Hunger strike in Cuba
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March 2014
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    Cuba – the Invented Country

    Cuba: the Invented Country
    March 14, 2014
    Veronica Vega

    HAVANA TIMES — I have never understood that device so often used in the
    popular soap operas, whereby the romantic protagonists who have finally
    managed to get together after numerous reverses (and chapters) are then
    separated again through the machinations of a rival. There’s always such
    a simple strategy employed: a dubious letter, a supposed infidelity, a
    coarse piece of gossip that can’t be proven.

    It seems to me a cheap recourse and a mockery of the most basic
    intelligence. Maybe the viewers don’t protest because they already know
    the formula: the lovers will meet again in the last chapter, and if
    there are a hundred left to go that only means more hours of entertainment.

    But – When it happens in real life? And when the thing at risk is the
    physical and psychological integrity of a real person of flesh and
    blood? When irretrievable years are lost to a fiction that we accept as
    if we were an unflinching television audience?

    Finding out about the recent death of Huber Matos has left me with that
    bitter taste.

    Despite having fought side by side with those who today fill the walls
    of our schools and offices, or stare at us with frozen eyes from marble
    pedestals, he is never mentioned in the Cuban history books. Those who
    knew him could identify him in a group photo or in those faded videos
    where you see the happy bearded guerrillas enjoying their moment of glory.

    Twenty years of jail and exile are enough to dissolve the doubts, the
    rumors, the airy reproaches. They’re enough to convert light into
    darkness, truth into falsity, presence into nothing. After all is said
    and done, history is drawn in the sands of time, and one single lick of
    the ocean leaves the surface wiped clean and ready for new tracings.

    Matos was condemned in a public trial where he wasn’t even conceded the
    right to speak. Why didn’t that incensed multitude, instead of shouting:
    “firing squad!” demand that he also have his turn to speak? Why, just
    like the bad imitations that try to copy real art, did the audience
    content themselves with only one version?

    When I look at recent examples, it pains me to admit that in five
    decades nothing has changed in this sense.

    The same thing occurred with the poet Maria Elena Cruz Varela who
    disappeared in another cloud of exile and lost memory; ditto with the
    victims of the Black Spring and with Orlando Zapata who died in prison
    while the official media ridiculed the motives for his hunger strike.
    None of them were interviewed for the television or newspapers. They
    were never offered their turn to speak.

    It happened to Yoani Sanchez, who is only mentioned in the official
    media as a cyber-terrorist or a betrayer of her country with the vile
    advantage of absence and imposed silence; with the State of Sats
    Project; with Oswaldo Payá who received official existence when he
    hadn’t any voice left to defend himself with.

    It’s happening right now to the news about Venezuela, received through a
    channel where the voices of Henrique Capriles or Leopoldo Lopez are not
    heard, or heard only after extensive editing.

    Aren’t we thinking beings? To want to know what the opposition (or the
    accused) thinks, to have their version in order to finalize our own
    judgment – isn’t that simple common sense? Who will guarantee that
    tomorrow we ourselves won’t be victims of the gag or of the
    reconstruction of the story?

    A monopoly over information is power. I don’t doubt this, but the truth
    has its own wings. When I come to feel that we’re in an invented
    country, where mountains of drowned voices wander in the fog of
    omission, I recall the movie “The Truman Show”. And I remember that only
    those who don’t search for the truth will content themselves (forever)
    with a fictitious island, admiring a sunset….made of cardboard.

    Source: Cuba: the Invented Country – Havana –

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