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In response to the Editorial in the May 2012 issue of the Cuban Catholic church’s journal Lay Space,  group of journalists from the newspaper Granma created, as a joke, this apocryphal editorial, supposedly in response to the official text from the lay Catholics. This is only a joke, that former colleagues sent me, but I transcribe it here for the enjoyment, also, of those who read me.

Recently the journal Lay Space published an editorial to defend Cardinal Jaime Ortega against certain attacks launched by elements opposed to the Revolution, from both inside and outside Cuba. In their arguments the editorial writers highlight some positions that shouldn’t pass unnoticed by those of us who defend the irreversibility of the socialist system in our Nation.

Using euphemisms such as “national harmony”, “orderly and gradual transformation of the national order,” “serene, positive gradual, inclusive, orderly and peaceful changes managing to articulate a renewed socio-political model for Cuba,” the editors of Lay Space are trying to mask what clearly translates to the dismantling of socialism in Cuba. It they really had a commitment to the truth, then it would be better if they clearly stated that they want to dissolve the work of the Revolution.

The Catholic Church, its hierarchy or its secular intellectuals are wrong if they think they can replace the Communist Party in the search for and implementation of solutions to the problems of Cuba. Those who have shown patience and a willingness to dialogue are not exactly the bishops with their Cardinal in the lead, but the leaders of the Revolution. We are a Marxist-Leninist party and we will not give up the class struggle, the hatred of the working class for its exploiters. What kind of reconciliation are talking about? Is it intended that the Revolution return confiscated property to the abusers of our working people so that they can then invite these former exploiters to come here and invest their dollars? Or perhaps we are going to forgive Posada Carriles and the rest of the terrorist mafia who cost this nation so many valuable lives?

Do the editors of Lay Space believe that keeping a prudent distance from the mercenaries in the service of Washington is going to keep us from seeing that their agenda is also dictated from the exterior as evidenced in the calls for reconciliation recently issued by the former Spanish colonists in the motion presented to the congress of that country? Do they believe that invoking words like debate, dialog or respect will manage to make a dent in our Revolutionary intransigence, in the legacy taught to us by Antonio Maceo who did not accept the capitulation at the Mangos de Baragua? Do they think, perhaps, that we have forgotten the cryptic utterances they have already put in writing in the Pastoral Letter of 1993, “Love Hopes All Things”? Do they think we don’t remember the support they gave the defeated bourgeois and the counterrevolution in the first years of our Revolution?

Our people have religious freedom and the State maintains magnificent relations with various denominations without favoring any one in particular. It is up to the Communist Party to determine the policies and the changes that need to be implemented, as agreed at our Sixth Congress and in the First Communist Party Conference with the democratic participation of all our people. Let no one mistake us, we do not want to return to the era of confrontation with the Church but we will not allow interference of any kind, especially that which is aimed our renouncing our path toward a more full and just Socialism.

Since Raul Castro created the position of Comptroller of the Republic a current of panic runs through all the governmental administrative authorities. The cases of corruption, irregularities, diversion of resources and lack of control of state assets emerge like mushrooms after a rain.

However, despite having raised a war against secrecy in the press, the official media does not bring to light either the amount of the damages nor the names of those responsible. Periodically, the rumors, with their quota of inaccuracy or exaggeration, serve to make known the “exploitations,” always accompanied by the little details where we hear of lovers, swimming pools, wine cellars, luxury cars, and all the irresistible temptations — which lead them to perdition — of the old militant Communists, veterans of revolutionary battles, former senior officers, all highly trusted people.

It’s not worth going into the details, especially if they are not confirmed by reliable sources, but it does make sense to ask how is it possible that after half a century of Communist education and countless selective filters, the cadres of different levels continue to have the same appetites enshrined in the old bourgeois morality?

What is wrong? Is it the nature of man himself, or a system based on a profound mistake?

I have the impression that the cases uncovered are not divulged precisely so that citizens do not ask this question; so that they will continue to believe that all is well and that we are on the right path toward higher goals and not will not perceive the swamp nor the fatal attraction that arises from its depths.

22 May 2012

If you observe the shadows you can measure passing time.

On Saturday, organized by the Critical Observatory, a small but determined group of people gathered in Karl Marx Park in Havana to support the movement of the outraged in Europe. A couple of minutes shy of two p.m. they hung a cloth (a sheet?) That read “Down With All Capitalisms,” and another with the slogan: “If you think like a bourgeois you will live like a slave.” At about five minutes after two they sang the Internationale, took a family photo, collected their cloths and left when the clock struck 2:15 in the afternoon. That night the National Television News broadcast scenes of the marches in Madrid, Paris, London and other cities, but said nothing of the modest expression of the solidarity in our own backyard.

The perimeter of the park was distinguished by the presence of a dozen uniformed police officers and an unknown number (some say 10, others 30) of State Security agents in plain clothes. The young man Lázaro Yuri Valle Roca was stopped on Belascoaín Street and forced into a police car that drove away. Blogger Miriam Celaya, who was coming down the Carlos III Street was also prevented from participating as a witness in the activity and together with Eugenio Leal, author of the blog Veritas, was put into a patrol car and taken to a corner of the Playa municipality.

When I got out of an almendrón — a private taxi — in front of the little park, I could already hear the second chorus of “So comrades, come rally…” making it’s way downtown and stopped in the distance so they could take a photo without contaminating the scene with my presence. I emerged unscathed, thanks perhaps to those who were there to stop the intruders, who were ranged along both flanks. I would like to say it was a previously arranged diversion operation, but I swear it was a coincidence.

I respect the right of the Critical Observatory to show solidarity with the Outraged Europeans, victims of police repression. I hope my right to express my solidarity with the repressed Cubans in the Karl Marx Park is respected.

14 May 2012

On Monday we woke up to a lot of news: In France there is a socialist president replacing the conservative Sarkozy; in Russia Vladimir Putin assumed the presidency and appointed, as prime minister, the outgoing president Medvedev; there were also elections in Greece and Lithuania but we will have to wait for the second round to know the results.

Amid the uncertainty produced by the worsening health of Hugo Chavez, people are also talking about, these days, the Venezuelans going  to the polls in October to elect a president; and with signs of recovering relations with Mexico, we learn that in that country the PRI threatens to return to power.

But in Cuba, none of this happens. Within ten months Raul Castro will be reelected and now, three months after the first Cuban Communist Party Conference, where they announced the  renewal of the party’s Central Committee up to 20%, still nothing moves. What is happening, according to the official position, is that no one is sufficiently prepared to take over. Personally, I agree with that view. I do not know the name of any person able to sustain this situation any longer.

7 May 2012

Link to Original Blog in Spanish

Please help translate

Reinaldo Escobar (1947), an independent journalist since 1989, writes from Cuba where he was born and continues to live. He received his degree in Journalism from the University of Havana in 1971 and subsequently worked for different Cuban publications. His articles can be found in various European publications, and in the digital magazines "Cuba Encuentro" and "Contodos."

Desde Aquí/From Here is a personal undertaking born from the need to write about those topics that fill my head every day but that cannot find a space in the official Cuban media.

reinaldoescobar@desdecuba.com

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