Girl, you better be careful!

Dariela Aquique

CDR Paranoia

HAVANA TIMES, Nov. 29 – When I commented to some friends that I was going to get involved in writing for Havana Times, the immediate response was “Girl, you better be careful!”

Yeah, they’re going to be surprised.

What has happened is that fear has been instilled in Cubans to such an extent that there exists an almost pathological fear in people of free expression.

To present ideas, to speak out, to express an opinion, these are seen as restricted exclusively to the domain of so-called feedback meetings with community delegates or the many other meetings we’re required to attend.

If in any sprawling bus line you happen to strike up a conversation with anyone, and — inevitably — the issues that come up are the economy, declining values, violence, or corruption, there will always be someone who, without being invited, will feel they have the right to intervene with worn-out phrases like, “Listen comrade, be careful with what you’re saying.”  Or, when they’re more fundamentalist, they’ll call you a gusana (a counter-revolutionary maggot) or remind you that you earned your degree “thanks to the Revolution”!

It’s logical to think that these people have been fully manipulated for more than half a century or that, in some cases, they’re committed to the system because of the few material benefits they receive, or that ultimately (and most probably) they suffer from clinical paranoia.

It is precisely that: paranoia. But is it also reflected in fear of being caught on camera, of being identified and singled out by the grand inquisitor?

One has to realize that informants, squealers, rats — however you want to call them — they’re everywhere, and you don’t know who they are.  They listen to what you say, they report on how you think, they follow you, they monitor your contacts and they’ll always give you a bad references on everything from a job to the right to have a telephone or a TV.

So writing for a website that is of no interest to nor an initiative of the government, and where people discuss freedom, is something to be careful about!

My friends are a bit paranoiac and try to protect me. Me, on the other hand, with infinite pleasure I express my ideas (those of the majority), and I’m convinced that after these lines I’ll have to start saving in hard currency, because my neighborhood Committee for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) will never put me on the list of those comrades in line to buy a discounted TV.

Dariela Aquique

Dariela Aquique: I remember my years as a high school student, especially that teacher who would interrupt the reading of works and who with surprising histrionics spoke of the real possibilities of knowing more about the truth of a country through its writers than through historical chronicles. From there came my passion for writing and literature. I had excellent teachers (sure, those were not the days of the Fast-track Teachers) and extemporization and the non-mastery of subjects was not tolerated. With humble pretenses, I want to contribute to revealing the truth about my country, where reality always overcomes fiction, but where a novel style shrouds its existence.

4 thoughts on “Girl, you better be careful!

  • Dariela,
    So, you take the bull by the horns and thrust back. You are not “careful” girl, but you are gutsy and speak as a revolutionary. Unit revolutionaries, and build the socialist world so many really want!
    Comradely y con abrazos,

  • Dariela,
    You take the bull my his/her horns and thrust back. Good girl then, you aren´t “careful” but tenacious, gusty person who seeks influence. That is revolutionary!
    Abrazos, Ron

  • Dariela

    Those fears are very well founded. The Cuban regime does discourage free expression. I place an example of the things they do in a recent post by Fernando Rasgberg here at Havana Times.
    The intimidation goes from having an intimidatory meeting with the security police, harassment of your friends and family to loosing your employment.

    I wonder why do they do not want cuban citizens expressing themselves?
    What are they afraid of? That we all discover they are ruling Cuba without the consent of the majority of the Cuban people?
    That is something we already know!

  • Not to excuse the cuban regime — but the situation in the “Free World” is in some ways even worse: in that violence, state or otherwise, implied or otherwise, is not far behind pressure to conform to the Official (capitalist) Party line here. And AFAIC the percentage of the population in North America which is groomed by the police and others to spy on everyone else is at least equal to that of Cuba, and the ‘formerly actually-existing socialist states’, if not exceeding it. All that is different is the relative amount of cash available to purchase things. And even that, too, is quickly changing for the worse now.

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