In Cuba, Fear Is a Part of Our Daily Lives

Ladies in White continue to be regularly repressed in Cuba for carrying gladiolas and demanding the release of political prisoners.

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.


Read more from the diary of Pedro Pablo Morejon here.

2 thoughts on “In Cuba, Fear Is a Part of Our Daily Lives

  • Similarly, I echo Michael’s sentiments. Pedro is a voice for those Cubans living on the island who have no voice or choose to remain silent because of dreadful fear. After the aftermath of July 11 in Cuba and the severe punishment doled out to those who voiced their legitimate opinion on the street, in the end, those courageous souls paid the prison price.

    Pedro’s contribution to HT provides readers with a street level view of the true happenings on the island. His writing allows readers sitting in comfortable safe surroundings outside Cuba to somewhat get a true perspective of what it is like to simply say or write about day to day intolerable, inhospitable surroundings trying not to overly provoke the political masters who can very easily without too much unintentional provocation have the writer arrested, detained and possibly imprisoned. Fear. Yes. Absolutely.

    “I’ve been lucky up until now, I continue to write my different articles for Havana Times, despite my ever-present fear.”, Pedro writes. It must really be excruciating difficult on one level to put pencil to public paper simply to express a surrounding reality that may infuriate the political masters knowing full well the words written may have unimaginable negative consequences.

    Pedro ponders and then writes: “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.” That statement in today’s world is spot on, so, so true. We only have to look at the horrific atrocities in Ukraine to reinforce his statement.

    Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian president, was a former actor and comedian, of all things, turned politician. As Pedro says in these dark, dangerous times it isn’t the qualification level of the person who is speaking or writing that is sacrosanct, in this case a comedian turned political leader, but rather the courage it takes to telling the truth. Can anyone deny that observation?

    Zelenskyy certainly addresses his audiences with poise and professionalism but do we actually believe he is not fearful and simply acting? Anyone in his shoes would be fearful or even mortified at the responsibility he has to have to lead his nation with his cities being bombarded to ashes daily. His courage and formidable determination, as most people would agree, is absolutely astonishing.

    At the very beginning of Putin’s land invasion, Zelenskyy was offered an easy exit by the United States outside the war zone, but he refused stating courageously: “The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride,” Zelenskyy told the U.S., according to the embassy.” (Braithwaite, S., World News, February 26, 2022).

    Vladimir Putin and his cronies have attempted numerous times to have Zelenskyy assassinated, silenced, because the truth is something totalitarian dictators and people like them do not want the rest of the world to hear and bear.

    As Pedro’s article aptly is called: “In Cuba, Fear Is a Part of Our Daily Lives” it is Cubans like him and many others like him who have the courage, the fortitude, to try and make a difference in a world, broadly speaking, that is in a constant struggle between good and evil. Pedro keep on writing about the truth.

  • Thank you Pedro for continuing to allow us to read what is happening to you and your fellow Cubans. May we be able to read your posts for many more years.

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