Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Who is the Mercenary?

Who is the Mercenary? / Oscar Espinosa Chepe
Oscar Espinosa Chepe, Translator: Chabeli

"I do not agree with giving mercenaries the same rights as
intellectuals," claimed the writer Miguel Barnet, president of the Union
of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC) and member of the Communist Party
Central Committee, at the 30th Conference of the Latin American Studies
Association (LASA) held in San Francisco, California, this May.

Barnet's aggressiveness was in response to a statement from sociologist
Ted Henken, professor at Baruch College, University of New York (CUNY),
who demanded the same rights for all Cubans to participate in the event
of LASA, citing the cases of blogger Yoani Sanchez and Oscar Espinosa
Chepe, to whom the Cuban government has denied their participation in
previous conferences held by LASA.

This happened during the meeting of the Cuba Session of LASA, which
focused on creating a resolution condemning the U.S. government for
denying visas to 10 academics and intellectuals from Cuba, ignoring the
fact that 65 of the participants received visas, including Dr. Mariela
Castro Espin (Raul Castro's daughter) and Eusebio Leal, Historian of Havana.

Professor Henken had stated: "If we, as an organization that exists to
promote scientific and cultural exchanges between the U.S. and Cuba,
have taken a public stand in favor of these bilateral academic exchanges
and against the political manipulation of these programs, then this must
be applied for both sides and for all the people."

It is extravagant that Mr. Barnet accused peaceful people of being
"mercenaries," people who, throughout the years, have been committed to
analyzing — despite the repression — the situation on the island at the
national level and with strong arguments, based on information and
official statistics, people who have warned us and demonstrated that
Cuba has been dragged to "the edge of the abyss," as President Raul
Castro himself has recognized.

But, what can you expect from a person who, on April 19, 2003, signed a
message directed to world figures which legitimized the brutal
repression carried out in March of that year against 75 peaceful Cuban
dissidents and human right activists, who were then sentenced to up to
28 years in prison, as well as the execution of three young men who
mistakenly tried to hijack a boat to flee the island, without causing

The writer, as well as all of those who signed that message, will never
be freed of the thoughts of the injustices committed, the
assassinations, and the suffering of all the families. This document
received responses from well-known intellectuals and artists with "Dear
friends (from within and outside of Cuba)", on April 28, highlighting
the evilness and hypocrisy of the Cuban government's henchmen, with a
scathing definition: "Stop using as shield the atrocities of the enemy
to commit your own in impunity. The injustices and the crimes against
humanity will be denounced by all citizens, without regard to where the
perpetrators come from or who they are."

Throughout many years, we have supported a system that seemed to have
brought hope to the Cuban people. But with the same determination, after
we understood that road had taken a wrong turn and turned Cuba into a
living hell, we have been making an effort to help forge a path of
opportunities for all Cubans and prosperity for our country. We have
always defended its independence and sovereignty, and rejected any
foreign intervention.

Barnet, and unfortunately, other Cuban intellectuals and artists, became
servants of a repressive regime headed by people exclusively interested
in remaining in power, under any consequences and at all costs, under
the fake banner of an apocryphal socialism. Barnet is of the same nature
as the servants of Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini and Batista, who rose to
their positions through flattery, being submissive, and selling their
talents to those in power, ignoring the suffering of their people.

We all know how totalitarianism pays for these "valuable services."
These unpatriotic behaviors are rewarded with a special status, they
suffer none of the scarcities, they have cars, privileges and trips
abroad, while the Cuban people are being deprived of their fundamental
rights and continue to sink deeper in misery.

When for workers the equivalent of $ 18.00 US dollars is the average of
monthly salary and those who are retired don't even get $ 12.00 US
dollars, and, on top of that, they are paid in a currency that the State
does not accept in most of its stores, this is a scenario where the
economic, political, social, environmental, demographic and spiritual
situations are increasingly becoming more chaotic and threatening the
foundations of the nation.

Of course, the President of the UNEAC does not write or talk about these
basic issues. He is only interested in maintaining his privileges,
protecting his framework, at a time of persecution of the true artistic
and intellectual glories of Cuba. So then, who is the mercenary?


Translated by Chabeli

5 June 2012

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