A letter from a friend in Cuba
By Jorge Olivera
HAVANA, February 27
Given the notable worsening of repression in Cuba against everyone who exercises rights consigned by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I’ve decided to write to you asking, today more than ever, your solidarity and support.
Actions undertaken by the government in the last few months have reached such levels that they could be considered state terrorism.
Gangs encouraged by the political police have carried out beatings and raids, among other forms of attack no less alarming.
The worst of this repressive spiral is the impunity of the events. Real and potential victims find themselves completely abandoned since there is no institution in the country to handle their complaints.
The Communist Party has monopolized for 47 years concepts like homeland, country and state, without leaving any civic space for those who differ with the current ideology.
The terror has reached a dimension that keeps the Cuban family permanently frightened. The defenselessness and the cruelty of the repressors have taken root in the double moral and the silence of the majority who fear going to jail or receiving the stigma of being a counterrevolutionary and immediately being marginalized and suffering the inherent punishment of a system that tramples on one without anyone caring.
I am a witness of the abuse and cruelty. I was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment in April of 2003 for practicing journalism without the supervision of official censors. Sick, they placed me in a barely lit cell infested with insects. I had to drink contaminated water and the food was regularly served in a state of putrefaction.
On December 6, 2004, after 20 months and 18 days of the cruelest treatment, the penal authorities conditionally freed me for reasons of health.
Now they plan to return me to jail. They will not allow me or my family to go into exile. Immigration officials deny us an exit visa, a process that reflects on the country in which we live.
To psychologically destabilize me and increase my colon problems, court officials of the municipality where I live have communicated to me new rules to humiliate and blackmail me.
Since February 21, I have been prohibited to go outside the limits of Havana without court authorization, nor to participate in any celebrations or public events, and they want to put me in a job chosen by the court, which will supervise my conduct along with members of the Communist Party, unions and others from the center where I’ll be assigned.
If I fail to do this, they threaten to return me to prison. Their intentions are arbitrary and tortuous, for which reason I call your attention about what might happen to me in the future.
I dearly plead for you to use your good offices in favor of those in Cuba who work for reconciliation and the peaceful transition to democracy and pluralism.
Photo: Mattias Wiggberg