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.