Erasmo Calzadilla

Graphic: cubayatwittea.blogspot.com

HAVANA TIMES — We Cubans without access to the Internet traffic information on USB flash drives. A video showing a protest staged by the Union Patriotica de Cuba (Cuban Patriotic Union, or UNPACU) – an organization of the opposition that is strong in the country’s east – reached me through one of these.

From the balcony of a humble house nestled in a poor neighborhood, a dozen dissidents yell forbidden phrases and ideas: “Down with Fidel, Raul and communism!”, “murderers!”, “thugs!”, “donations are not for sale!”, “one currency!”, “fair salaries!”, “milk for our children!”, “roofs for the people!”, “freedom for political prisoners!”, “Cuba for Cubans, not tourists!”, “respect for the opposition!”, “no more evictions!”, “no more unemployment!”, “down with the political police!”, and so on and so forth.

The neighbors begin to crowd beneath the balcony: people of all ages and colors, humble folk who look at the spectacle with curiosity and in silence. The occasional old man hurls an insult at the protesters and a grandmother threatens to throw stones at them.

The police don’t take long to arrive: a jeep fitted with loudspeakers carrying furious, violent people that inspire fear. They provoke the UNPACU protesters so they will come down and have a go at it, but the protesters respond saying theirs is a peaceful demonstration.

An official from the Provincial Communist Party Headquarters has the difficult task of responding to the choir of the opposition. She uses a megaphone and shrieks but nothing meaningful comes out of her mouth: nothing with any thought behind it, only pre-fabricated phrases, empty slogans, revolutionary ditties. Below are some of these:

“There’s no opposition here, you’re just miserable scum, mercenaries working for a foreign power, imperialist puppets. You’re not a part of this dignified and hard-working people, there’ll never be room here for you. You’re no one, you’re nothing, scoundrels! Your political prisoners are paid criminals. The enemy is here today. Out with them, out with them! Illiterates, we won’t allow you to attack and offend us. (Addressing the members of the CDR) Don’t let three mercenaries on the empire’s payroll stain the honor and dignity of this community, don’t let them hold these indecent demonstrations…”

From time to time, she hands over the microphone to another woman (supposedly from the people) who says pretty much the same things, only in a more aggressive, personal and offensive tone.

Things end up getting quite heated: someone at street-level dares say something in support of the demonstration, and a furious horde of people lunges at them.

I don’t know anything about UNPACU, but this video has left me with a good impression about them. One has to be courageous to raise one’s voice like that, knowing that a crowd of fundamentalists can beat you to a pulp, the police lock you up indefinitely and State Security make your life hell.

This time around, at least, it was the demonstrators who maintained a civic, restrained and intelligent attitude, before the fascist behavior and intolerance of those who defend the system.

I know nothing about UNPACU’s politics or the contents of its agenda. At this demonstration, at least, they make the demands that anyone is duty-bound to address to a totalitarian dictatorship.

Each of the phrases pronounced by this handful of nut-cases was like a beam of light piercing through the fear, undermining the myth of monolithic unity, profaning the sacred totem. People listened to them passively, as though they witnessed some kind of artistic performance, but something in their world was surely fractured forever.

The video ends there and I don’t know how the party ended.


Erasmo Calzadilla

Erasmo Calzadilla: I find it difficult to introduce myself in public. I've tried many times but it doesn’t flow. I’m more less how I appear in my posts, add some unpresentable qualities and stir; that should do for a first approach. If you want to dig a little deeper, ask me for an appointment and wait for a reply.

38 thoughts on “Cuba’s Sacrilegious Opposition

  • As the regime isn’t reporting on the arrests – not denying them either – it falls to the emerging civil society in Cuba to do so.
    They do it well and with lots of crosschecking.
    I bet you can’t gives us one name and prove that the data posted about him isn’t correct.
    Lately it has been reported that in the whole of Cuba there are 6000 foreigners living permanently and mainly in the Havana area. As they are most often employed by the mixed companies they will never report on evenets as they will lose their jobs.
    The in recent years the foreign correspondent of “El Pais” and the BCC were kicked out or “frozen out”.
    It is well known they exert some form of “self censorship” though all report the data on political prisoners from the organizations cited above as do international human rights organizations. All without questioning them.
    The tourists are mainly in the air conditioned buses or “beach / adult resorts” and very few have knowledge of the real Cuba.
    If a social minded tourist strays where he should be he quickly is approached and attempts are made to confiscate and delete images and data as the Czech supermodel Helena Houdova found out when she took pictures of slums in Havana in 2006.
    As such the well informed in and outside Cuba fully trust these reports.
    You desperate attempt to slander the source has again miserably failed.

  • So, these “dissidents” themselves tell us their numbers are legion. And that thousands upon thousands of them were arrested. Sorry, but with the thousands of foreign tourists, businessmen and journalists on the island at any one time, you will have to do a little better than that.

    Even your good friend here, Moses P., has had to concede here that there is no organized opposition to speak of in Cuba. If you want widen the political discourse there, I think you are going to have to end the insane US policy of aggression against the Cuba people that has been condemned by nearly every other nation on the planet, including your own, every year for decades now at the UN. From what I can tell, even the malcontents on the island hate the US for it. Any US-backed group is bound to be viewed by all with suspicion.

  • Remember that that “water treatment” equipment was industrial grade and clearly not meant for hospitals but had use in the chemical industry and even in the military industry in Cuba.

    As far as medicines go: get real. Cuba just doesn’t want to buy for the Cuban people. The hospitals for tourists and the Castro oligarchy are loaded with everything the other hospitals lack. If the regime would spend more of the 8 billion the get from the slave labour of doctors rented out on the people instead of on the military the situation would be a lot better for the Cuban people.

    The Castro dictatorship deprives the Cuban people of vital access to medicines, new scientific and medical technology, food, chemical water treatment and electricity
    They do ensure the have it all themselves though.

  • Still mindlessly repeating the same old tired propaganda lies I see.
    More Cubans dies at the hands of the Castro regime than from any consequence of the embargo. Only the “loony left” of the Castro propaganda machine still try to peddle that “genocide” lie.

  • UNPACU has published some list on their members and the Centro de Información Hablemos Press has often posted a parallel list.
    You really should start informing yourself better.
    Note that the regime never has denied that these people were arrested.
    Very reliable people compile the lists the basis of data from very reliable witnesses and with not from the regime to even attempt to deny the facts. As usual you are on your own desperately trying to deny the facts.

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