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Armando Chaguaceda: At 33, I feel sometimes old and tired; other days I wake up with the desire to strive, to be surprised and to persevere—with decency, affection, ideas and values. I was born in the town of Regla, with its provincial charm and custom of ignoring the sidewalks. I grew up atheist, surrounded by believing friends, in a family of Martí followers and enemies of dogma. I have assimilated my growing marginality, in relation to so many friends who have emigrated, fellow “fighters” of daily Havana life who, regrettably, have been added to the growing bandwagon of the “apolitical.” For 12 years I have combined my dying passion for politics and social sciences with teaching. I’m currently in Xalapa, Mexico, but I feel within me the imperative to return and do something in a Cuba too present, too uncertain, too beautiful, frank, harrowing and different. I hope I will.

‘Enemy Mine’

November 19, 2012 | Print Print |

Armando Chaguaceda

HAVANA TIMES — An old American science fiction film (with the same name as the title of this post) tells the story of two galactic fighter-pilots — one earthling, the other alien — who after a fierce battle end up stranded on a hostile planet.

There, the imponderables of survival force them to collaborate in their mutual interests of staying alive. Forced to cooperate in the face of common adversities, their relationship reaches the point that bonds of respect, affection and solidarity are forge between these mortal enemies.

On November 8, activist Antonio Rodiles was allegedly roughed up and arrested by both Cuban police and plain clothes security agents.

The leader of the organization Estado de SATS(an important forum for analysis, discussion and social activism), Rodiles is a worthy representative of contemporary “liberal thought on the island” (advocating democratic freedoms  and a reduced State role in the economy), whose ideas he has defended — as proposals for the future Cuban economic and political order — in successive video exchanges with members of the other streams of thought (libertarian, socialist, Catholic, etc..) that form the plural landscape of activism and national ideologies.

For someone identified with a democratic socialist perspective, as is my case, his views are those of a worthy ideological adversary, ones which can and must be confronted without concessions or unnecessary disqualifications within the settings and discourses of our precarious public sphere.

Likewise, Antonio has helped, through his efforts, to defend and expand such free exchanges of ideas and opinions.

For that reason, after one week of his unjust and brutal arrest, and amid the thunderous (and unfortunate) silence of a sector of the Cuban left (my ideological comrades), I join my voice with those demanding his immediate release.

I do this because there will be times to continue discussions around a better and possible Cuba – liberal or socialist, scholarly or popular.

What is now urgently needed is to defend, “with all and for the good of all,” the well-being of Antonio Rodiles, a Cuban who has chosen — with courage, creativity and public-spiritedness — to defend our right to a better country.



What's your opinion?

  • Luis

    He’s probably being questioned about the relationship of his show with TV Marti. He’ll be fine.

  • Humberto Capiro (El Cibergues@)

    Antonio Rodiles has been released with an 800 Cuban pesos fine and no charges! The baseless charges against Rodiles and a world community outcry have made a mark on the Castro “government”!!


    + Writer Angel Santiesteban reports that they have released Antonio Rodiles, after long days in jail and a fine of 800 Cuban pesos – 45 minute ago
    + Just released Antonio Rodiles!!! Cuba – 1 hr ago