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Warhol P: I see myself as an observant person and I like to write with sincerity what I think and live first hand. I’m shy and of few words; thus it’s difficult for me to engage in conversation. For that reason, my best tool for communicating is writing. I live in Marianao, Havana and am 40 years old.

Cuba: How Low Can We Stoop?

October 4, 2013 | Print Print |

Warhol P

Foto: Juran Suarez

HAVANA TIMES — I recently read an article by a fellow Havana Times blogger which mentions how the renowned Cuban actress Ana Luisa Rubio was beaten up as part of a government reprisal. When I first read her name, I had the impression I didn’t know the actress. After doing a Google search and seeing her photos, I immediately recognized her and felt profound pain.

I was horrified by the photos of her swollen, blood-stained face and the actress’ agonized look. From the very sharp images, I could tell they had been particularly brutal with her face.

I don’t know why but, for a moment, I thought of my mother. This actress is probably the same age as her, I thought. What would I have done if something like this had happened to my mother? What would I had done if it had happened to anyone I knew, be it a woman or a man?

Things like these make me realize this revolution is an enormous pile of trash, and I say “trash” to avoid using another word that might be more appropriate here.

How could we even talk about human rights when situations as sordid as this one are still taking place?

Something similar could happen to any one of us who write for Havana Times.

That also crossed my mind, that, for the simple reason I have different ideas, my face could be used like a football by anyone who disagrees with me. Let it be said in passing that these are my ideas and I believe that every human being is independent and has their own way of thinking and seeing things. Accordingly, they should have the right to choose between what they consider to be good and bad.

Those responsible didn’t even care to notice the woman they were beating was once a well-known actress we had followed and enjoyed on Cuban television. What’s more, I recall that, not long ago, she was interviewed on a Cuban show, Medio Dia en TV (“Noon TV”), where she spoke of her portrayal of a character known as “Captain Storm” and told the audience she was currently working on children’s literature.

Then, we hear this unpalatable story that the perpetrators were members of the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) on her block. How can something like this even happen in Cuba? We’ve been combatting violence against women, year after year, and now this terribly shameful thing happens, throwing everything we’ve been trying to achieve in terms of human rights out the window.

These are the kinds of things that make my stomach turn. I am repulsed by these excesses and lies. I wonder what will happen with the people who attacked her.

Everyone knows that no one has the right to go to someone’s home and force the owner outside to beat them up, let alone take delight in disfiguring their faces.

In Cuba, we’ve gone from yelling the slogan: “one, two, three, four, out with the worms!”, from throwing eggs at the disaffected, to violence and brutality. Yes, we’ve changed, but for the worse. Am I wrong?

The eighties are well behind us and, today, things can be different. To begin with, the world is privy to everything, and news like this one spread through the Internet and reach all corners of the globe and many different places (save, of course, Cuba’s television and press).

Thinking about this incident, I’ve come to the conclusion that we’re wrong in saying “Our Homeland is Humanity.” If loyalty to one’s homeland was ever a sign of one’s humanity, today, for me, this expression has lost all meaning.

I can only resign myself to saying: fellas, we’ve had it.


What's your opinion?

  • Griffin

    The beatings and abuse of anybody who expresses a different point of view is nothing new. That’s the way it has been from the beginning of the Revolution right up to today. This was no accident and not a case of a few hotheads getting carried away. This is Official Policy & Procedure of the Revolution.

  • Dan

    Her picture doesn’t look bad at all compared with the Occupy protesters beaten by US cops. Ops. Excuse me. I forgot that this space is dedicated solely to showing that Cuba is not perfect.

    • Informed Consent

      You expose yourself for a fool. Are you referring to the occupy movement that was allowed to occupy Zucccotti park in New York City for over one year, while politicians, celebrities, and news organizations walked freely among them? …yes I can see that happening in Cuba under the Castro’s. after all we see how they beat women in white dresses carrying flowers, a truly fearsome enemy.

      And yes, these pages are about Cuba

      • Walter Teague

        Informed Consent: Your assertion is irrelevant and irrational. The fact that some people walked some time ‘freely” among OWS proves nothing except they were not always shut down or surrounded. Eventually as you must know, conditions changed dramatically and there was little “freely” walking. Similarly, the Women in White have not been always beaten nor from what I have seen and read, were they ever beaten as severely or as often as many of the demonstrators in OWS and many other protests around the world. If you are informed, and really don’t like peaceful protestors to be beaten – and as a protestor for over 50 years I have seen hundreds of such beatings in the US and elswhere and I never liked it – then it doesn’t help to exaggerate or be selective in your outrage. So I am suspicious of your motives.

    • Moses Patterson

      Dan, there is no comparison between the OWS protests and the Castro-style repression that takes place every day in Cuba. The OWS protesters were often illegally occupying public spaces. There is no excuse for police brutality anywhere, but these protesters were lawbreakers. This Cuban actress, like the Ladies in White are breaking no laws.

      • Dan

        I’ve spent a lot of time in Cuba, Moses. More than you can imagine. I’ve never seen a scintilla of repression. Not that it doesn’t exist, just w/ nowhere the prevalence you claim.

        • Moses Patterson

          Have you ever seen Cubans refer to Fidel by stroking their chin as opposed to saying his name aloud? They pull at the sides of their eyes (La Chinita) to mean Raul instead of voicing his name, did you know that? Have you ever walked up La Rampa in Havana, in the middle of the day or night, and had some guajira cop ask for your ID because he is bored and you are black? I have. Do you ask yourself why you have never seen a large group of protesters outside a government office peacefully demanding their rights? Have you ever read a single word in Granma criticizing the Castros or their oligarchy? Do you simply accept that every law in the National Assembly should pass without a single NO vote? Have you ever seen three Cubans agree 100% on anything, let alone the National Assembly? Obviously you were not in Havana this summer to witness a group of middle-aged women dressed in white and armed with gladiolas quietly marching from Sunday mass. If you had been, you would have seen unprovoked arrests and oftentimes beatings. These are all common acts of repression or the result of the repression that takes place every day in Cuba. You are either blind to the Cuban reality during your many times in Cuba, or lying to yourself.

          • Dan

            Sure, they also tap their shoulders to indicate Fidel. Doesn’t mean they’re afraid. Believe me, I’ve had at least three loud discussions w/ disaffected Cubans, once in the terminal de Omnibus, and other public places, well w/in earshot of a PRN. Add that to hundreds of conversations in peoples living rooms w/ all the neighbors in attendance. So I know that portrait of police state fear is pure basura. And re that racial stuff – thank god you live in a country where racial profiling by the police doesn’t occur, right Moses ?

    • CUBAQUS

      She looks very bad. You are comparing an unprovoked attack on a peaceful person by thugs to events in a riot: hypocrite.

      • Dan

        There went your credibility, out the window. OWS a riot ? By the police maybe. Yet you glorify the “Maleconazo”. A vandalism spree by a bunch of vagos hoping for a free ride to Miami .

        • CUBAQUS

          The only “credibility” that “went” was yours, Dan.
          Your disdain for the Cuban people is clear.
          Riots you applaud and the despair of the Cuban people in an hunger uprising you call “vandalism” while calling the victims of oppression “vagos”.

    • Griffin

      The police only arrested Occupy protesters when they resorted to vandalism, arson and assault. They were allowed to occupy public parks for months, defecting in public, assaulting each other and using drugs without the police intervening. By the way, I noticed a remarkable number of Che t-shirts and flags among the Occupy creeps.

      In Cuba, the police and bully brigades assault peaceful protesters and throw rocks, sticks, paint & faeces at their homes.

      Do you see the commonality?

      • Dan

        Oh yeah. And OWS was being financed, trained and organized by a foreign power, 10xs bigger and infinitely more powerful, which had tried to invade the United States and was sworn to the destruction of it’s government, right? See the difference.
        It’s also interesting that you, the champion of free speech apparently think that shooting out a woman’s eye w/ a rubber bullet, or smashing someone’s head w/ a truncheon is fine if they are a “creep w/ a Che T-shirt”. Says reams about your sincerity.

    • Joe F.

      Dan, you are a troll… whatever happens in the United States (or anywhere else in the world) doesn’t justify of minimizes what happens in Cuba.

      This site is (to the best of my knowledge) not affiliated to the United States government or the NYPD, or anyone involved in the beatings to the OWS movement. So mentioning this here is as relevant as mentioning the victims of a civil war in Somalia, or the victims of the Spanish Inquisition.

      In any case, if you think that what happened in New York is wrong, then you must agree that this is also wrong (being that as you seem to imply, for you it is the same situation), and you must agree with the people asking for a change.

      So, please, let’s stay focused on the subject at hand and not try to divert the discussion to irrelevant and unrelated topics.

  • CUBAQUS

    This incident isn’t the low point of the Castro repression. From the beatings of dissidents over the acts of repudiation, the UMAP, the victimization of children in school and students at university to extra-judicial killings.

    The “impela” (truth in Zulu) project set up a group of blogs that illustrated the various aspects of repression in Cuba: torture, repression, apartheid, the UMAP, …

    See: http://www.impela.net/

  • Promesas olvidadas

    “La Democracia es derecho para unos y para otros, que se discutan todas las teorías, todas las prédicas que se escriban, que se discutan, porque el hombre es razón y no fuerza, el hombre es inteligencia y no imposición y no capricho, que se hable, que se discuta, que lo que nosotros estamos buscando en esa libertad donde todas las ideas se discutan, en que todos tengamos derecho a pensar, libertad para escribir, libertad para reunirse, para todos los actos lícitos y legales. El hombre es verdaderamente demócrata… Y aunque sea en una esquina y donde lo oigan 20 personas si no lo pueden oír 100, ese hombre pueda expresar su pensamiento. Y si quieres sacar en mimeógrafo una tesis política que la imprima y la reparta en la Universidad sin que se lo lleven a la estación de policía “. Ante la Prensa, CMQ TV, La Habana, Abril 2, 1959.

  • Walter Teague

    Talking about Cuba, or any other place, can be rational or purely emotional. The web is full of lots of sites where people rant against this or that country or people. Most of these are fueled by hatred and actually prohibit any reasoned discussion.

    Sites like this fall somewhere in between. A mixture of angry, accusations, usually with little evidence other than generalizations and selectively chosen anecdotes in place of balanced social science. And there are some writers who raise serious issues and discuss it from their personal viewpoint. These are often biased, but the reader gets to hear them out. The comments then fall into the two types shown here. Those who hate the revolution and refuse to engage in any reasoned discourse and those who have honest questions, often on both sides of the issues.

    Since a number of the readers are residents of the US and most of modern Cuban history and problems continues to be dramatically affected by US government actions it makes sense that we frequently compare the two countries. But if this is to be useful rather than just serve prejudice, then we need facts and reason in relative proportions when discussing and comparing.

    For example, the U.S. is a huge country and every day there are good cops and bad cops. But it is clear that most police violence goes un-admitted and unpunished. This is true to U.S. crimes against Cuba. True for the US and probably many countries. So lets not engage in stupid accusations. Not all cops in Cuba are bad and not all in the US are good. Not all reports of beatings are true and those that are, do not necessarily prove all accusations are equal. I’ve read several versions of what happened to this actress. I don’t know the truth and have no way to tell from here. The photos look bad, but we see much worse every day here in the U.S. where proof is hard to come by, especially if by cops.

    I appreciate factual reporting and comments intended to clarify, but frankly, the clearly biased descriptions of OWS shows the commentators to be dishonest at best. A few minutes research by a newly arrived Martian would show that the US government launched a secret and massive nation-wide per-emptive police and military campaign to prevent OWS from succeeding. They then coordinated a military style suppression throughout most of the country. That many citizens were able to endure in some locations is testimony to their bravery, creativity and growing support from many sectors of our society. If OWS had been paid by a foreign government intent on overthrowing the US government, they would all be in a supermax prison still. So apples and oranges require rational comparisons.

    • Griffin

      If this massive US police operation against OWS was secret, how do you know about it?

      The OWS protests were allowed to fester for months before the police were compelled to deal with them. Democratic politicians from Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi as Elizabeth Warren were lining up to praise the OWS protests. The OWS was not a threat, they were a puppet theatre whipped up to support Obama’s war against the rich rhetoric.

      In the end, the OWS camps were cleared because of criminal activity they were engaged in, bit because of their free speech. Look up “OWS diversity of tactics” and you can read all about how radical leftist and anarchist groups used the cover of peaceful OWS protests to carry out violent actions.

      Do you really think the US government is afraid of a cadre of grey ponytailed academics regurgitating decades old Marxist cant in a vain attempt to relive their glory days of the 60’s counter-culture? What kind of idiots hold up posters of Mao & Che, thinking these guys are heroes of the people? The OWS protests were a pathetic demonstration of the intellectual desert that is the Left today.

      • Walter Teague

        just in case anyone is taken in my Mr anonymous Griffin, the police operations and preparations against Occupy Wall Street we’re in fact secret until they were discovered, due to good journalism and excessive police expenditures. Homeland Security money was used and the entire story is in the press for anyone who cares to read it. I am afraid, Mr. Griffin suffers a moral or mental disorder – or both.