
In the end I’m always filled with doubts about to what extent this was an initiative of Percy Alvarado or him complying with a directive from someone higher up in order to not only to frighten sectors of Cuban intellectuals, but to also condition members of the political class itself, who now understand that it’s no longer possible to continue governing the nation like a herd of cattle.
In any case I think the result will be the opposite of what was expected by the perpetrators. There are situations and processes in contemporary Cuba that are irreversible, and among them is the emergence of an independent, pluralistic and diffuse public space that will not be decimated by another black spring.
Percy Alvarado pointed to this with his own existential failures, his twisted arguments and his mudslinging.
To him the youth of the Critical Observatory have said something that is as brief as it is substantial: “Enough!”
(*) A Havana Times translation of the original posted by Cubaencuentro.com.