Thursday, March 22, 2012

Two Are an Army / Rosa María Rodríguez Torrado

Two Are an Army / Rosa María Rodríguez Torrado
Rosa María Rodríguez Torrado, Translator: Unstated

They arrived early to "visit me" as a couple — as they generally do,
whenever they are ordered to harass an opponent — young people of both
sexes who identify themselves as agents from the Ministry of the
Interior. The pretext was a survey conducted for the National Housing
Directorate, and they wanted to know my opinions about the purchase and
sale of houses and used cars.

The first inconsistency that jumped out at me was that they came to me
directly, they knew my name and surnames and they didn't have the forms
usual in such cases. However, they said, politely, that my participation
was voluntary, but my husband had already invited them in — also
politely — and they sat on my living room sofa quite disposed to chat.
So despite such a phony pretense, I answered their questions honestly to
see what the real motive was of their visit.

I answered questions and thought about the subliminal message I wanted
to send to the gendarmes of the political police. But for someone who
started in the human rights movement in Guanabo, in 1988, and has long
since learned to interpret some behavioral codes of the officers of the
Cuban State Security, why not speak out?

I thought — when it was my turn to listen — about the first part of the
film The Godfather and the fish received by the 'family' of Vito
Corleone wrapped in the bulletproof vest of his hitman Luca Brasi, to
communicate that he had been murdered and lay at the bottom of the bay.

I concluded that they had been sent so I would not forget that "they"
are there, paying attention to how much say and do — as exercising my
freedom and rights is important to me — and they wanted to try, once
again, to coerce me. They then raised the question that I found then —
and still do — to be the key to that visit. Who is the owner of this
home? I said it was me and they insisted, "And the title of the property
is in your name?"

Summoning my husband in 1996 or 1997, the police threatened to take the
apartment he had acquired with his father in 1959 and they stripped him
of it in 2000; since then I have taken steps; the documentation that
names me as the owner is not going to appear in any of the offices where
one duly registers deeds.

We Cubans who live in this dictatorship and exercise freedom of
conscience, are accustomed to the visible (and invisible) presence of
the cops, who as devils of the guard, sent "to guard us and keep us"
when they like; they attack us with diatribes and without right of
reply, covertly harass us or not, sniff in our private lives and enter
it without permission and with impunity. And not just threats, but when
it's convenient, they carry them out.

Days later, friends in the area alerted me to the operation that was
surrounding my house, which lasted seventy-two hours. It seems that the
personnel graduated from the academies of the Ministry of the Interior
must be hardened in the exercise against the peaceful dissident through
maneuvers that these days, in practice, are more costly than effective.

Anyway, although they threatened me they did not intimidate me. They
only reaffirmed the precedent of using its enormous power, among others,
to join the gang against those who disagree with their policies and
express it freely and publicly, although his ideas are driven by a
commitment to the homeland.

It doesn't matter how many agents repress us; they are members of the
military that responds only to the interests of one party and have the
strength and ammunition to try to quell — in vain — the libertarian
aspirations of this peaceful and defenseless woman, who like others,
only grasps the "weapon" of her words.

March 20 2012

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