Cuba Customs Chief Confirms SeizureMarch 20, 2013 | Print |
Isbel Diaz Torres
HAVANA TIMES — The head of Cuban Custom’s Postal & Shipping Department, Raul Gomez Badia, has just upheld the appeal I filed recently in an attempt to recover a small shipment of Venezuelan libertarian (“anarchist”) newspapers.
As promised to the readers of Havana Times, I’m sharing the outcome of my efforts with the Cuban authorities.
Through Resolution No. 92-2013, that agency declared in its fifth “whereas” that “the penalty was correctly applied by the authority in charge in that it detected literature directed against the revolutionary process in Venezuela and its leader.”
I don’t know if it’s the same with you readers, but I see a great contradiction in this. I seem to remember that what was stated in the initial seizure was that the materials were directed “against the general interests of the nation.”
Is Cuban Customs overseeing the general interests of the Venezuelan nation instead of ours? Or am I living in Venezuela and I’ve been deceived all my life?
At least something has been made clear: In the 21st century, the monolithic ideology introduced in our country still decides what literature we Cubans can and cannot read.
It’s very important to emphasize this, although it sounds like a truism, because much of the intelligentsia here on the island is a world of their own, thinking we’ve left behind the days of the quinquenio gris, the persecution of alternative thinking and censorship just because certain academic circles, certain circles of the artistic elite, closed to broader society, are allowed the luxury of transgressing a few previous restrictions.
It’s also interesting (and shocking) to confirm how an institution like Cuban Customs abrogates the right to determine which international processes are revolutionary and which ones aren’t. We already know the term is apt to dissimilar readings.
Such a practice ignores the right of each individual to decide for themself whether, in this case, the Venezuelan revolution is being forged by the government (and its leaders), or — conversely — the militants of El Libertario are the real revolutionaries.
Moreover, the fallacy of the “guarantees” provided by the government is once again evident. Its arbitrariness is evident, as well as its attacks on the most basic rights. There’s no point going to the “appropriate authorities” as they only mock citizens like us.
In this case, Officer Gomez Badia didn’t even bother to read the papers in question. This is evident in his repetition of the same mistake as his subordinate: In his third “whereas” he incorrectly called the newspaper El Literario (The Literary) rather than El Libertario (The Libertarian).
Faced with such disrespect of itself, can we expect anything different for us?
Well, we’ll find out, because the second “Be it resolved” informed us that “the appeal has no recourse in administrative channels, it is left with only the judicial process.”
If we are forced to go through the “judicial process,” we’ll proceed though it expeditiously – although if I’d been in their position, I would have simply turned over the newspapers. At the end of the day, the only thing they’re going to do is sink deeper and deeper. Apparently they don’t even understand what’s written there.
Meanwhile, the newspaper of the CNT labor union in Spain (which we now have in our hands) has published our complaint. We want to express our appreciation for the solidarity of our friends in Europe.