By Pedro Pablo Morejon
HAVANA TIMES – I’ve never been a member of an opposition group, for pragmatic reasons. I don’t like the idea of hurting my life in vain, or in the best of cases, receive people’s ungratefulness and indifference as my reward.
Cuba’s history has been stained with betrayal ever since the wars for independence up until now. A lot of blood has been spilled and too many lives have been cut short chasing after the utopia of social justice.
A controversial writer once said: “Freedom is History’s greatest mask.”
But it’s one thing to be pragmatic and a whole ‘nother thing to allow a dictatorial power control my life as if I were a puppet.
I began to understand this after just turning six years old. Seeing how some beloved people in my neighborhood were subjected to hate crimes because they committed the sin of wanting to leave the country, and it made me feel really bad.
Ever since then, my civic awareness began to develop up until when, already a teenager, and without any external influences from my family, I became convinced that I wasn’t living in a free country. But the fear was always there, it’s always been there.
This fear that huddles in some hidden corner in my mind, and that attacks you like a cunning predator when you least expect it. Like a little while ago, when I was summoned to be given “advice” because I made a comment on social media…
I remained calm, firm, even though I was engulfed by this fear, just like I was when I decided to write for this publication three years ago. I already had a history of rejecting anything that has to do with the system. For example, I’m not the person that marches on May 1st, or signs public statements in favor of the dictatorship and its allies, nor have I ever taken part in its appeals. I don’t collaborate in any way.
But I’ve always been afraid. I’d tell myself: “It’s just a matter of a month or two before they discover you and take reprisals.”
I was waiting for it to happen, but I’d accepted it. Because this self-determination makes you dignified and makes you feel like you can breathe a little freedom, despite living under a totalitarian state, and this courage beats any fear.
I don’t hope to overthrow a dictatorship like this. Thugs aren’t beaten with a fist full of words. It’s just an exercise of personal freedom.
That’s how I’ve carried on, week after week, without hiding my name or face, bringing Cuban reality to readers via chronicles and other articles, which of course, don’t agree with the line imposed by journalism subjugated to the Cuban Communist Party. My vision is that of an ordinary Cuban, who lacks luxuries and suffers the hardship of living on this island.
Maybe Cuban journalism’s challenge in these dark times isn’t the qualification level of its professionals, but rather the courage of those committed to telling the truth, despite their fear.
I’ve been lucky up until now, I continue to write my different articles for Havana Times, despite my ever-present fear.