Under Crossfire

Erasmo Calzadilla

This is how I’d like to be remembered, instead of with the US flag.

HAVANA TIMES — I’m gradually recovering from the upset caused by seeing my face published on the front page of Cubanet, in an article which lies about sensitive issues and tries to take away my prestige on a very petty level. I guess that’s the kind of audience it’s meant for.

In an event in Miami, in September 2016, I posed some uncomfortable questions to heads of official-dissident journalism. Now that I made the jump to stay in the US one of them saw the opportunity to seek revenge, presenting me as a Castro supporter who betrayed his principles in search of the American dream.

I asked the Institute for War and Peace Reporting – the organizer of the event – to release the recordings so the truth is known, but they said there was no recording.  It’s a shame because I would have had the chance to show who is lying and protect myself from the attacks and threats unleashed on me.

Later, Cubanet took out references to debates which were subject to non-disclosure. However, this new text – or rather, the amended article – doesn’t belie the previous copy in its main theory: my alleged defense of Cuban government control of the media. Which in a Cuban context means explicitly supporting the Castro dictatorship.

To show that I am not what they say I am doesn’t take much effort. I have been publishing articles continuously for nearly a decade, writing against the Castro dictatorship’s totalitarian control, something which has brought me quite a few personal problems and the ruin of my professional career. Furthermore, I collaborate with this publication, Havana Times, which I would never want to see controlled by the State or anybody who would tame its freedom.

When I was called an anarchist-capitalist.

In Cuba, I have been called a rightist, an anti-Marxist (in the hearings relating to my expulsion from Havana University) and a few years ago, a government blogger labeled me an anarchist-capitalist.

Who would have ever thought that as I soon as I crossed the pond, without having even dusted myself off after my journey, I would have the large sign of COMMUNIST and PRO-CASTRO supporter pinned to my forehead?

All of the above has happened not because I haven’t defined my position and because I move like a fickle person in the world of ideology. My political position has been very stable for a long time: I’m from the liberal left. However, the brainless extremists on both sides of the Florida Strait don’t understand subtleties. If you criticize Uncle Sam is because you are a communist. If you don’t like the regime in Havana then you are a pro-capitalist counterrevolutionary. Truly amazing!

In Cubanet

And I’m stuck in the middle of this battle of intellectual farts, not ideas, receiving shell fire from both sides…

It’s normal; that’s how it is when you choose a path that’s different from the predominant tendencies.  I’ll continue on with the same ideas I defended in Cuba, which don’t change because now I can eat whole wheat bread subsidized by the US taxpayer (to whom I already expressed my gratitude).

And if they through me out of here, I’ll find somewhere else to go.
—–

Note: I would like to take this opportunity to thank journalist Elaine Diaz for her support during the Miami event. Every time I ran into problems in the discussions she would suddenly appear in support of my arguments.

 

 

Erasmo Calzadilla

Erasmo Calzadilla: I find it difficult to introduce myself in public. I’ve tried many times but it doesn’t flow. I’m more less how I appear in my posts, add some unpresentable qualities and stir; that should do for a first approach. If you want to dig a little deeper, ask me for an appointment and wait for a reply.

  • Donald Thureau

    Critics love to pigeon-hole people, classify them and label them, to demean or shame them in some way. This is where I like to quote a famous rhyme…”sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me.” On the contrary, the person labeling you an anarchist-capitalist doesn’t even know what he’s talking about. Think about it, a subversive capitalist? That’s even funny!

    • dani

      Actually there is a political philosophy called anarcho-capitalism https://wiki.mises.org/wiki/Anarcho-capitalism. The Silk Road website http://themisescircle.org/blog/2013/10/24/the-economics-of-the-silk-road/ was a strong advocate. It is a kind of strange extreme liberal philosophy which advocates totally free markets and individualism but is in fact an excuse for illegality and immorality.

      • Donald Thureau

        We’ve seen firsthand what lack of regulatory oversight did when markets in the US and Europe crashed in 2008. The “state” (with the support of the taxpayers) had to rescue the financial institutions that ran amuck because they were out of control although one could argue it was the “state’s” fault for having encouraged it by not sufficiently regulating it. Left to their own devices, capitalists will get greedy if they know they can get away with it. It is unfortunately a human failing which is why totally free markets cannot endure the test of time.

  • bbenhamid

    Keeping the Faith in a World of Confusion.