An Assault on Freedom of Expression in Cuba

Luis Miguel del Bahia

Photo: Caridad
Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES — Two weeks ago, I saw something I’d never seen before: around eight men in Havana’s Parque Central, yelling “freedom” and “down with the dictatorship” while holding up cardboard signs bearing their demands.

A large crowd of Cubans and foreigners (some holding cameras) silently followed the “show”, while a man in civilian clothing tried to snatch the signs from them and yelled “Long live Fidel! Long live the revolution!”

One of the protesters yelled something I didn’t like (though it is clear to me that he should have the right to yell whatever he pleases): “Long live the president of the United States!”

In addition to being a bit unintelligent (as it plays into the hands of Cuba’s State Security agents), Obama is no standard-bearer of democracy and civic freedoms (we’re all well aware of the Snowden and Assange cases, the tapped telephone lines, and other such fiascos).

He couldn’t exactly be called unpatriotic, either, for, then, we would have to do the same thing with one fellow in the “audience”, who was yelling “Long live Chavez!” I don’t know why Obama and Chavez have to be thrown into the mix. I get the impression that we’re always looking for help from a “big brother.”

A short time later, the police arrived and put an end to the commotion. Cuffed, with the authorities behind them, the protesters could do nothing save something intelligent: to not resist arrest, and deny the powerful a reason to make use of force.

It’s easier to see the mistakes of others than one’s own. Neither the news nor the official newspapers reported on this incident, which is the opposite of what took place with the repression of the 15M movement in Madrid, the Occupy Wall Street Movement and others. This shameful moment was, however, captured by the eyes and lenses that witnessed it that day.

Luis Miguel del Bahia

Luis Miguel del Bahia: I am not from anywhere – I am born only of Being, or so I seek to be. In truth, I was born in Havana’s neighborhood of Bahia in the year 1989. When I reached adolescence, I felt I didn’t fit in here and managed to leave for Spain. Working at a factory, I came to understand what capitalism was and that I didn’t want it for the rest of my life. I decided to return to the neighborhood, where I currently work as a computer programmer. From time to time, I open a philosophy book to try and understand the System.

14 thoughts on “An Assault on Freedom of Expression in Cuba

  • November 4, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    I assume you haven’t heard of Snowden and the absurd attacks on any, and all, dissenters…

  • November 3, 2013 at 11:27 am

    the funny thing (as of course, hypocritical) stand of these many pro Castroists that write on this blog, is the fact that most of them LIVE UNDER CAPITALIST GOVERNMENTS…And I assure you, no one of them is ready to part their bourgeois life to go and live in Cuba……

  • October 30, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Ojala if the answer to pain and suffering in the world was socialism. Unfortunately, as history has shown, socialism produces far MORE pain and suffering than the lesser of evils, the dreaded capitalism. You’re idealism is admirable and wholly ignorant of reality.

  • October 30, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    You’re being disingenuous here.
    The only reason forthe U.S. embargo is the 100 year U.S. foreign policy of preventing or destroying any democratic threat to totalitarian (the only kind there is)capitalism.
    Why this love for such a killer totalitarian economic form ?
    There is no more deadly and immiserating form of totalitarianism than capitalism under which around 8 million people in capitalist countries die of starvation and have for decades for the lack of the US$2.00 per day it takes to survive..
    In the world today, there is enough of everything necessary for a decent life for every man, woman and child on the planet and it is only because they live under capitalism that those goods and services are not distributed in a humane way rather than for profit.

  • October 28, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    Highly respected countries don’t have their citizens risking their lives to flee.

  • October 28, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    “Anti American” perspective indeed! His puerile, personal attacks are ample evidence of that. The truth is all nations spy on each other. As a recent french politician was quoted as saying (I’m paraphrasing here) “everyone is spying on everyone else. We may be a bit jealous that the Americans capabilities, but it’s no surprise.” It does however make for good political fodder back home.
    To think the Russians, Chinese, even our own allies don’t spy, or try to spy on us is naive at best.

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