By Pedro Campos
HAVANA TIMES — Friends from the neighborhood have informed me that individuals who identified themselves as State Security agents visited the building where I live, asked about me and said I belonged to a “human rights organization.”
Taking note of this incident, comrades from the democratic Left asked me to make a public statement about it, owing to the complicated moment the country is going through and the actions the Left is undertaking to become united and confront the deformation of Cuba’s revolutionary process.
Since the 80s, whenever State Security wants to create problems for people, they have been using the figure of the “human rights activist.” The government has managed to make this “accusation” synonymous with being “scum”, “counterrevolutionary” and an “enemy agent” in the popular imaginary, something which paves the way for other individual or collective actions against those thus “identified.”
This tactic is aimed at discrediting me and creating the conditions for new hostile actions against me, in the hopes of isolating me from my family and neighborhood, where I enjoy the respect and affection of many neighbors, including some Party members. It was also conceived so I would be informed about it, with the evident aim of intimidating me.
This is far from new. I have been subjected to systematic harassment for many years. In the comments to the articles I’ve been publishing since 2006 in the website Kaosenlared, one can find a whole slew of remarks that seek to discredit me and personal threats of every sort, evidently leveled by the counterintelligence apparatus of Cuba’s State Security network (as they use personal information that very few people have access to).
When the so-called “Email Wars” broke out, then Minister of Culture Abel Prieto expressly forbade my participation in the debates surrounding the inaptly-called “Gray Five Years,” which involved the participation of hundreds of Cuban intellectuals at Havana’s Casa de las Americas and, before everyone present, made statements aimed at discrediting me.
Vice-Minister for Culture Fernando Rojas tried to keep me from participating in a panel debate at a gathering sponsored by the Hermanos Saiz Association in 2008, telling the organizers I should not speak there because my political stances were addictive, like cocaine.
A little over two years ago, State Security agents told friends at the Observatorio Critico (OC) collective that I was a member of the “opposition”, with whom they should have no contact. Of course, that smear campaign didn’t achieve its aims, as the comrades at OC are aware of the tactics used by State Security and know perfectly well who I am and what my political positions are.
On two occasions, in 2008 and 2009, State Security agents knocked at my door in the early morning of May 1st to ask me not to rally with signs we had put together with anarchists and social democrats.
On different occasions, I have also received “friendly” visits from State Security officials, who have urged me not to publish my articles on alternative networks. I have replied that, as long as they do not publish my articles in Cuba’s official press, I will allow them to be published in any international, alternative media. Only the journal Temas published a summary of an essay about socialism I wrote, last year, while I was abroad.
During the last “cordial” home visit by State Security, in December of last year, I was warned that, were I to continue publishing my articles in these media, specifically 14ymedio, I would be treated as a “counterrevolutionary.”
I want to point out that I began publishing my articles on the Internet after Fidel Castro himself said, in 2005, that the revolution could only be destroyed by revolutionaries, calling on citizens to combat corruption and bureaucratic mindsets. That is when I approached the Party’s Central Committee, to see if they were interested in publishing my writings regarding this in Cuba’s official press – and my offer was turned down.
It is clear now, judging from the form and content of this recent action, that they have stepped up the smear campaign, which had been interrupted owing to the fact I was in Ecuador for more than a year. Perhaps they thought I wouldn’t be coming back.
It’s clear that my presence in Cuba, my writings and my political activities are not to the liking of the leadership, annoyed that these are enjoying growing prestige in Cuba and abroad.
Since they cannot accuse me of treason, of working for the “enemy” or carrying out “illegal business operations” or anything of the sort, they are now looking for another way to try and neutralize me, to silence my political and economic analyses of Cuban reality, to put me out of circulation somehow – preferably through the actions of some unwitting citizen, the kind that take part in fanatical public reprisals, like the one who, to the shame of all revolutionaries around the world, yelled “down with human rights!” in front of the cameras.
Faced with this campaign of harassment in my neighborhood, where I was also recently informed that the rumor I had been murdered had been spread, I publicly condemn these incidents and hold the pertinent authorities responsible of “any new slanderous statement, smear campaign, accident, sudden illness or act of public aggression” that could affect my life, political activities or physical or intellectual faculties, with a view to try and neutralize me and hinder my work for a participative and democratic form of socialism.
If the Cuban government acts against me in an irresponsible fashion owing to my socialist convictions, and if it continues to violate my civil rights and personal integrity, I hold it responsible before all revolutionaries, socialists and democrats around the world and accuse it of persecuting the people who have defended this revolution with their very lives.
If they’ve gone this far with those of us who have been true to our revolutionary oaths and professional ethics (those of us who merely disagree with the methods and actions of the government-Party-State), what can we expect them to do with others? Do the people who order and execute these actions not realize that they are giving credence to all of the accusations leveled against them and contributing to the division of the Left?
Don’t expect me to take a single step back. My work for a democratic and socialist society will not be stopped in any way. Stop the repression and the use of violence against dissenting thought. Accept peaceful exchange, not only with the United States, and respect all of the rights of all Cubans – or do not expect to be absolved by history.