“My Son, Fernando, Isn’t a Terrorist, and You Know That.”

Artist’s mother writes a letter to Cuba’s vice-minister of Culture Fernando Rojas.

Ines Casal and her son Julio.

HAVANA TIMES – Artist Julio Llopiz Casal’s mother has written an open letter to Cuba’s vice-minister of Culture, Fernando Rojas. She says that her son “isn’t a terrorist”, and that he “isn’t being manipulated, directed or paid by any foreign government.” This runs contrary to a statement issued by the Ministry to defame the thirty protesters, who sat down and entered a dialogue with the Ministry of Culture on November 27th, wanting to create a multifaceted agenda in upcoming meetings.

Llopiz took part in a spontaneous protest outside the Ministry of Culture. The protest was held in response to State Security’s attack on the San Isidro Movement’s base, the night before. Many of the protesters present – mainly Cuban artists and intellectuals – demanded freedom of expression and creation without being harassed. 

The following is the letter, in full, that Ines Casal wrote on the Telegra.ph platform, for public reading.

Letter to Fernando Rojas

Fernando: if you think it’s disrespectful of me to write a letter to you in this way, forgive me. I assure you that I’m only writing here because I have no other means to reach you. Who knows if you’ll even read this, but “the fact that my message might never be received, doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth sending.” 

I’m also sorry for addressing you informally, but this “letter” is addressed to the human being I met years ago (although you might not remember me), and not to the public official you are today. It’s really hard for me to address you formally, when I met you as Fernandito, like your parents used to call you. I trust that you won’t have a problem with this either. 

I know the stock you come from. Your parents were my workmates, my superiors and my friends at Havana University, for a very long time. Your father, Fernando Rojas, the Dean of Havana University for many years, was an upstanding and honest man, who dedicated his entire life to his country and its Revolution, who raised with sweet Fefa, four children to do what is right and honest, above all else. Even if there were some horrible people (there always are) who might have criticized them and even accused them of some “human shortcomings”, but never for being corrupt or opportunistic. 

But just like I know your family very well, you might have forgotten where it is you come from and who my son Julio Cesar Llopoz Casal is.

My son also has upstanding, honest parents, who devoted all of their strength, energy, knowledge and revolutionary dreams to Havana University and their country. They also raised their two children to stand by the truth and to be decent human beings, which is something people are when they don’t hide what’s on their minds. 

I know what it’s like to have the burden of a position or party on your shoulders. I was a Communist Party member for almost 30 years. And a real one at that, because I believed in the Revolution, with all my heart. Although, I’ve felt my purest dreams have been betrayed, for some time now. However, no political position, no Party guideline made me lie or betray my conscience.

Luckily, I was always surrounded by colleagues with whom we could talk about the things we didn’t understand. When I felt betrayed by the Revolution (because I didn’t betray it), I simply stopped believing in it. 

My son, Fernando, isn’t a terrorist, and you know that.

My son, Fernando, isn’t looking to destabilize the system, much less incite a popular uprising, and you know that.

My son, Fernando, isn’t being manipulated, directed or paid by any foreign government, any organization, any media outlet, and you know that.

My son, Fernando, isn’t a criminal, he is a Cuban artist who also works for Cuba, and you know that.

My son, Fernando, speaks his mind anywhere, at any time, and you know that.

My son, Fernando, is a good person, and you know that.

This is why I’m asking you, from the bottom of my heart, to stop the defamatory and cowardly campaign unleashed by official media platforms against peaceful people who only want to be heard. I’m asking you now as the official you are. This media circus could have unimaginable and terrible consequences.

Fernando, you also know that.

With all of my respect and regards, Ines Casal Enriquez.

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times.