Ariel is Free, He Always Was

Irina Echarry

Ariel recovering.

HAVANA TIMES – I was writing about the subject that had me obsessed: Ariel Ruiz Urquiola. I thought that the scenario was not very favorable for the battle, between the soccer world cup, the beginning of summer and the daily apathy, most people don’t care about other things.

Suddenly I received a call telling me that they freed Ariel; I had not felt so happy for a good while. We still do not know how everything will be from the legal point of view, but at least Ariel can stop his hunger strike.

During all these days, in the national television news program they reported details of Diaz Canel’s recent tour or about his meeting with leaders of province X. They also made us aware of the latest injustices committed by neoliberal governments around the world.

That’s what the average citizen has access to, the one who can’t spend a lot of money to connect to the internet and, when he/she does, it’s just to write or call a relative who lives abroad. We already know what Granma newspaper publishes. Few people seek news beyond the government sources. Therefore, every time I spoke about Ariel Ruiz Urquiola many people did not believe me.

Whoever is immersed in the battle for survival can only attend to the call of their stomach and, from time to time, instinct asks for alcohol or sports to “have fun.”

In fact, if something similar had happened to him/her, this common citizen would not have branded the forest rangers as rural guards, the offenses would have been others, which are heard daily in the streets. To top it off, if the information is kidnapped, the ordinary Cuban is ignorant of what happens around them.

For me it was very important that the struggle for the revision of Ariel’s sentence also take place outside the internet, because that would favor the cause. I love that there are people who feel something beyond soccer or getting food, and that there are honest young Cubans, rebels, with principles, aware that the Power can be unleashed against anyone, even if they are a good worker and have no criminal record.

That’s why, whenever I saw the chance, I would talk about the case. The reactions were diverse, of course, from one that criticized him for “getting into politics and not focusing on caring for his sister”; another who asked: “doesn’t he know that everyone likes to eat hutia?”; one that assured: “he is brave, but imagine, he has losing assured”, and even a mother who suffered because her son could be in Ariel’s place.

There are those who, after learning about the case, would ask every day “how’s the boy?” And a passionate teenager told me: “that should be painted, but not yellow, it deserves red …”, referring to the cards that he would apply to the government for having committed such misconduct.

It’s something. Although these people would not be able to go out to the street to demonstrate in favor of Ariel’s freedom, they were no longer unaware, they knew that the life of a young Cuban was in danger either because they let him die on hunger strike or because he remained unjustly imprisoned. And, above all, they would know who is responsible.

The government has a powerful weapon, misinformation; it is in our hands to make known what we know, by all possible means.

This victory of many is highly welcome; Ariel, recover soon to continue working.

Irina Echarry

Irina Echarry: I enjoy reading, going to the movies and spending time with my friends. Many of the people I love are dead, or are no longer in Cuba. I will do my best to transmit my thoughts, ideas or worries via these pages so you can get to know me. I will give an idea of my age, since it helps explain certain things. I’m over thirty-five, and I think that’s enough information. I don’t have any children yet, or nieces or nephews. There are days when I transform myself into a child with no age at all in order to see life from another angle. It helps me break the monotony and survive in this strange world.

3 thoughts on “Ariel is Free, He Always Was

  • July 3, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    Just to say that I wholly agree with Mr. MacDuff. And thank you from me, too, Ms. Echarry.

  • July 3, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    It is fairly obvious that the regime became aware that the plight of Ariel Ruiz Urquiola was receiving international attention. As demonstrated by the imprisonment of Osmel Ramirez Alvarez for writing articles, the regime monitors Havana Times – and no doubt maintains files upon contributors. In addition, the relatively new opportunity for especially younger Cubans to access information by e-mail from those privileged to live in the free capitalist world adds to the pressure.
    Let all of us who value freedom of speech, be grateful that Ariel has been released!
    Thank you Irina Echarry for keeping us informed!

  • July 3, 2018 at 11:55 am

    Te bendigo, Ariel. Descansa bien.

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