Why Silence the Issue of Femicides in Cuba?

By Irina Echarry

HAVANA TIMES – Cuba’s official Granma newspaper published an article on Wednesday in which it pointed its’ cannons against the independent media. That isn’t news, we already know of the Communist Party’s aversion for everything not under its control. What is new is that this time it focuses on those who write about femicides.

One would think that the duty of a press outlet is to inform. In this case I hoped that the article “Revictimized a thousand times” would comment on the most recent murders of women. These took place at the hands of their partners or ex-partners, in the provinces of Artemisa and Havana.

I actually thought that they would convene activists, artists, lawyers, journalists, concerned people, defenders of the rights of women and of every human being, to raise awareness about gender violence.

However, it turned out to be the opposite.

Making use of its old tactic of dividing, Granma judges who is doing the right thing and who is not, when it comes to making the most extreme expression of gender violence visible. In this division, it leaves out groups, people and projects who have been seriously dedicated to the subject for years.

The article creates annoyance for many reasons, but there is one that is outrageous. It suggests that violence against women in Cuba is not as bad as other countries so why the uproar about the deaths of women. The columnist says the interest in these crimes is not sincere, but the product of a campaign financed by the United States.

Why minimize the problem?

With the usual monotonous discourse, they try to minimize the problem. However, Femicides, unfortunately, are also a reality in Cuba, and they must be made public so that they can be known, studied, evaluated, and quantified.

The Granma article also alleges that the stories published on social networks or in alternative media are not useful for statistics. “Mediatization is not statistics, nor is it information,” says the author. But he doesn’t mention that Cuba, as a country, does not offer official statistics of these deaths, and thus, once again, nullifies them.

Access to social networks has made it possible for those stories to come to light. They are not just numbers; they are people’s lives. People have been encouraged to tell about these crimes. They have contributed to taking them out of the private sphere and sharing them as a problem that affects the whole of society.

It’s true that not everyone does it in the best way. But it’s also true that the social networks and the independent media are a platform to debate positions that stem from ignorance and not from a bad intention.

There is a manipulative thought that could illustrate the reasons for the article in Granma: “The forced importation of initiatives that arose in other countries in the style of the foreign campaigns Me Too and Yo si te creo (Yes I believe you) to use them in a toxic way, by way of a lynching, in individual or institutional harassment, in the destruction of people’s prestige, and promote judicial cases to turn them into shows, is the scene that some yearn for in Cuba.”

Are they afraid of something? Does the “lynching” or “destruction of the prestige” of some figures worry them more than the systematic harassment and / or mistreatment to which many women are subjected? So far, I haven’t seen any show mounted in Cuba as a result of this issue. Is there something that we don’t know about?

A quick search for the word femicide in Granma, reveals that the topic is frequent when it comes to Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Argentina, countries where the deaths of women are constant. But about Cuba, our country, there is very little.

The article in Granma leaves a bad taste

Instead of echoing the denunciations against these crimes, it stands with the accusing finger in front of those who do. Writing about femicides does not help “the enemy”, it helps Cuban women and society in general. What is the interest in wanting to veil something so visible?

If the Communist Party does not like how the issue is being handled or thinks that it has gotten out of control, then welcome, enter the ring and not be so passive. Listen to activists and do not stigmatize them.

Why not instruct the police to take victims’ complaints seriously, and to do proper follow up? They could open shelters for violated women. How about preventing the abusers from escaping unharmed or with minimal fines and then going back to the same house where the woman who reported him is.

They could also publish the statistics and the penalties that the aggressors will receive.

No one should be rejected, nor denigrated. You learn doing, not just criticizing, and accusing without grounds. The more actions headed in the same direction, the closer we will be to minimizing the problem. That should be the goal; prevent femicides from continuing to occur.

2 thoughts on “Why Silence the Issue of Femicides in Cuba?

  • Talk of femicide in Cuba, leads inevitably to examination of the macho image so personified by Fidel Castro – and in his case pursued with physical vigour. Nothing must be permitted to sully the image of the deceased dictator – el Comandante. Hence the harsh reality of the problem, must be hidden behind the veil of deceit.

  • The absence of a serious effort to realize gender equality and the absence of any discussion about patriarchy in Cuban society is clearly linked to this unwillingness to address violence against women. The Cuban Revolution has been seriously flawed with respect to gender issues since its inception and should be called out for this.

    Bruce R. Allen

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