“My daughter has a Yuma”, says one prisoner to another. Phrases such as this one began to be heard throughout the Largest of the Antilles after the collapse of the socialist camp in Eastern Europe. The authorities never foresaw the historic reality of a system that excludes by nature. The minds of the creators of socialism and/or communism, or however one may call it, were filled with the desire to perpetuate themselves in power even if that meant sacrificing fundamental human freedoms.
The former Soviet Union disintegrated and, over night, ceased being a world power and became a cardboard tiger. Even the most minimal breeze managed to dissipate the hopes of those inconditional dreamers of Moscow. This situation of a new geo-political world brought irreversible consequences for Cuban society. Being accustomed to receive goods from nearly all the countries belonging to CAME (Council of Mutual Economic Assistance) Cubans now lived, what I considered, a true special period.
Now, as I analyze the recent events, I can’t assure that the times of socialist bonanza are back. Also, I don’t consider the past two decades of “special period”, like the authorities of Havana have stigmatized this time around. The result of what we now have is the rostrum of a governmental system that is incapable of providing the everyday Cuban with what they need.
Our society has lost values that are difficult to recuperate. It’s no secret that young people would rather marry a foreigner than receive an ID admitting them into the Union of Young Communists. Incredibly, in the same light, the youth would rather risk death in the turbulent waters in the Florida Straits aboard a raft or a sophisticated life-boat, ready for the dangerous and degrading human treatment, upon confronting the political aparatus with their mind-police, like a colleague and brother in cause of mine, Miguel Galvan Gutierrez, says.
It is certain that with the advent of the new millenium, Cuban society has become conscient of its cruel reality. Many Cubans have lost their fear, and through pain, little by little, have joined the dissidence. Even though the numbers of independent journalists, independent librarians, and human rights activists are still inferior to those of the soldiers inside the Cuban Communist Party, but when it comes time to analyze the situation, even the most mediocre of human beings can comprehend the urgent necessity of changing the current situation for a more viable style of life during these current times.
I am a believer that the problem of Cuba belongs to us and we should be the ones to resolve them, but we can’t forget the famous and sad South Africa of Nelson Mandela. Thanks to the international community that apartheid is nothing more than a cadaver of history.
The worse and saddest part of today is the status quo of political prisoners. We live under extremely difficult conditions. The recent death of political prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo due to a prolonged hunger strike, strongly calls the attention of the world. But even sadder has been the government’s attitude of trying to rob political prisoners of their merits. The Cuban Minister of Exterior Relations, Bruno Rodriguez Parrila, gave a rhetorical discourse in the Council of Human Rights in the United Nations where he tried to make the international community believe that twisted diatribe towards those political prisoners and the dissidence in general.
During these very moments, in addition to the ‘free’ independent journalist Guillermo Farinas (whom has been on hunger strike for many days, demanding the release of critically ill prisoners), there are various political prisoners on hunger strike.
The European Union and the United States are awaiting a gesture of good-will on behalf of that nomenclature that is in power, but Havana remains immovable towards its political adversaries, ignoring that all of us, each and every single one of us, have the obligation to respond to Cuba despite any diverging view-points.
Pablo Pacheco Avila, prisoner of conscience
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