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One of the friendly warnings most received by those who are declared to be dissidents, is that there will always be someone willing to manipulate their opinions.  So if a Cuban complains about some violation of his rights, this can be used later to justify the American blockade, and if one says it would be good to free the political prisoners, this supports the arguments of the extreme right within the European Union to maintain the status quo.

When an economist reveals that a country is at the verge of bankruptcy, it dulls the enthusiasm of those who would like to invest in Cuba; and if somebody decides to show that the educational system is a failure, that the health services decline every day, and that year after year we win fewer competitions in the international sport arena, it would only serve to deprive the revolution of its prestige, which is its biggest asset,  since it depends on international solidarity which is ultimately a matter of national security.

Without analyzing the issue of who is more to blame, the one who commits the errors or the one who reports them, I think it’s worth the trouble to ask the friends who — even agreeing with our critics – insist on giving us these warnings, if they have ever thought about who manipulates their silence.

In how many statistical reports do these silent ones appear, forming part of the majority that approves governmental management? How may times do the authorities dare to tighten the screws until they come to the end of the thread, precisely because they calculate that silence gives consent and those who protest will fall into the sack of the enemy?

The “gag of love” is nothing more than a sublimation of the “gag of fear,” because it is much more elegant to justify the silence on the grounds of anticipated manipulation, than to confess panic over likely imprisonment.

Translated by: Mari Mesa


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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.

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