By Haroldo Dilla Alfonso
HAVANA TIMES — Fernando Ravsberg escapes labels, which always attracts attention; however, it isn’t exactly a virtue. For example, in his views on Cuban society, he has picked on the evident signs of unrest without ever focusing on the opposition’s noisy protests, or how they are repressed.
At times, he’s been extremely condescending with the Cuban government’s most cruel and unusual behavior. However, he’s also managed to be a cutting critic at certain times.
It’s because of the latter that a leader of the Cuban Journalists Association (UPEC) has attacked him and threatened to kick him out of the country given his foreign legal status, for defending a young journalist from Holguin who had been fired from his job at a local newspaper.
In spite of us having more differences than similarities, and I have to admit that he isn’t the kind of person I would enjoy having a cup of coffee with, I believe that Ravsberg deserves every kind of support – from all of us – in this situation.
Firstly, because what we’re witnessing is repression, and the person being attacked always deserves our solidarity. And he’s being attacked by the worst people in Cuban politics. One of Ramiro Valdes’ employees, named Iroel Sanchez, has attacked him and passed on his blog so that a morally despicable monster -Dario Machado- can attack him mercilessly.
And when these creatures do this, it’s because somebody else has given them the order to do so, as it would be very naive to think that they have any kind of political initiative. They do what they are told, or at least what they heard when they were near the big boss.
I don’t think they heard it from this other Castro zoo animal called Aixa Hervia and who acts as the UPEC vice president. UPEC is an organization which has been completely subordinated to the Communist Party’s ideological mechanisms, and has always been subordinated to the counterintelligence departments of the armed forces.
You don’t mess around with the UPEC. You can play about with the UNEAC (the Artists and Writers Association), as intellectuals are almost always likely to change their public opinion for small privileges, and repressing them is an expensive feat. However, a journalist with the tiniest amount of freedom is extremely dangerous, and it’s no so hard to repress them. That’s why I guess that Ms. Hevia also heard somewhere that Ravsberg was upsetting people.
What the attack against Ravsberg shows is that the system is so weak, so fragile ideologically-speaking – especially after relations were established with the US and the crisis of our always grave economy – that it turns in on itself.
It ends up biting and devouring those people who it could learn to live with, and even take advantage of them so as to give themselves an air of tolerance. Something which Ravsberg – just like the publications OnCuba, Progreso Semanal, Temas, la Joven Cuba and every other specter of permitted criticism – would effectively give them and it wouldn’t cost them hardly anything.
As if this wasn’t reason enough, there’s another one: Ms. Hevia is giving a helping hand to a kind of backward, shameless, simply unacceptable argument: xenophobia. She’s threatening the Uruguayan journalist with deportation – “appear on digital platforms,” she writes, “calling for the deportation of somebody who is constantly changing his colors like a chameleon” – and that is completely out of line with the democratic future that we want for our country.
The treat from UPEC puts the Cuban government in a morally reprehensible position, on the same level as the worst of intenational rightwingers.
Let me repeat: we don’t have a lot to thank Ravsberg for. The opposition who have been locked up and repressed, or emigres who have been stripped of their rights, or even the boldest permitted critics who imagine some kind of republic and multi-party state out loud, don’t have a lot to do with Ravsberg. However in spite of this, and probably because of this, we have to raise our voices to denounce the injustices that are being carried out against another. Sectarianism is destroying us, and Castroism knows this and uses it to its advantage.
We have to support Ravsberg, so as to prevent what Niemoller once warned, that when they take me away, there was no one left to speak out for me.