The Conspiracy Theorists

Armando Chaguaceda

Photo: Caridad

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.

Armando Chaguaceda

Armando Chaguaceda: My curriculum vitae presents me as a historian and political scientist. I'm from an unclassifiable generation who collected the achievements, frustrations and promises of the Cuban Revolution and now resists on the island or contributes through numerous websites, trying to remain human without dying in the attempt.


14 thoughts on “The Conspiracy Theorists

  • July 17, 2012 at 3:31 pm
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    Thanks for providing information on Haier… I didn’t know about it since in my country there are no products of that brand.

    Off-topic, Alan Gross is a exchange coin for the Cuban 5, his case has little to to with the embargo.

    But your accusations are completely twisted. While Circles used to work in the Cuban media, he started HT as an parallel project, and while some bloggers do work for the Cuban government, given the critical articles they publish, one must argue that their work relations have nothing to do with they write here. You want ‘facts’, right? Show me that anyone in this site gets paid to say good things about the Cuban government. You, my friend, is the conspiracy theorist here.

  • July 17, 2012 at 7:59 am
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    Josue,

    When you have no facts you blame Bush and the Embargo. Come on. Fidel doesn’t even do that anymore.

    I just got the Havana yellow pages and there is a full page ad on the back cover for the Chinese appliance maker Haier.

    Cubans can buy the same crap from China that we buy here in the US.

    If the Castro’s wanted the Embargo lifted, they can start by releasing Alan Gross.

    Sorry, I am way off topic now.

    I said what I wanted to say referring back to the title of this article “Conspiracy Theorists”. No conspiracy, just the truth that Circles used to work for the Cuban government, HT was endorsed by the Cuban government and all the bloggers work for the Cuban government.

    No conspiracy here. Just the facts.

  • July 16, 2012 at 12:51 pm
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    We are with you in the daily struggle for truth and the right of any citizen to express what each of us has as our own truth, which is one of the truths. Others can also have their own truth, and one must respect that if we are not robots.

  • July 16, 2012 at 12:50 pm
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    Confront, Chaguaceda says — although I don’t understand with whom-, the Cuban blogosphere is nourished by countless pamphlets that are well recognized within a group of government employees, solely and exclusively, not by the Cuban population (the causes are understood), much less internationally. Then, considering that he could have made a comparison with the global diffusion that Havana Times, to me it seems especially unlikely that there will be any debate with these people who always use their stagnant, limited, repetitive and insubstantial arguments.

    Let’s get to the point. HT lives in an environment of self-permissions that include discrepancy, consistency and adherence… understanding that as a brutal contrast with those who practice the religion of partiality, sectarianism and suffer from their own paranoia typical of a system that even when dead will not recognize its own death. I understand the need to seek responses to unfounded discrediting and the rat-like Cubadebaters, to the recurrent and obtuse rhetoric that they usually apply, their cowardly and pitiful reaction to others, which then turns into violence towards anything different. But in this case, it’s fitting to apply the old saying: “For foolish words, deaf ears”

  • July 16, 2012 at 12:44 pm
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    It’s what’s expected. HT is afraid…and there’s nothing wrong with that – it’s human. But trying to talk to tyrants is to serve them. This takes place in two ways: 1) that of tough guys who tell the Cuba dictatorship to go to hell 2) or singing to yo-yos. We’ll see, but I bet you end up singing to the yo-yos.

  • July 16, 2012 at 12:43 pm
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    Mr. Josue resorts to hackneyed official arguments. I pray to the dear Lord to define what is “revolutionary.” It’s certainly not the Cuban government or its leaders, which are currently situated within realm of reaction, conservatism and immobility. They don’t have anything to do with the true left.

    For those who think like you, anyone who does not praise the “mighty(?)” “revolution(?)” or the brilliant ideas of the Comandante is on the extreme right. I assure you that most of those who write and believe in this blog are more revolutionary than that sclerotic and repressive officialist Cuban scaffolding. They continue to use diatribes, the discrediting of their adversaries, distortions and lies in an environment where all of them count on the necessary impunity. Citing the “Third World” you are trying to justify the unjustifiable.

    HT has nothing to do with the ultra-reactionary right wing of Miami or Havana, the latter embodied in people like you and your official sponsors. Both extremes are made for each other. They feed on each other. And neither cares about our people. Mr. Josue, you and your government must stop using your Goebbelsian tactics. No one believes in them anymore. You dread independent thinking. You know the blockade/embargo of Cuba is heinous and condemned. It’s disgusting and immoral – just like the blockage/embargo that the Cuban authorities and their spokesmen like you have subjected the Cuban people to. Take a good look, my friend, to see where the real mercenaries are. Look around and you will see plenty of them within the domesticated official media. I congratulate HT and I reiterate my support.

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