The Humanity of a Cuban State Security Agent

Por Lynn Cruz

HAVANA TIMES – Almost a month ago, the video of an interrogation with artist Javier Caso went viral on Cuban social media. Why? Because it’s the first time that a medium-quality audio has been leaked, and given the fact that all the leading figures in this case are artists, there was a humorous touch, so that the truth not only turns our stomachs, but also entertains.

A great challenge, bearing in mind the fact that while I was transcribing the audio file so that it flowed, because my partner and video editor Miguel Coyula believes it’s always better to add subtitles to the video, because the agents weren’t speaking very clearly and the microphone wasn’t as close as one would like. To tell you the truth, I felt sick after hearing the conversation over and over again. I was hurt.

Those agents intimidating Javier, in the calmest way, stuck in my head for hours. It’s clear that they have been given this power. They threatened him with his family, later they carefully asked (as if they knew they were walking a slippery slope) about his sister’s fame, who just so happens to be internationally-renowned actress Ana de Armas. They also used an aggressive tone to question Javier about his friendship with us, while they accused us of receiving money from the CIA.

It’s true that the tormentor, henchman and thug exist in every society, they just need a green light to feel fulfilled. But it’s also true that it’s not in human nature to want to be bad. The British TV series Black Mirror came to mind. Everything happens within an alternate reality. One of the episodes was about soldiers, who had been given the order to execute a group of people they called “cockroaches”. Viewers saw human beings, but the army really did see something else.

German playwright Bertolt Brecht said: “It is sweet and fitting to die for the homeland, crude propaganda that only knuckleheads fall for.” What is a soldier? Somebody who is trained to follow orders and the more unknown the enemy, the better. These agents are only told what is needed for them to do what they are supposed to. When they speak, or mention any of us, there are several ideas floating around their heads, which have been repeated so much that we pick up on why they act above the Law: they don’t realize the injustice they are committing.

In Cuba, politics is above laws and the Constitution. According to these agents, these so-called “interviews”, which are no more than a reservoir for coercion, threats and abuse. What they see in front of them are mercenaries on the US government’s payroll, worms, counter-revolutionaries. So, the metaphor of putting a filter over what soldiers see in Black Mirror makes sense when you come to terms with the fact that they need a good brainwashing so that an army of men can be maintained, at the government’s beck and call, or to go into battle.

The agents interrogating Javier, Alberto Fonseca and Angel Rodriguez (if these are their real names) are robots. Unable to assess the situation for themselves outside of the code they have been trained in. However, truth is like water, transparent, clear and it filters into every space, no matter how much you try to stop it.

There were certain things they said that gave away the true feelings of these agents, that proved they were leaving the totalitarian matrix, “the great minority” who didn’t agree with the new Constitution.

If it is great, another phrase makes no sense: “take to the Sierra with a rifle”, which is to say, “change won’t come via a peaceful struggle, arms will be needed. Or when the agent also said: “within a few years, when this changes, the Institution of Independent Arts will be created”.  This last statement reveals an absence of ideology, at least in Fonseca’s case, who dominated the interrogation.

Anyhow, it was truly sad for me to confirm that these people are authorized to go above the Law, when they are in fact its representatives. The consequences of this kind of distortion will continue to come to light, as relationships become more complex in a country that is becoming increasingly diverse.

As a great Cuban intellectual once said: “It’s a small step to becoming a henchman”, referring to the fact that we are still alive. And this is the fine line that sustains the Cuban Revolution’s discourse. Physical death is easy to report, but the everyday torment and psychological abuse, as well as the future death of a new kind of hero: “The emigre”, is what awaits critics as their final destination.

Lynn Cruz

It's not art that imitates life, its life that imitates art," said Oscar Wilde. And art always goes a step further. I am an actress and writer. For me, art, especially writing, is a way of exorcising demons. It is something intimate. However, I decided to write journalism because I realized that I did not exist. In Cuba, only the people authorized by the government have the right to express themselves publicly. Havana Times is an example of coexistence within a democracy and since I consider myself a democrat, my dream is to integrate this publication’s philosophy into the reality of my country.



11 thoughts on “The Humanity of a Cuban State Security Agent

  • without a single quote from the alleged “interrogation”, the writer ends where it started, saying nothing of interest.

    Reply
    • Mack, it wasn’t an alleged interrogation, it was a real one. And here you can listen to it with English subtitles. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqkvNBhAlQA&feature=youtu.be It would be like in the US, having Homeland Security decide what is art and who is an artist. Or the Home Office in the United Kingdom. You may agree with that idea, maybe not?

      Reply
  • How some people still defending this horrible dictatorship? They live in the free democratic world and enjoy it’s freedom and supports this horrendous bloody regime. Why??????????!

    Reply
  • Mack Boland for me is absolutely revealing how could you can ignore the Cuban situation. Especially when the socialist countries collapsed 30 years ago. Do you think Cuba is different from the rest of those countries. Well in that case you choose to believe in your idea about our reality, but this idea has nothing to do with my reality.

    Reply
  • “As a great Cuban intellectual once said: “It’s a small step to becoming a henchman”, referring to the fact that we are still alive.”

    I do not know if readers are familiar with the Canadian influential public intellectual – Professor Jordon Peterson. He would certainly agree that it is very easy for someone to become extremely malevolent. It is within our human nature to be so. It is called evil. I am sure Professor Peterson would concur with the Cuban intellectual and vice versa.

    Individual malevolence becomes extremely toxic when this evil perpetuates itself unto wider society. One only has to look at horrific situations that manifested themselves in the 20th century. Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, all began with a single “henchmen” with an ideological purpose who wanted to rule in a god like fashion. We know the final deadly results.

    Professor Peterson’s forewarning and the Cuban intellectual’s statement are omens to be very careful of one individual “henchmen” because history says it only takes one to spur a mass movement with ultimate deadly and destructive results one does not want to contemplate.

    Reply
  • My goodness not sure anyone who has the faintness clue to what is going on can support such an awful tyranny in Cuba.
    I would be careful Lynn these monsters could swallow the key and you may disappear into the dungeons and come out a broken wreck.

    Reply
  • Thanks for your comments. Its a way to protect myself.

    Reply
  • Until Trump was elected, I had always assumed that the laws in the US protected America from collapsing into the totalitarian morass that is Cuba and other failed fascist regimes. Now, I am not so sure. Cubans who continue to support the moribund Castro dictatorship don’t seem so different from the sycophants who attend Trump’s rallies. It is not so difficult to imagine that the Cuban interrogators mentioned in the article could be a blueprint for an FBI after a Trump makeover. Here’s the good news: what keeps the US from drinking the Trump koolaid, is a free press. My takeaway for a democratic Cuban future is to restore, first and foremost, a free and independent media to shed light on issues such as highlighted in this post.

    Reply
  • Con La Revolucion todo, sin La Revolucion nada. Quote by Fidel Castro.

    Reply
  • It is getting scary, I agree.

    Reply
  • Be careful. We may all be in The NSC black list. Remember Big Brother and 1984, the novel.

    Reply

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