HAVANA TIMES, July 2 — A few weeks ago I read an article published in Spanish only on several Cuban websites that referred to Havana Times. At that instant I felt compelled to write something in response, but more important matters delayed me and in the end I felt it wouldn’t be worth the trouble.
But a part of the article continued to bounce around in my head. The author mentioned our Havana Times colleague Erasmo Calzadilla and quoted him as saying: “I’m very well-defined politically: I’m a bitter opponent of authoritarians, those who are wrongdoers, who are domineering, people who believe they hold the single truth, etc. – whatever their stripes.”
The author of the article then said that when reading such words, the reader “naturally” thinks of “Yankee imperialism,” although later he tries to expound what he considers to be my colleague’s true position.
It’s true that when one speaks of wrongdoers, one almost inevitably thinks of imperialism. Even if you don’t want to, even if you make the greatest effort to describe them otherwise, they always manage to wind up in the hit parade of true human rights violators around the world.
It’s almost impossible to read a newspaper or watch the news without hearing about the bombing of Libya, the dead in Iraq and Afghanistan (in the name of freedom and the war against terrorism of course), or you’ll learn about more torture and human rights violations in the jails in Abu Grahib or in Guantanamo (the same one that President Obama promised to close during his election campaign).
Yet, why is it that when I read my colleague’s words, US imperialists aren’t the sole wrongdoers that come to my mind?
There have been other evils that our Cuban press has failed to reflect with such profusion or that they have blacked out completely – such as the Tiananmen massacre in 1989 (which I learned about here in HT for the first time thanks only to an article by my other colleague Daisy Valera); or the deployment of Soviet tanks in Czechoslovakia in 1968, and the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union. Like in the conquest of the cosmos, the Soviets took the lead over the Americans by invading Afghanistan back in 1979.
But it’s not necessary to go so far away looking for examples of wrongdoing. My colleague Erasmo and the author of the article lived here on the same island and under the same political system where many homosexuals were sent off to UMAP labor camps (Military Units to Aid Production) and expelled from their schools and jobs at the end of the 1960s and the early ‘70s.
It’s the same country and the same system under which many intellectuals and artists — without needing to be homosexuals and even after having demonstrated their support for the revolution — were also expelled from their universities and workplaces.
If those were not examples of wrongdoing then I need someone to give me the new definition of the term. Wrongdoers are on the right as much as on the supposed left. My colleague made it clear in his assessment, they should be resisted…“whatever their stripes.”