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Isbel Diaz Torres: Pinar del Rio and Havana are my cities. I was born in one on March 1, 1976, and I’ve always lived in the other. I am a biologist and poet, though at times I’ve also been a musician, translator, teacher, computer geek, designer, photographer and editor. I’m very non-conformist and a defender of differences – perhaps due to always having been an ever-repressed “model child.” Nothing enthralls me more than the unknown, nature and art; these serve as my sources of mystery and development. A surprising activism has been born in me over the recent period. Though I’m not very sure how to channel it, I feel that it’s a worthy and legitimate energy. Let’s hope I have the discernment to manage it.

Cuba Customs Chief Confirms Seizure

March 20, 2013 | Print 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.


What's your opinion?

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  • Sorry to hear that is still going on, even though the paper is really of no consequence other than to themselves which is very little but as I said before people should be able to read what they want even if its wrong, that is not to say that there are no problems like the revolution is has not been completed as of yet.
    Ska-P, the Spanish anarchist ska-punk band. They used to think that Chavecito was just another “authoritarian socialist” — a complete contradiction in terms, of course, since real socialism makes authoritarians obsolete, then Ska-P became huge fans of the Venezuelan leader after going to Venezuela and spread the good word throughout Spain.
    Here is their video and song about him, you will enjoy it for sure.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=lq6464raaJ4

  • Griffin

    It’s too bad you don’t have what these guys have… then you could sail through Cuban customs with your suitcases full of stolen cash:

    “I wish to bring to your attention of the mass plunder of our economy that is happening in this corrupt PF government.

    Firstly, the PF leaders including their puppet master Fred Namakando M’membe are busy shipping hard currency to CUBA. Fred himself is flying to Havana with suitcases of Dollars at least twice a month using a diplomatic passport, so he cannot be searched at the airport.

    Recently, Wynter went to CUBA to formalise the operations of his and his bosses’ bank accounts where illicit funds can be easily laundered.

    These plunderers…hatched a scheme to hide these resources to ‘safe havens’ like Cuba and North Korea, Sudan and Iran.”

    http://www.zambianwatchdog.com/?p=54630

    Coincidentally, this report suggests a reason for Cuba’s new best diplomatic friend, Iran: the Iranian regime needs to evade international banking sanctions and the Castro’s have 5 decades of experience in that fine art.

  • hmmm…if these guys [see Griffin, below] want to park some of their ill gotten gains me, they could use my account! Before my ISP installed better spam filters, I used to get two or three messages per month, usually from Nigeria, asking me to park $$$ in my account. Of course, they requested my account #, and could imagine the consequences if I had: the next time I visited my bank, or tried to cash a cheque, I’d be in for a surprise. (Another poor elder in my community, who was not sufficiently cautious, did just this, with lamentable results!)

    Relating specifically to Isbel’s plight, however, I remember back in the mid-1960’s that it was impossible for me to receive copies of the Peking Review and China Pictorial. I’d get a notice from the postal authorities saying I had received unsolicited foreign propaganda which would be destroyed if I didn’t respond (usually within a week). Often when I did, the material would already have been destroyed. In the end, the aduana’s efforts will be to no avail. One way or another, the libertarian literature will get through. Still, as I said in my earlier post [#1 on his struggle with the aduana], this whole incident provides him with an entertaining, kafkaesque, and byzantine, story.

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  • Isbel Diaz

    Michael
    Norman Landis, sorry for the delay to answer.

    Your propossal it good, but:
    It is impossible, with our Internet connection, to
    download the file.

    It is impossible, with our Internet connection, even to
    receive or send it, since it’s too heavy.

    It is impossible for us to print it at home and make it
    readable, since the original size of the page is bigger than the standard
    paper here, and standard printers here.

    No printing house will agree to print this, even if
    paid.