Ley Mordaza – Gag Law
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    Meñique Went out to Travel / Luis Felipe Rojas

    Meñique Went out to Travel / Luis Felipe Rojas

    Translating Cuba

    "Meñique Went out to Travel" — that's the name of a famous children's

    song. Those same travels were awarded to me by the combined forces of

    State Security (G-2) and the National Revolutionary Police (PNR) on

    April 28th. At 7:39 AM, Lieutenant Yasmani Suarez Ramirez showed up at

    my house along with FOUR other police agents to detain me. I was taken

    to the local police unit and, half an hour later, G2 Major Alberto

    Aberetis and Lieutenant Ignacio Wilson Mulet transferred me to the city

    of Holguin where I was interrogated in the G2 Operations Unit. The

    questions and offenses were the task of Major Jesus Jimenez Ballagas,

    who has been in charge of such an undesirable job for 6 years now. It

    was yet another interrogation, and yet another threat.

    They once again mentioned Law 88 ("The Gag Law"), they mentioned the 25

    year sentence they once gave to Prospero Gainza Aguero during the Black

    Spring of 2003 and what it means at this moment. Although we know very

    well what they are capable of, it's always good to hear from the mouths

    of those who sustain the Castro machinery that they do not only lash out

    against the 75 of the Black Spring, as they did on that occasion, but

    against any others who need to be attacked. They'll put them all in prison.

    Considering that they are phrases which the Granma newspaper does not

    publish, then it's not bad that we make them public. That's the will

    power for change which the ingenious say that the government of

    General-President RC practices. Amid those threats against human rights

    defenders is that they outline the excellent relationship between the

    current government, the Catholic hierarchy, and other elites which prowl

    about the corpse. There is no doubt that we are the non-conformists,

    those who, every day, disrupt that happy union which has been

    established for 52 years.

    The Official Letter of Warning handed to me was based on accusations

    against me for distributing false news about national and local events,

    for sending out information about prisons in Guantanamo, Santiago de

    Cuba, and Holguin, for participating in interviews made to me via phone

    from the other shores, for writing about the subject of the

    "re-structuring of the labor force" (a term which the government uses to

    describe layoffs).

    I made my arguments clear to Major Ballagas, which were pretty much the

    following: Every citizen has the right to give their opinion about any

    subject which they desire, it is the leftist dictatorship of the Castro

    brothers which has amputated all information channels upon establishing

    a single press with sealed lips. Not even if they liberate all Cuban

    political prisoners will I stop informing about the Cuban prisons. In

    fact, more than 90% of my journalistic reports have to do with prisons

    and are stories of beatings, inhumane treatment, poor management of

    prisoner-functionary relations, and other violations committed by the

    Interior Order Functionaries, along with the re-educators and the Head

    of the Penitentiary Establishment Department who also go against the

    common prisoners. My denouncements are based on lack of medical

    attention in the prisons, the lack of drinkable water, the approval of

    the functionaries to allow prisons to become real concentration camps,

    and so on, highlighting many cases of self-harm by prisoners.

    This time, I did sign the Letter of Warning because, in it, it says what

    I expressed: that I will not stop informing about the Cuba I am

    interested in. I signed the letter because it says that, although I do

    not receive money for what I write, there are organizations and Cubans

    in "the exiles" that collaborate with me, making it possible for me to

    upload my articles on www.cruzarlasalambradas.com, and even when I give

    my reports to Radio Marti and/or Radio Republica, I do not receive pay

    for it. And the moral obligation to prepare myself each day to at least

    be minimally at the level of the studious commentators and renowned

    academics who honor me, and offer me a space which my own country

    refuses me as a simple citizen.

    The reports which I provide every semester to the Partial Report of the

    Human Rights Secretariat of the Eastern Democratic Alliance are directly

    proven and confirmed by me, and I am responsible for them, both for the

    form in which I obtain the information and by the primary sources in

    which I base myself on to make them public. Although it may sound like a

    declaration of principles, it is more about being the voice for my

    brothers out on the street and in the prisons who risk themselves on a

    daily basis so that the world and Cuba know just how much individual and

    basic rights are being violated, and with how much impunity.

    The same Letter of Warning constitutes a flagrant violation of citizen

    rights, so much so that no one is obliged to support it with their mouth

    closed, their hands tied back, and the fear eating them up inside.

    On Tuesday, April 24th, I provided a lengthy interview to Amnesty

    International, in which I describe the vicissitudes of being an

    independent communicator, the violation of the phone lines which make

    ETECSA and the G2 the owners of our phones, along with the record of my

    latest detentions and the attacks which I have suffered at the hands of

    the political police during the past few months. And perhaps that was

    the real motivation behind this latest arrest, I dare to say. Even so,

    on Wednesday May 2nd, the interview with Amnesty will go public. There,

    you'll be able to read more of what I said in the Pedernales Unit.

    Translated by Raul G.

    30 April 2012


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