Los campos de concentración de Castro
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Liberties in Cuba?

Liberties in Cuba? / Yoaxis Marcheco Suárez

Translating Cuba, Translator: Maria Montoto, Yoaxis Marcheco Suárez

By: Yoaxis Marcheco Suárez

I don't know what is happening with some people and institutions in the

world, I think that they suffer from some sort of lethargy that doesn't

allow them to perceive Cuban reality, or they are simply content with

what the antidemocratic government of the country informs and draws for

them. The Cuban heartland is something else, very distant from the

reports and statistics that the un-government offers to international

opinion. The mere fact of seeing the nation submerged in bankruptcy and

disequilibrium caused by more than 50 years under the same system, with

leaders whose extreme self-sufficiency has led them to believe that they

are immortal gods, almighty and non-substitutable, is already sufficient

for the free world to understand that on the tiny Antilles island,

democracy and freedom went out to the countryside one day and apparently

cannot find their way back home.

I also can't seem to explain the reason why the Cuban nation doesn't

take over the reins and liberate itself once and for all from everything

that overwhelms it. We can clearly see, one only needs to have a bit of

good vision, that the country will succumb, that its inhabitants are

discontent with daily living, although, lamentably, the answer to this

unhappiness is the high number of emigrants, suicides, alcoholics,

delinquency, the low birth rate (which has resulted in an aging

population), alienation and silence.

To speak of freedom in Cuba is almost painful, the most recurrent

monosyllable is "No". No freedom of expression. No freedom of the press.

No freedom of political or party affiliation (in a one-party system). No

freedom of ideas. No freedom of information. No freedom of meetings or

membership. And there is a so-called "religious freedom" where the

separation of Church and state only applies to the Church, because the

state is constantly exerting its meddling dominion over the various

denominations, associations, etc.: manipulating the ecclesiastic

leadership, forever threatening, blackmailing, with airs of superiority.

I truly do not know what they call separation of Church and state, when

the former is supervised in every aspect by the latter: every step that

is taken, every decision that is made.

The questions posed by Benedict XVI on his recent visit to the country

continue to be unanswered. When will properties that were confiscated

from the Churches in the early years of the Revolution be returned in

their entirety? When will it be possible to build new church-affiliated

educational institutions so that present and future generations of the

faithful may be educated, not under the doctrines of Marxist-Leninism,

but under the teachings of the Bible? When will religious institutions

be allowed to have their own radio and television time-slots, have their

periodical publications, presses, editorial houses and bookstores? Could

it be that denying all this to the Church is not, in some good measure,

the same as wounding its freedom?

Furthermore, it is important to point out that all of the elements that

deny believers in Cuba of their genuine freedom should, if restored, be

for everyone without distinction including, as Percy Francisco Alvarado

Godoy would say in his post: "Another lie of Radio Marti…" to the "tiny

and irrelevant congregations delegated to the Western Baptist

Convention, as well as the Apostolic Movement," the latter not legalized

by the censoring filter of the Central Committee Register of Associations.

The great fallacy is (and, believe me, this is already more than "a

quagmire of lies") in stating that in Cuba its un-government (and I cite

the aforementioned author): "has never tortured or persecuted religious

pastors for their beliefs, independent of the size of their

denominations, their isolation, or lack of a support group on a national

or international level." I believe the term "never" is too broad.

Although, of course, the author to whom I am referring is following the

steps of his maximum guide, the now historical leader of the Cuban

Revolution, Fidel Castro, who had the shamelessness to declare in the

interview "Fidel and Religion," that in Cuba no place of worship had

ever been shut down.

In the not too distant past –just barely the decade of the '60s of the

past century)– the dictators (by then staunch enemies of religion)

created the UMAP* concentration camps, where hundreds of pastors and

Church leaders were sent. Many places of worship were literally shut

down, among them the Baptist Church Ebenezer of Taguayabón, of which I

am a member.

The faithful were not worthy to attend the universities of the country,

many would lose their jobs if they decided to remain steadfast to their

faith. Places of worship were emptied giving way to the era of Communist

ideology, with its atheist and materialistic nature, that in Fidel

Castro's version takes on the appearance of exterminator of the

spirituality of a believing people, by their nature.

The current, much-trumpeted Cuban Constitution –all the while

manipulated by the owners of everything within the island– claims in its

article 8, to acknowledge and respect freedom of conscience and

religion. They should, if they were honest, include a clause in this

article: only if whoever professes these is a Revolutionary, practices

"Fidelism" and has learned to abide by whatever is mandated to them on

behalf of governmental entities.

The clause is implied, even when the article goes on to state that

religious institutions are separate from the state. Article 55 states:

that the state recognizes, respects and guarantees freedom of conscience

and religion. It would be repetitive to explain this great lie: a

country where whoever thinks differently –in ideology and politics– is

incarcerated, arbitrarily detained, threatened, repudiated and always

under the same defamatory pretext: that they are either paid by the

empire or are mercenaries. In the atrocious egocentrism of the Castros

and their "revolutionary" followers, differing minds do not fit. They

fear plurality, like the fear that the tyrants have of those of true

faith and firm convictions.

In any case and without understanding what happens to those who proclaim

themselves free in the world, and with the Cuban nation so lacking its

most basic rights, I carry on here within this stifled Cuba and in this

"tiny and irrelevant Baptist Convention of Western Cuba", for my fill of

beautiful traditions and a deep history of more than one hundred years,

with champions of the faith like Alberto J. Diaz, who was very close to

José Martí and who collaborated in the pro-independence struggles

against the Spanish colony; Luis Manuel Gonzalez Peña, who in the

darkest hours of the faithful in Cuba told a civil servant, who

predicted the end of the Churches in the country, that there would be

Churches to last a while, and others. Believing in a Jesus, who does not

commune with the powerful egocentrics of this world but with those below

them –with "the immense minorities"– and who in the end was followed by

many, to be abandoned later by the greater part of them, including His

disciples, and who was also crucified by many and accepted by few.

*Unidades Militarias de Ayuda a la Producción: Military Units for

Assistance to Production

Translated by: Maria Montoto

July 6 2012


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