My sentence is handed down

By Erasmo Calzadilla

Today is Wednesday, May 27, and I have finally received the much-awaited sentence from my trial.

Delivered by mail to my house were six typewritten pages full of legal “insomuches,” which I read hurriedly to get to the last paragraph.

In that passage, it finally stated that I was without grounds in my lawsuit against the University for dismissing me as a college professor.

Since before receiving the notification I had still held on to a certain degree of hope, with the news my chest sank for a few instants.

The court’s sentence states that I had violated obligations stipulated in my contract. Included among the false elements that the judges cited to pronounce such a sentence were:

  • That the students had received faulty instruction.
  • That a previous explanation had been made to me of deficiencies in the performance of my duties.
  • That I had violated the class hours.
  • That the only seminars I taught were the ones I left copies of in the library.
  • That in two of my seminars I made open attacks against Marx and his philosophy.

All of these – from the first to the last – are absolute falsehoods. What I do not understand is how such claims could be accepted in a trial like this with nothing more than verbal statements by the witnesses, no concrete proof.

It should also be taken into account that I myself could not present witnesses, since the only ones possible were my former students, who had been intimidated by the rector of the university (INSTEC).

He had opened fire against me in special meetings with them by stating that my position did not concur with the principles of the Revolution. Likewise, the proof he presented to the students were my articles in this blog, Havana Times. The rector accused me of this while my articles flipped across a screen – at full speed and in English – in one of these meetings.

Finally the judges concluded:

  • That I had breached Article 5 of Resolution 128 of the Ministry of Higher Education (which specifies the need to provide education in the formation of ethical and moral values) when I omitted the teaching of basic aspects and fundamental principles of Marxism Leninism.
  • That I committed forbidden actions in violation of the obligation of my job position and the responsibility that it carried. (Though it does not state what the prohibited actions were.)

I still want to present the case before the Supreme Court, but for now I am only requesting a sardonic applause for those who in the most sinister manner – and in defense of their personal privileges – have contributed to seeing injustice prevail.

3 thoughts on “<em>My sentence is handed down</em>

  • Do not feel too alienated, or even surprised, my friend. Academic freedom is a scarce commodity these days. In the United States, the same thing would have happened to you if you had been critical of the State of Israel or its policies. You would have been fired on the basis of your students’ own unverified testimony, and by the arbitrary will of interest groups outside the Academy.

  • An outrage! An injustice! !Adelante al Tribuno Supremo! (Not that I expect much from them.) Don’t the (ir- ) “responsables” know that such decisions kill the very best of the Revolution, suffocating the talents and creativity needed to propel It forward? Still, I’m glad you have opportunity to teach and communicate through the Havana Times. I suppose it could be worse. If it were 1936 Soviet Union: “Tell Comrade Stalin there has been some mistake! If only he knew! No! Arruggh!” (I seem to have esoteric nightmares–the product, no doubt, of reading too many horror comics in the 1950’s!

  • Well, I’m disappointed but not surprised by this court ruling. Particularly disturbing is that your articles in the Havana Times would be used as evidence against you. Very sad.

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