Havana’s Usual Suspects

Alfredo Fernandez Rodriguez

You can't come in.

The usual habitual suspects are easy to identify: They’re standing around the doors of cultural events and debates that they’re prohibited from entering.

Who prohibits them?  That’s another easy one: They’re the guys in plainclothes —understood as the police— who in a strange linguistic operation to prevent certain people from entering events cry out “agitators” at them (when in fact these plainclothesmen are the only ones agitating).

They create an unpleasant atmosphere in what should be a festive premiere of a film, a gala inauguration of an exhibit or an engaging debate around a magazine.  But now these settings have the right to reserved admission.

This “apartheid” includes the most irreverent bloggers, as well as audacious photographers of Cuban reality and even the members of a rock band.

They’re the guys in plainclothes.

The noose around these suspects is drawing ever tighter, and little does it matter if you’re an important writer, comedian and short fiction film director like Eduardo del Llano.  It was sufficient for him to invite Ciro (the lead singer of the rock band “Porno Para Ricardo”) to his regular peña gathering for our forces of “cultural vigilance” to punish him by closing the space.  Their explanation was that “Del Llano must never repeat something like that again.”

Four months after having been issued a letter rejecting the current obstructions and prohibitions of social and cultural initiatives, everything is continuing the same. I’d like to think the paperwork was misrouted and lost somewhere in the official bureaucratic maze, since prohibitions against such innocuous suspects are carried out as routine these days.

I pray to God for the letter to be read by somebody in the officialdom who can stop this, especially before my picture falls in the hands of somebody bent on screaming at me, calling me an agitator and then preventing me from entering some cinema, exhibit or intellectual debate.  If it’s not read by an official “who thinks,” then may the Lord protect me from these cultural vigilantes so they don’t include me on their list of usual suspects.

One thought on “Havana’s Usual Suspects

  • 1st thing: whatever ‘trouble’ (or not) you people are going to cause at these events, these police & vigilantes have no real right to stop you from attending, including whether the events themselves become ‘closed’ or not. However, matters are not so simple, either: because the imperialists really ARE using dissent in Cuba as a wedge with which to attempt to destroy whatever socialism there is on the island. & so the government & its supporters really do have a point too. It’s how they go about it that is the issue. & police methods are always an admission of failure, of a sort.

    2nd thing: the secret police here in the imperialist countries do the exact same thing & worse: except that the circumstances are very different as to how they can go about marginalizing dissent here. Deathsquads & prison are always the ultimate ‘fallback’ action, of course.

    So don’t anyone think that the West is “free” — while “communist Cuba” is a “dictatorship”. That is just…

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