Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Hallucinatory World

The Hallucinatory World / Jeovany Jimenez Vega
Jeovany J. Vega, Translator: Unstated

In its June 22 edition the newspaper Granma published an article from
Prensa Latina (Latin Press) entitled "UN Commends Cuba for Freedom of
Assembly" in which it expresses "its satisfaction with having been
mentioned as an example of good practices in the area of freedom of
peaceful assembly and association in the report by the UN Rapporteur for
Human Rights in this area, Maina Kivi." According to Granma the Cuban
delegate,Juan Antonio Quintanilla, added that "in our country there are
many opportunities for the exercise of this right as exemplified by the
existence of more than 2,200 non-governmental organizations in the
widest variety of fields possible."

That the rapporteur stated this, that she might have written her report
in a comfortable office in Geneva or in a shady spot in Central Park, is
understandable. We are by now accustomed to such slip-ups by the UN.
Such a report or some similar resolution, dictated from one of the
organization's sterile platforms, deserves to be treated no better than
a piece of toilet paper. It is not surprising that a UN rapporteur would
babble on as much as he or she wishes on the subject of Cuba's freedom
of association, but to hear the same thing coming from the mouth of a
Cuban always leaves one quite astonished.

To be fair, it must be pointed out that the life of an official from our
emblematic MINREX (Ministry of Foreign Relations) is full of trips and
diplomatic missions.Señor Quintanillacould be so busy that it is
possible he has not been informed about the misfortune befalling a Cuban
opposition figure when he wishes to take full advantage of his right to
free association. Or perhaps he has not heard about the mobs who attack
women who defend themselves with fragile gladiolas*. Or about the
scandalous repudiation demonstrations organized by the Communist Party
and State Security which take place outside – and even inside – the
homes of many dissidents.

There certainly is no visible movement of indignados (outraged people)
here, as the Cuban delegate mentions when he refers to the protestors on
Wall Street or throughout Europe, who have been the focus of repressive
waves, which, incidentally, we know about thanks to press reports from
those countries themselves. But what the Cuban delegate knows very well
yet fails to mention is that here the matter is resolved in a much
simpler and more pragmatic way: If you try to cause similar troubles,
you will simply be detained in the very doorway of your house. You will
not be allowed to go out into the street and, to top it off, you will
have to put up with them telling you that this is being done to protect
you from the anger of an "enraged people."

As for the thousands of NGOs mentioned in Quintanilla remarks, one need
only take a quick glance to realize that they all have one element in
common. Not one has a political profile. None have the slightest
intention of questioning in any way the current system of government in
Cuba. At this stage only a crazy person would dare to deny that real
civil society exists only in a semi-clandestine form. It is not even
officially recognized by our government, which refuses to establish any
sort of dialog. The profile of each and every one of these "NGOs" has
been knowingly designed and approved under the watchful eye of the
Communist Party to reject any inconvenient proposals. To put it simply,
anyone talking about freedom of association and of an authentic civil
society which enjoys "ample freedoms for the exercise of this right" in
this one-party state is hallucinating.

*Translator's note: The writer is referring to the Ladies in White,a
Cuban opposition movement consisting of the female relatives of jailed
dissidents who protest the imprisonments by attending Mass each Sunday
wearing white clothes and carrying gladiolas.

June 26 2012

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