HAVANA TIMES — Over the past several day there have appeared in various blogs from the island, and in their international replicas, accusations pertaining to the counterrevolutionary, conspiratorial and mercenary character of different cultural and media projects – including Havana Times.
The casual repetition of the attack has generated indignation and alarm among those of us who participate in this medium. This has led to a series of personal and collective responses that are seeking to curb or reverse those accusations and their possible effects.
Here is mine.
Those defamatory posts must be read not only for what they write but also in the context in which they were written. The universal gravity of any personal defamation is seen compounded now by the anonymous character of some of the allegations, and — in the Cuban context — the lopsidedness of the resources that exist between those who are unleashing their diatribes and their targets.
The first ones (under personal signatures or pseudonymous) presumably have the sponsorship or approval of institutions and official points of views. The second group must count on inexhaustible moral arguments and the solidarity of decent people of very limited legal resources.
All of this operates in a context where the prerogatives of the state — and the state’s underlings — usually prevail over the guarantees and rights of citizens, communities and sometimes meritorious officials and institutions committed to legality and human dignity.
Those public prosecutors of cyberspace are a clear expression of the “conspiratorial” phenomenon, in which — under a deformation of the rules and content of public and ideological debate — rumors are substituted for arguments, defamation for ethics, and police logic for ideology.
By confusing the diversity of opinions for a conspiracy planned and plotted from some “command post,” the “conspiracy theorists” are doing nothing more than searching for others in the mirror that reflect their modes and motives for interpreting and commenting on the situation that surrounds them.
Having vetoed (or castrated) independent thinking and autonomy, the conspiracy theorists believe that everyone is of their same condition and, therefore, their interpretation is that we HT columnists follow the same logic of that brilliant work by Eduardo del Llano: Brainstorm.
In that short film, mediocrity, dissimulation and lack of initiative characterized the exercise of neutered journalism, in a clear reflection of the appalling conditions that hinder the development of a press such as Cuba’s.
In this way, contrasted with the richness and even the contradictions that fill up the columns of HT, these individuals expand their paranoia (and amplify it to their captive audiences) presenting as conspirators these ordinary citizens exercising their right, enshrined in the constitution, to express themselves freely, without agendas or concealed sponsorship.
There’s another feature that attracts the attention of those who accuse us: their apparent overlooking of the problems and processes of our country and the world in the face of the obsessive priority of presenting supposed “evidence” and “proof” about those voices that upset them.
As it’s known, among the HT columnists are written posts relating to a host of national and global issues — existential or political concerns, sports and the environment, gender and artistic issues — as a sign of a healthy open-mindedness, where the emphasis and priorities of each columnist are complemented by the interests and views of the others, not to mention comments from our readers.
This creates a rich setting for dialogue that usually is not appreciated by extremists, who wish to portray the island and the world as a paradise or hell, depending on their interests.
Instead, it appears that our detractors live in a world and, especially, in a country where all the problems afflicting the people have been solved. They also think that their neighbors and fellow citizens also live as they do.
Flowing from their logic, problems of the everyday lives of each citizen should be subordinated to geopolitical calculations and the peculiar vision that supports the ever changing raision d’etat (reason of the state).
If there’s an outbreak of an epidemic, if there’s a water shortage or if the transportation situation is worsening — to cite only a few examples of everyday stress — the “conspiracy theorists” maintain that none of these situations are relevant to their fellow citizens.
The priority is to make every Cuban understand that conditions in other countries are worse, and that these problems are the fault of external factors. Yet when things can no longer be concealed, the goal is to at least minimize public exposure so as to “not to give weapons to the enemy.”
With ideological debate and assessments absent, the nature of the “conspiracy theorists’” posts exposes them as thematically biased products and, apparently, tele-guided drones.
In their model of the press, their personal agendas merge in a slightly dissonant script, in which many actors play the same character with almost identical lines.
The conspiratorial chorus in which there exists emulation, within the framework of a production plan of injuries, it seems to nourish itself from the airs of competition and efficiency being experienced by the country within the so-called “updating of the model.”
If the cultivators of “conspiranoia” persist along this line, there won’t be any problem – we won’t join in the competition.
If they want to continue their slander, through cliques or circulars, against those of us who practice — as chroniclers or citizens — our always personal and unfinished commitment to the truth, let them go ahead and do it.
But I hope they understand that they will face our responses, personal and concerted, in all the public and legal settings available.