Censorship, the Vital Artery of the Cuban Regime / Jeovany Jimenez Vega
Posted on November 20, 2015
Jeovany Jimenez Vega, 4 November 2015 — The recent termination of Juan
Carlos Cremata as a theater director, the previous suspension of "The
King is Dying," his last work on the stage of the Theater Center, and
the publication online some days ago of an inflamed letter from the
prestigious critic, Enrique Colina, motivated by this fact, once more
stoked the embers of the polemic on censorship in Havana. Affectionately
remembered for 24 per Second, his excellent program — definitely a
reformer of our cinematographic culture and to whom more than one Cuban
owes his passion for the best of this art — Colina comes out this time
in valiant defense of Cremata and, by extension, of all censured
creators in post-revolutionary Cuba.
Whoever wants to follow a common thread along this long life/agony of
the Castros' "Revolution" doesn't have to do more than wind his finger
over the uninterrupted line of censorship, that indispensable tool of
the Cuban Regime, together with physical repression, always used to keep
itself in power against the will of the people. Such exercise would
confirm a historical maxim: as a matter of essence, no dictatorship
would ever abandon this aberration simply because it's codified in its
DNA, because it forms an unbreakable indissoluble part of its very nature.
The hierarchs on the Plaza of the Revolution are completely aware of
this. They know very well that if the dictatorship stopped repressing
and censuring, it would be signing its own death sentence, because
freedom of thought and personal morality are incompatible with the grim,
closed will of dictators.They are fruits exclusively cultivable in lands
fertilized by democracy, and that word is excluded from the technical
catalogue of Havana's own dementors.*
Repression and censorship are as inherent to the Cuban dictatorship as
nuclear fusion is to sunlight, as moisture is to water. In fact, this
lethal combination constitutes the only way in which someone can stay in
power for 56 years in spite of governing so scandalously badly, against
the vital interests of the Cuban people, and having sunk his nation into
the most serious economic and moral ruin in its history.
Before there were other reasons chosen by the inquisitors, and they
didn't always have a useful or political "justification" that was clear
or immediate, but on no few occasions we suffered prohibitions that were
simply trivial, like banning those great songs of four boys from
Liverpool, or for frankly stupid reasons like prohibiting a religious
cult when it wasn't attacking the Regime's political stability in any way.
But at this point there are still incidents like that with Cremata,
definitively contradicting those who have wanted to limit this
systematic governmental rebuke to the Five Grey Years of the '70s –
which some prefer to extend to black decades. Today you can again see
behind the curtain the same hairy hand that for half a century ordered
the creation of UMAP (forced labor camps) or the ostracism of Virgilio
Piñera and José Lezama, or so many others.
No artistic expression exists that has escaped this evil in the Cuba of
the Castros. Today the long defense continues and the same dark presence
reports that, really, nothing has changed during this long staging, only
that these are new times, and the same gerontocracy now prevents full
access to the Internet and satellite television, the possibility of an
independent press properly legalized and, furthermore, subjects all the
official press to the most hermetic censorship. Every radio or
television director still has on his desk, very visible, a long list of
prohibited music and artists, and the editorials ban annoying authors,
almost always giving priority to the most mediocre in the sewer of
The hangmen are the same, but now Cuba isn't; Cuba is definitely tired
because it knows by heart, from being repeated so much, the old
masquerades that only look for something new, "…retouching the makeup."
So virile gestures of solidarity like those of Colina and unconditional
commitments like those of Cremata are always comforting.
Gestures like this are necessary to make it clear that behind that
"…appeal made by the greatest urging of the Government to assume reality
with a critical sense, with honesty and an ethical commitment" – the
only point where it disagreed with Colina – there is nothing but
hypocrisy and purely abject demagoguery.
But again the ghost of censorship levitates over the large estates of
Birán, like an evil called to endure as long as the hangmen last, an
evil not willing to cede, which always makes an effort to extend itself,
fatally menacing our consciousness. Again the shadows enthrone their
domain in the middle of the medieval village where sad songbirds,
already buried by History, stubbornly refuse to die.
*Translator's note: From Harry Potter, soul-sucking wraiths that live
off peoples' worst fears.
Translated by Regina Anavy
Source: Censorship, the Vital Artery of the Cuban Regime / Jeovany
Jimenez Vega | Translating Cuba -