By Repatriado

The Spanish rap singer Valtonyc was sentenced to prison.

HAVANA TIMES — Tensions are mounting between Havana and Madrid ever since the Spanish government canceled the king and queen’s visit to Cuba, which the Cuban government eagerly wanted.

Important figures visiting the island are presented nationally and internationally as recognition of the regime’s legitimacy and calling off this official visit is a flagrant slap in the face, so the Cuban government has counterattacked with its media artillery, even accusing the Spanish president of being a Franco supporter.

It’s within this context that the official Cubadebate website, the most important government news blog in the country, with the greatest resources and widest circulation, has published the news of Spanish rapper Valtonyc’s sentence, in a tone of scandalous indignation.

Let’s clarify that up until yesterday, we Cubans lived happily unaware of the existence of this urban “artist” and if the State Council’s media bastion for the internet, aka. Cubadebate, published this news, it was only to highlight how repressive the Spanish justice system is.

Cubadebate doesn’t explain in its article why the rapper was sentenced, it only limits itself to reproducing what the Platform for the Defence of Free Expression (PDLI) said, a small recent Spanish association dedicated to defending freedom of speech, which took a stand against the sentence.

The first great hypocrisy in all of this is using the abovementioned Spanish Platform as a news source knowing full well that an association like this would be impossible in the Castros’ Cuba.

In the article, we find sentences like:

– It’s disconcerting to witness something that resembles the Inquisition in the 21st century.

– What we are seeing is unprecedented and out of character with a democracy.

– The court sentence presents serious conflicts with international standards in the field of freedom of speech.

– Imprisonment or even using criminal law to persecute simple expressions or ideas is a disproportionate act.

– Reform the Penal Code so that it stops being an instrument to censor and persecute dissidents.

In its eagerness to take on Spain, the website had the audacity to publish an article about this subject. Aren’t they also ashamed not to talk about the Inquisition, about something out of character with democracy, freedom of speech or the penal code being used to repress ideas and people in this country of never-ending censorship, where dissidents are imprisoned every day?

It’s almost the height of hypocrisy and mockery. I say almost the height because the real height is them continuing to call their system “socialism” and all of the theater that has been taking place recently, for the so-called “elections”.

El Sexto, a Cuban grafitti artist, who should have been arrested much earlier for damaging public property, was arrested for writing “se fue” (he’s gone) on a wall the day after Fidel passed away and he spent several months in prison without a hearing. Two words.

The Spanish rapper openly apologizes for terrorist groups, he urges them to keep on killing in his songs, and he inverts the equation in an abject way, calling ETA or GRAPO killers “victims”.

I would like to remind you of the headline Cubadebate used when El Sexto was arrested, when they regularly arrest members of rock band Porno para Ricardo or when a whole print run of a book presented at the most recent edition of the Havana Book Fair was seized because it had an interview in it with the singer from rap group Los Aldeanos, but I can’t because Cubadebate didn’t say anything about it.

Artists who criticize the government here don’t exist for national media and they can be repressed in whatever way the represser on duty feels like.

Writing this article was pretty much pointless, I’d need to dedicate an essay a day to Granma newspaper alone and its “news”, but there are times when I’m having my coffee in the morning and I flick through the news and some articles my liver knot up more than others, and I felt that the hypocrisy of today deserved a few words.

For the record, I don’t have an opinion about the sentence; my indignation is related to the falacious way the Cuban media has dealt with this piece of news. In its current battle to villify Spain, the only thing the Cuban government has managed to do this time is highlight its own squalor.

 

 


15 thoughts on “Cuba vs Spain, Hypocrisy and Journalism

  • Well I think there is not common ground for us about Cataluña, like American says, we agree than we disagree, or something like that.

    Just one last thing from my side about it, there is a huge difference between the integration process of Cataluña in what we now know as Spain and the integration process of Ireland in England or Britain.

    In my last paragraph I was assuming you were American, an US national, and in my belief there is an unfair opinion about Americans among people in Europe, I make a reference, similar for me, between the Greeks and the Romans that conquer them but assumed their culture. This opinions against Americans are easy to find in France, Germany, Austria or Sweden, but not in Spain.

    Maybe it is like this because Spaniards has suffered also a very bad opinion from their neighbours, a black legend.

    Once I was in an small town in Austria, having lunch with some freemasons, my first last name is originally from France, all good, my second last name is Spanish, I remember they laughs and said something like “do not say that with proud”, I didn´t defend myself, I should did it.

    If I could elect a place to live, that would be, without doubt, Spain.

    I assumed you were from US because there are much more probabilities than an English-speaking person interested in Cuban problems be from US and not a British, well, are you British?

    You are the first person from Welsh whom I talk. Nice to meet you, I tried to enter to your Blog but my connection is so slow than I couldn’t.

    I hope to publish here soon about other matters, I will like to see your comments, I am ready to argue jejejeje.

  • Your comments regarding nationalism are really cliched. The term nationalism is used to describe many varied political movements – some progressive, some reactionary, some left, right. Your comment is like saying all men are rapists. You have to judge each situation as it is. If you don’t support Catalan rights you are supporting the Spanish nationalism of the Spanish government when they imprison Catalan politicians, beat up the Catalan people and deny Catalan rights to speak and have education in their own language. Have you seen the Spanish government supporters giving fascist salutes.

    The Catalan people have had a distinct history going back to 11th century. I don’t know why you say Ireland is a nation but Catalunya isn’t except that Ireland has already gained its independence. A referendum throughout Spain wouldn’t be fair as the Spanish would be dictating to the Catalans what they should do. What is so difficult about having a proper normal referendum in Catalunya? The UK government gave Scotland the chance, Canada gave Quebec. The majority may well vote no but it is better to have a peaceful referendum than war and violence as you rightly say.

    Your hypothesis about Catalunya after separation is interesting. Ideally the minority Spanish within Catalunya should accept the new state as they are living within the historic boundaries of that country. Their rights should be respected and a way should be found through negotiation so they could have autonomy and possible links to Spain or joint sovereignty. There is no single answer to this issue – it can be very complex and tragic – eg Northern Ireland or Bosnia. But in the end if they insist to remain as part of Spain you have to respect their rights to self determination as you can’t hold an area against its will.

    I’m afraid I don’t understand totally your last paragraph. I am Welsh and European and I like both the Spaniards and Catalans. I was born in Spain and go to many places there as often as I can. When you say Americans are you referring to Latin America or the US. I think the view of the US in Europe is really mixed. The culture is admired but the politics isn’t.

  • I remember an episode of Family Guy where the family legalize their status as a separate nation. They invite them to Fidel Castro, Saddan Husseim, Gadafi, hilarious.

    I have not a concept of nation because there are different kinds of nations and different point of view about this definition, What I do have is a concept of nationalism, nationalism always need an enemy, if they have not a real enemy, they manufacture one, nationalism is an enemy of diversity and do not admit diferents opinion, it is black or white for them, with me or against me, usually nationalism is used by an elite to manipulate majorities as a way to power, nationalism has caused more blood in human history than religion, that is a lot to say.

    You can imagine that I am against all nationalism as a moral principle, nationalism understand that nations have rights, I think that the people are the one with rights.
    Sorry but you cannot be sure the catalunya and Euskadi will be better by them self that as a part of Spain because that is just an assumption that nationalist claim, it is not proven. There are economist, I studied economy, in Cuba and psychology in Spain, not philosophy, there are economist that says that it is not true and that if Catalunya is the second, not the first, Madrid is the First, more productive region in Spain is because the great inversions in industry done in Franco´s time, and if you analyse Catalan commerce is almost 85% with the rest of Spain.

    I do not refute the idea of a more rich Catalunya separated, I just says that is a not for sure.

    You continue making a separation between Spanish and Catalan people, I think there is not a Catalan people, they are as Spaniards as Catalans and so if it is so the Spanish people all together should have the right to decide.

    Other hypoteshys, if Catalonia accomplish separation, the new Nation will allow than the big amount of non-nationalist Catalans brake Catalunya in a proportional part and make a reunification with Spain? Because following what I understand from your argumentation, what rights have the nationalist Catalans to keep to the non-nationalist Catalans in a Nation they do not recognize?

    Valenciá is a recognize language as Catalan, Gallego or Aragonés, for me that is stupid because Valenciá is almost the same that Catalan, but it is other concession from the central state to outlying nationalism.

    You cannot compare Ireland and Cuba, Ireland was already a Nation when England made them a colony, that is not Catalunya case and for sure is not Cuban case, and answering you, right now it is late to proclaim Spanish sovereignty over Cuba, but back to XIX century, the Cuban liberation war was illegal, and for me unjustified, a bloody civil war where more Cubans fought against the revolution than with the mambises, where hundreds of thousand men died because the nationalistic ideas of the leader of both sides.

    Call me an idiot, but I cannot accept never war as an option to a mere political change.

    Allow me other hypothesis, personal this time, maybe you have a very good opinion of Catalan people because you enjoyed your time there, I think Spain is the European country where Americans are better welcomes, I mean, are you American? Europeans has a stupid view of the American people, like ancient Greeks had about the Romans that conquer them.

  • Your first paragraph is very hypothetical. Did you study Philosophy or something. A separate country needs to viable. As I said there are very small countries within Europe eg Vatican city. There are also examples of small self governing areas which in principle could become separate countries like the Native American reservations in the US or Anarchist regions in the Netherlands and Denmark. A single house couldn’t because of the practicalities of raising taxes, maintaining services and a legal system. The UN wouldn’t recognize them either.

    If the majority of Catalan people want to leave, why should they be held against their will by the Spanish people. Does democracy only apply to some issues and not others. By the way, the Spanish constitution doesn’t allow a referendum as you suggest. Only the King has the right to allow independence.

    What is your definition of a nation then? From what you say if you are part of a state you also belong to the ruling majority nation. Ok, let’s apply that hypothesis. On that basis Cuba is also part of Spain because it was once part of the Spanish empire. Ireland is part of Britain, ditto India and Zimbabwe. What about Tibet, the countries of the former Soviet Union. Are none of these allowed to be independent?

    The Spanish state does consist of a number of nations and languages – Catalunya, Euskadi, and Galicia for sure. Aragon I don’t know enough about to say. In Valencia they speak a version of Catalan. In all these cases, if they believe themselves to be a separate nation and want to leave they should be allowed to.

    Catalunya (and Euskadi) would be much more wealthy if they separated. They are the most productive areas. That is one of the reasons the Spanish government is so fiercely against giving them their rights.

  • Let me go with my hypothesis further , if you agree that any barrio has the unilateral right to separate from Catalunya, then, you must agree that a single house with a family has also the unilateral right to separate from the rest of the state, than can sound stupid, but as a logical hypothesis is valid.

    Can you imagine that a single house decide to declare their independence from Spain? Following Catalunya example they could do it and the best, this hypothetical separatist family can argue all the same arguments that Catalans nationalist argue, a different language, a different culture, whatever.

    I agree that there must be a referendum, not in Catalunya but in all Spain because that decision affects all Spain and not only to the Catalan people. If you can create unilaterally a new political organization separating a part from a whole nation, that has no end.

    Answering your appointment that Catalunya is a nation I have to say, it is not, it is not a Nation, legally they are a community of Spain, and they do has a different language, like Euskadi has, like Valencia has, like Galicia has, like Aragon has, even the small island La Gomera has a different language base on whistles recognized by th UN. Also culture is absolutely different in every single region of Spain, History and integration has also be different for each Autonomous Community. All the Autonomous Community has also regional parliaments with local parties, local parties that sometimes have votes enough to be a part of the National Parliament.

    I think nationalisms in Catalunya is a fiction created for the Catalans politics, that use this artificially elaborated feeling to extortionate the Spanish government asking for more money.

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