Thursday, August 29, 2013

We aren’t the kind of people they are trying to make us out to be

We aren't the kind of people they are trying to make us out to be /
Ernesto Santana Zaldivar, Antonio Rodiles
Posted on August 29, 2013

HAVANA, Cuba, August, The organizers of Estado de SATS
have worked very hard and the result is that, three years after its
inception, in July 2010 in Casa Gaia, this civic project is a
fundamental component in the network of organizations that, from civil
society and with great variety in points of view, fight to promote
changes to democratize our country. Because of this it has also been
repressed by the political police and accused of everything the
authorities usually accuse those who propose a solution to the crisis.
Estado de SATS takes as a fundamental cause that there is no dispute
between Cuba and the United States, but rather the dictatorial practices
of the Cuban government against its own people.

Hence in the last year, they have focused most of their efforts to
disseminate and gather support for the Citizens' Demand for Another Cuba
which, as we know, demands that the Cuban government ratify the UN
Covenants on Human Rights. In that work, the project has engaged with
many important civil society groups for the sake of a purpose that
supersedes political interests, and focuses on citizens and their basic

In recent days, we were able to talk with Antonio Rodiles about the
prospects of the project, three years since its inception. The director
of Estado de SATS said "Our main goal now is to achieve much more
drawing power. Hopefully State Security will stop bothering us," he
said, although he recognized that "at this time there really is
something less than harassment of the work we are doing."

The idea, according Rodiles, is to try to reach many more sectors and to
be a place that helps articulate civil society, and above all,"to be
able to expand and work on all the plans we have: holding exhibitions,
film screenings, panels, debates, literary cafes. All we can do to
articulate civil society and grow like any normal country."

Although it seems like a very easy program to carry out, the reality
suggests otherwise. The proof is in the recent past and if recently the
political police haven't harassed as many activities, it has been in
part because they have not been as intense as around a year ago, when
the Citizen Demand was launched. "Evidently," observes Rodiles, "we know
that everything is not as we would like, but well, I think it's
important to accept the challenge and work focused on everything we have
proposed, despite the obstacles."

Some people have commented that, lately, they have been showing college
students videos about civil society activists, including Estado de SATS,
where it's presented through the usual procedures, with a negative
image. On this subject Antonio Rodiles says, "The same as always. That's
part of what the system can't quit doing."

But, he says, he would like to know exactly what they're putting out
there so he'll be able to make statements about it. "Unfortunately," he
says , "there is a group of people who have always been characterized by
trying to devalue and personally offend any opponent, anyone who thinks
differently from the official line."

In events such as this he sees a disturbing characteristic. "I think
this shows the low level of those who have organized it ," he says,
"because they are not able to enter into any discussion of ideas or
plans . It is a manipulation, but in any event, thank God, the new
technologies allow us to show who we are," he says, convincingly.

Well, ironically and contrary to the intentions of those who orchestrate
this slanderous propaganda, the results could be otherwise. "In a way,
this type of action helps disseminate our work. When people look for our
CDs, our work, and they see them, then they realize perfectly well that
we are not the kind of people they are trying to make us out to be," he

He's probably right. In addition, the days are long gone when some
opponents thought Estado de Sats was a project of the "opposition light"
and it has gained respect and collaboration, including that of almost
all of the most important political opponents, as well as countless
artists and intellectuals.

As the director of this project, what lies ahead is a major challenge.
Perhaps the hardest path, with all the cultural activities and the
panels put on, but especially with the commitment to strengthen the
Citizen Demand for Another Cuba and the continuation of this work, in
cooperation with other civil organizations, he tries to contribute,
gradually, to the extent possible but always with sights set still
higher, for a positive change in the country.

A few months ago, Antonio Rodlies and Ailer González — his domestic
partner and main collaborator — were in Miami and there at Cuba 8 and at
Miami Dade College, they organized panels and concerts of Estado de
SATS, besides promoting the Citizen Demand, which has managed to
strengthen the support of Cubans from the outside, but inside Cuba there
has not been remarkable progress of the campaign in recent months.

According to Rodiles itself, the term "Estado de SATS" (State of Sats)
is a phrase used in the theater to represent the moment when all the
energy is concentrated to begin the action, or when an athlete is at the
precise moment before the starting gun. It is the concentration required
to later explode. Hopefully, after three years of hard and complex work,
this project is mature and ready to take off, against all obstacles, as
the crucible where the forces of the emerging civil society are articulated.

Call for Estado de SATS : First International Meeting on Human Rights
and UN Covenants

The independent Estado de SATS project invites artists, intellectuals,
activists and human rights defenders to participate in the First
International Meeting on Human Rights and the UN Covenants as part of
the Campaign for Another Cuba and the 65th anniversary of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights.

Estado de SATS has worked for the past three years in the creation and
growth of a public space where different perspectives on reality and the
future of our nation can be openly discussed and planned.

Since August of 2012, together with various groups and activists
committed to the social situation of our nation, we started the Campaign
for another Cuba. This initiative has been involving a growing number of
Cubans on and off the island in a civic demand that the Cuban government
ratify and implement the United Nation Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights and the Covenant Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

In a time when Cuban civil society is growing the direct exchange with
different actors within and outside the island is essential. Holding of
this meeting will allow an approach from the perspective of art and
thought to a subject as vital as human rights. Activists, artists,
intellectuals and professionals, Cubans and the international community,
will spend two days sharing views and experiences, in a country where
such guarantees and rights are not part of the everyday reality.

The inaugural meeting will be on December 10, 2013 and during the event
there will be thematic panels, audiovisual displays, an exhibition with
the theme: Art and Human Rights (painting , graphics , photography,
installations), performances and a closing concert .

For more information the interested can communicate to this email


Ernesto Santana Zaldívar, born in Puerto Padre, Las Tunas, 1958.
Graduate of the Enrique José Varona Pedagogical Institute in Spanish and
Literature. He has been a radio writer for Radio Progreso, Radio
Metropolitana and Radio Arte. He is a member of the Union of Writers and
Artists of Cuba. Awards won: Mentions in the genre of story in the David
contest of 1977 and Trece de Marzo, 1979; prizes in Pinos Nuevos, 1995,
Sed de Belleza, 1996 (both in the genre of story) Dador, 1998, (novel
project) and Alejo Carpentier, 2002 (novel), the Franz Kafka Prize,
2010, for his novel The Carnival and the Dead.

From Cubanet

23 August 2013

Source: "We aren't the kind of people they are trying to make us out to
be / Ernesto Santana Zaldivar, Antonio Rodiles | Translating Cuba" -

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