Cubacel, In Bed With The Censorship

Dark night, a blackout in the vicinity of the Buena Vista neighborhood in Playa. The dilapidated shared taxi I’m taking stalls, and with an exhausted snort refuses to start again. A passenger and the driver are trying to fix it, while on both sides of the street we see people are sitting outside their houses, resigned to the power outage. I look in my wallet for my mobile, wanting to tell my family I’m delayed so they won’t worry about me. It’s an ugly picture: we are in the midst of the darkness, in an area where crime isn’t child’s play, and to top it off my cellphone doesn’t work. Every time I try to dial a number I get the message, “Call Failed.” Finally, the car is purring again and we manage to advance, but the telephone service is not restored to the useless gadget and I feel like throwing it out the window. When I get home I discover that Reinaldo can’t call from his, either, and that my blogger friends can’t even receive text messages.

Our only mobile phone company cut the service for all of Friday night and part of Saturday, canceling for more than 24 hours a service for which we paid in convertible currency. With its announcements of “instant communication,” Cubacel comports itself as if it is an accomplice to the ideologically motivated censorship; supporting the reprimand from the political police ,it puts an error message on our screens. It uses its monopoly power to punish those clients who deviate from the official line of thought. Part of its business capital, provided by foreign investors, is used to support the infrastructure of a momentary or prolonged boycott of certain cell phone numbers. A contradictory role for a company that should connect us to the world, not leave us hanging when we need it most.

It is not the first time this has happened. Every so often someone flips a switch and leaves us in silence. Curiously, it happens when there is important news to report and urgent information to bring to light. The forced cancellation of the concert by the group Porno Para Ricardo may have been the trigger for the phone company to violate his own maxim of keeping us, “in touch with the world.” The possible cremation of the body of Orlando Zapata Tamayo and everything that is happening around that event could be another reason to turn off our voices. What is certain is that on Friday night — in the midst of the darkness and worry — Cubacel failed me again, showing me the military uniform that hides beneath its false image as a corporate entity.

23 thoughts on “Cubacel, In Bed With The Censorship

  1. @#21
    While your preocupation is well noted & where does it come from?
    What is the precise object of your comment?
    Please let me know …

  2. Rodrigo,

    Sabemos que todo puede pasar con los Facistas de Los Castros, incluyendo lo del Twitter. Los trucos no pueden detener a Yoani ni al pueblo cubano! Nosotros incluidos!

  3. Y todos aceptan calmadamente un aparente error técnico en el twitter de la bloggera:

    “Off to Saint George tomorrow for a weekend of golf with the wifey.”

    Para que piensen un poquito:

    *Si te hackean tu cuenta, es muy poco probable que la recuperes en tan poco tiempo.
    *La unica otra forma de que alguien twitee con tu cuenta es que la otra persona tenga tus claves.
    *El software usado para enviar ese twit,, se usa para manejar VARIAS redes sociales al mismo tiempo.
    *Saint George está en Utah, Estados Unidos.

    No les hace curiosidad quien estará monitoreando (con su anuencia obviamente) a la bloggerita?

  4. Perhaps the absence of the resident bully is due to his/her’s legal issues of accountability …


    MIAMI HERALD: Cubans stage rallies, test new openness-In separate actions, ordinary citizens in Cuba are increasingly protesting everything from high taxes to poor bus services. Activists say civil unrest could result.-BY FRANCES ROBLES

    The streets of Bayamo, Cuba, are blocked by horse-drawn carriages, whose drivers for two days have protested a fivefold increase in taxes.
    Monday, hundreds of students in Santa Clara erupted in violence when the Barcelona-Real Madrid soccer match they had paid three pesos to watch at the Camilo Cienfuegos Theater was replaced by a documentary.

    And in the past month, bicycle taxi drivers in Las Tunas and truckers in Granma have refused to work until their various demands are met, say activists.

    The protests mark a significant departure for Cuba, where rallies are rare and repressed. As the country’s economic crisis worsens, a new trend appears to be bubbling: Ordinary citizens are daring to speak out against the government.

    Experts say that could become a critical threat to the Raúl Castro regime, which fears spontaneous protest far more than organized activism. While few Cubans are interested in politics, issues over transportation and food could serve as a lightning rod for a fed-up populace eager for change, experts say.

    “These are regular people, real people,” Yoandri Montoya, a dissident youth movement leader in eastern Cuba said Wednesday from his cellphone while “hundreds” of horse-drawn carriages abandoned their passengers. “People are taking to the streets because they are waking up to the new reality.”

    He said the protest began 6 a.m. Wednesday because drivers were furious that their monthly license fee rose from 120 pesos — $5 — to 571, or roughly $24.

    The taxes are part of a vast overhaul of the Cuban economy, which includes plans to lay off some 500,000 workers in the coming months.

    But when horse-drawn carriage drivers were forced to double fares to cover the increased tax, passengers complained, so the drivers stopped working, Montoya said.

    “Everybody is in the street,” he said. “This is just the beginning.”

    Weeks earlier, truckers who routinely transport people on the back of their flat-beds also went on strike to protest high gas prices they must pay with Cuba’s dollar-based currency.

    Two weeks ago, about 35 bicycle taxi drivers in Puerto Padre stopped working, because they were not allowed to pick up passengers in areas where tourists walk, said former dissident Magdelivia Hidalgo.

    On Tuesday, dissidents in at least six cities across the country held a “pots and pans” protest.

    The turn in strategy toward day-to-day issues is considered critical because the Cuban government in the past months released dozens of political prisoners, taking the wind out of the sails of one of the leading dissident groups, the Ladies in White. With their husbands freed, many of the “Ladies” now live in Spain.

    Hidalgo, now a reporter for U.S.-funded Radio Martí, founded a women’s group in Cuba that stages protests at cafeterias: the women eat and refuse to pay in the dollar-based currency known as “cucs.”

    “People are daring to speak out in ways I have never seen before,” said Hidalgo, who left Cuba in 2000. “When I called Cuba in the past, the person who answered the phone would whisper and say, `please hold.’ Now they say, `Oh God, you wouldn’t believe how bad things are!’ — knowing full well that if a call is coming in from Radio Martí, someone from the Cuban government is listening in.”


    While the Cuban government routinely stops dissident protests in their tracks, it has largely caved in to the demands of the civil rights protests, activists said. After the women’s group protests, the government has signaled that it will eliminate dual currency. Already, construction and agricultural supplies stores began accepting national pesos, a major concession.

    When a video of students at the Superior Institute of the Arts protesting lousy food went public last year, the government quietly went in and improved the menu, said former political prisoner Manuel Vazquez Portal.


    On Wednesday, the Cuban government kicked off a public debate over its historic plans to loosen rules over private business. The debates, similar to public gripe sessions that took place shortly after Castro took over the presidency in 2008, will be held from December until February.

    The state-controlled newspaper Granma said Cubans will be encouraged to voice their opinions and disagreements on the proposed changes through party organizations, union meetings and workplace sessions.

    “At stake is the future of the Cuban nation,” Granma said.

    But the government has only fueled discontent with layoffs, high taxes and closing workplace cafeterias, Vazquez Portal said.

    “One of these days, you’re going to have 50 people from some workplace show up at a pizzeria at the same time as 50 workers from another place on a day that there is no pizza,” Vazquez Portal said. “That’s when you’re going to have a big social explosion.”

    The economic crisis of the early 1990s led to a massive protest on Havana’s seaside boulevard, dubbed the “maleconazo.” Fidel Castro responded by letting anyone who wanted out to leave, unleashing the rafter crisis of 1994.

    But Cubans, Vazquez Portal said, know that the economic situation in South Florida is as bad as Cuba’s, so people are resigned to fixing their problems at home.

    “Now what you see is that people would rather take the risk of facing off against the government over facing off against the sharks and the sea,” he said.

    Social movements that topple regimes often begin when people suddenly feel orphaned by a paternalistic government, said Bronislaw Misztal, chair of the sociology department at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

    For Cuba’s scattered protests to gain momentum, a large group such as teachers, young people or the unemployed need to join in, followed by a group formerly loyal to the government, he said.

    “If it reaches a critical mass, then it may be a process that’s very difficult for the authorities to stop,” said Misztal, who is from Poland and has studied Cuba. “The question is: What will make the Cubans tick? It may be something that surprises us, and then it will be like fire in a bush.”


  7. Dumbir the resident half-whit, communist-troglidyte (redundancy) emerges from his cave to a make a rare appearance, critiquing Yoani and others on pragmatism and a lack of intelligence … doesn’t that take the cake. Where have you been you moron? Have you and your marxist comrades been too busy didling each other for you to grace us with your presence? Don’t be a stranger you cretine, every one of your posts is an example what you and your band of degenerate castro lovers is all about.

  8. So now it is that “pragmatic” capitalism that is screwing you around, huh?

    And you wanted it yourself. Never satisfied.

    What’s next? Change of course and look towards “pragmatic” feudalism?

    Why not? Team “Yoani” have no criteria anyway. Just a number of empty heads and plenty of spare time to think with it about the things that do not exist.

    “pragmatic” capitalism…

    Here is my bet that the team “Yoani” will NEVER admit their error in judgement.

    Which would only confirm their intellectual disqualification for commenting on social, economic and political issues which are obviously waaaaaaaaaaay out of their modest intellectual reach (non-existent reach).


    SANTA CLARA, Cuba, 2 de diciembre,
    Cubanet spoke this morning with the opponent Guillermo Fariñas from his home in this city

    Fariñas said that in the morning Cuban immigration authorities gave him the passport that was required with a view to his possible trip to Strasbourg to receive the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize, the 15th of December.

    Farina expects to obtain a visa at the Embassy of France before the end of this week and get the call White Card, indispensable for exit permit Cubans to travel abroad. Typically, the procedure for obtaining an exit permit takes about 7 days. It is still unknown whether the Cuban authorities grant them permission to travel to Farina.

    The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, named after Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov, was established in December 1988 by the European Parliament as a means to honour individuals or organisations who had dedicated their lives to the defence of human rights and freedom of thought.[2] A shortlist of nominees is drawn up by Foreign Affairs Committee and Development Committee, with the winner announced in October.[1] As of 2010, the prize is accompanied by a monetary award of €50,000.[1]

    The first prize was awarded jointly to South African Nelson Mandela and Russian Anatoly Marchenko. The most recent award, in 2010, was made to Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas. The prize has also been awarded to different organisations throughout its history, the first being the Argentine Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (1992) and most recently the Russian civil rights society Memorial (2009).

    Guillermo Fariñas Hernández (born 3 January 1962) (“El Coco”) is a Cuban doctor of psychology,[1] independent journalist[2] and political dissident in Cuba. He has conducted 23 hunger strikes over the years to protest various elements of the Cuban regime.[3] He has stated that he is ready to die in the struggle against censorship in Cuba.[2]

    COMMITEE TO PROTECT JOURNALISTS (CPJ) Blog-Press Freedom News and Views
    Trying to forget: Torture haunts freed Cuban journalist-By Normando Hernández González/CPJ Guest Blogger
    I long to forget, but cannot. To erase from my memory the murmurs of suffering, the plaintive screams of torture, the screeching bars, the unmistakable music of padlocks, the garrulous sentinels…
    I try also to forget the dismal silence of those petrified dungeons. The eternally cold nights spent in punishment cells. The rats, the cockroaches, the spiders…and most of all the swarm of mosquitoes that drained my blood every second of my ephemeral existence in that hell.

    I aspire to sleep soundly, without being jolted awake. I aspire to live like a normal person, without daily visits from prison’s ghosts.

    • EspañolI suffer when I see my brother for the cause, Juan Carlos Herrera Acosta, his lips sewn shut with wire to show his jailers that he prefers to die from starvation than to abandon his principles. I see Juan Carlos’s eyes, at the edge of insanity, I see his skin, colorless after the suffering he has endured in the punishment cells. I see Juan Carlos and the anguish overcomes me.

    I can no longer bear to see the image of Roberto Ramos Hernández–who was arrested for robbery–two syringe needles sticking into the dark part of his eyes, or that of him enveloped in a burning foam mattress engulfed in tongues of fire. I don’t want to look upon the despair of this man, rendered blind by the negligence of his jailers who provoked his self-assault and then denied him the medical attention he required.

    Another man appears to me crying from the pain of his rotting flesh after having injected petroleum into each of his legs. Jorge Ramírez Roja, alias Riquinbili (a motorized bicycle), also makes his way into my hostel room. This paraplegic, charged with robbery, uses a shaving knife to cut his scalp alongside the place where he had cerebral aneurysm surgery, in an effort to get the medicines and specialized medical care he has been denied for over six months. Not to mention the many that file through my nightmares each day with their guts open, with wounds on their arms, thighs, and anywhere else they can inflict injury, a tactic to try to gain prison rights established by law and so often violated with brazen impunity.

    Nor do I wish to listen to the sad confessions of the torture victims, to see their tears or to feel, in my own flesh, the cold steel handcuffs pressing their wrists against the bars of their cells. I have even less desire to see them crucified naked on the bars awaiting a coldwater bath at dawn as the mosquitoes stick to their skin and suck, drop by drop, the little blood that is left to warm them.

    I detest losing all sensation in my upper and lower limbs, as Amaury Fernández Tamayo–arrested for human trafficking–lost sensation when he was tortured. I detest having my hands handcuffed behind my back and attached to my feet, also handcuffed, and lying for hours on my side on the cold, damp cell floor while insects and rodents walk all over my garroted body being tortured with the technique known in prison slang as “Little Chair.”

    I want to sleep without enduring the pain caused by a rubber cane or tonfa used to bruise or break my skin.

    Why does Roberto Rodríguez, a common criminal, visit me drowning in a pool of his own blood, unconscious, moribund, and denouncing the chief of conduct at the Kilo 7 prison, Lte. Didier Fundora Pérez, who ordered Unit Chief Daniel Primelles Cala to assassinate him? Why won’t Roberto let me rest?

    I have no desire to taste the burundanga, that main course composed, so they say, of animal guts, but which everyone knows contains skull, brain and even excrement. The dish’s rank odor gives these ingredients away. Nor would I like to taste the flavor of rotten tenca, the fish that resembled a magnet covered with pins when it was served to us. I don’t care to have the sensation of sandpaper scratching my throat when eating the famous cereal composed of God knows what for breakfast. It’s best not to discuss the soups for that would only insult water with not quenching one’s thirst.

    My pen is still weak with hunger, with the gut-wrenching pain caused by my 19-day hunger strike.

    But the hardest to forget is the suffering of my mother, my wife, and my daughter who, at barely one year of age, bit the scourge of treachery of the limitless cruelty of a communist government, just for being a dissident’s daughter.

    Help me, my God. Help me to wipe the slate clean and to rid myself of the passive memory of the past 88 months, to see if I can live.

    (Translated by Karen Phillips)

    This entry is part of an ongoing series of first-person stories by Cuban journalists who were imprisoned in a massive roundup of dissidents that has become known as the Black Spring of 2003. All of the reporters and editors were convicted in one-day trials, accused of acting against the “integrity and sovereignty of the state” or of collaborating with foreign media for the purpose of “destabilizing the country.” Seventeen of them were recently released and exiled to Spain as part of a deal between the Catholic Church and the Cuban government; however, three arrested in 2003 still remain behind bars.


    “Nobody should remain with an unexpressed opinion, much less be prevented from expressing it,” it said.

    “At stake is the future of the Cuban nation.”

    However, Granma also stressed that the “socialist character” of Cuba’s political and social system was “irrevocable.”

    BBC NEWS: Cuba begins public debate on economy changes-Cuba has launched a public debate on plans to transform its socialist economy by reducing the role of the state and boosting private enterprise.

    Ordinary Cubans are being encouraged to discuss the changes so their views can be taken into account at a ruling communist party congress next April.

    The government says everyone should have a free say on the future of Cuba.

    But it also insists that the “socialist character” of Cuba’s political system will not change.

    Under the headline “It is the people who decide”, the official Communist Party newspaper Granma said everyone in Cuba should take part in the economic debate

    It urged people to discuss the changes through Communist Party organisations, trade union meetings and community groups.

    “Nobody should remain with an unexpressed opinion, much less be prevented from expressing it,” it said.

    “At stake is the future of the Cuban nation.”

    However, Granma also stressed that the “socialist character” of Cuba’s political and social system was “irrevocable.”

    Economic problems

    The three-month debating period is presented as the opportunity for the public to participate in decisions to be taken at the ruling communist party’s sixth congress in April, the first to be held in 14 years.

    President Raul Castro called the congress in November, saying it would “concentrate on solving problems in the economy and updating the Cuban economic model.”

    But many details of the economic changes have already been announced, so it is not clear how much influence the public debate will really have.

    In September, President Castro announced plans to lay off around up to a million state employees – about a fifth of the workforce – and encourage them to find work in the private sector.

    Half of those posts are to go by the end of March, just weeks before the planned congress.

    Restrictions on private enterprise are being eased, with small businesses allowed to employ staff, borrow money, and sell services to government departments.

    They will also have to pay tax.

    Thousands of Cubans have already been given licences to set up private businesses, and more are registering every week.

    Since taking over from his brother Fidel in 2006, Raul Castro has taken steps to reduce the state’s almost total control of the economy, which has has been gripped by a severe crisis in recent years.

    It has suffered from a fall in the price for its main export, nickel, as well as a decline in tourism.

    Growth has also been hampered by the 48-year US trade embargo.


    “Rev. Oden Marichal, secretary of the Council of Cuban Churches, an umbrella organization encompassing non-Roman Catholic Christian churches and the Jewish community, said the visitors agreed to help but would not intervene as negotiators.

    “What we made clear to them is that the Jewish community in Cuba … told us: ‘We never had ties with that gentleman, he never brought us any kind of equipment,'” Marichal said.

    The leaders also presented a petition seeking the release of the “Cuban Five” – five Cuban agents convicted of spying and sentenced to long jail terms in the United States.”

    WASHINGTON POST: Cuba Jewish groups deny work with jailed American-By PETER ORSI December 1

    HAVANA — The leaders of Cuba’s two main Jewish groups both denied having worked with a jailed American contractor whose family says he was on the island to hand out communication equipment to Jewish organizations.
    Cuban authorities have accused Alan Gross of espionage, though they have not pressed charges despite keeping him in custody since he was detained last Dec. 3.

    Adela Dworin, president of Havana’s Temple Beth Shalom and Cuba’s largest Jewish organization, the Jewish Community House, told The Associated Press on Wednesday it’s possible Gross came to the center as one of “hundreds” of foreign visitors it receives each year. But she said she doesn’t remember meeting him and he certainly was not doing any work with her group.

    Dr. Mayra Levy, president of the Hebrew Sephardic Center of Cuba, said the same thing: “I never saw him. He never came here.”

    Cuba’s tightly knit Jewish community is believed to number about 1,500 people, most of whom live in Havana and belong to one of those two groups. While it is possible Gross was working with one of the other Jewish groups scattered across the island, the other organizations represent very small numbers of people.

    “As far as I know, none of the three synagogues (in Havana) authorized any such activity,” Dworin said.

    Gross’ wife, Judy, has denied that her husband was a spy and says he is a veteran development worker who was helping members of Cuba’s Jewish community use the Internet to stay in contact with each other and with similar groups abroad. Communications equipment he brought with him was intended for humanitarian purposes, not for use by the dissident community, she said.

    Dworin said many visitors bring donations – medicine for a community pharmacy, books, DVDs, computer games, food for religious festivals – but she stressed that the group would not accept any contraband equipment, or even have need for it.

    “We have all the necessary media to communicate with the entire Jewish world,” Dworin said. “We are able to communicate freely.”

    “We respect the laws of the country where we were born,” she added.

    The detained man, a native of Potomac, Maryland, was working for a firm contracted by USAID when he was arrested. Senior Cuban leaders including President Raul Castro have accused Gross of spying.

    Cuba and the United States have been at odds since shortly after Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution, and the U.S. has maintained an economic embargo on the island for 48 years. Havana criticizes USAID for seeking to promote democratic change in Cuba, saying it uses millions of dollars to bankroll opposition activity.

    In August, Cuba allowed Judy Gross to visit her husband for the first time since his arrest.

    U.S. diplomats insist Gross was not doing anything wrong and have said his continued detention makes it difficult to improve relations.

    Gloria Berbena, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, which Washington maintains instead of an embassy, said consular officials last visited Gross in jail Nov. 16. She said that “unfortunately,” she knew of no new developments in his case.

    The Cuban government did not respond to requests for comment on the case. Officials have said previously the case is working its way through the legal system and there is nothing unusual about the long period Gross has spent in jail without charge.

    Also Wednesday, a group of Cuban religious leaders who traveled to the United States last week for a religious conference said Washington officials asked them for help in Gross’ case.

    The leaders said the matter was raised during meetings with Peter Brennan, counselor for Cuban affairs in the State Department, and Dan Restrepo, President Barack Obama’s point man on Latin America at the National Security Council.

    Rev. Oden Marichal, secretary of the Council of Cuban Churches, an umbrella organization encompassing non-Roman Catholic Christian churches and the Jewish community, said the visitors agreed to help but would not intervene as negotiators.

    “What we made clear to them is that the Jewish community in Cuba … told us: ‘We never had ties with that gentleman, he never brought us any kind of equipment,'” Marichal said.

    The leaders also presented a petition seeking the release of the “Cuban Five” – five Cuban agents convicted of spying and sentenced to long jail terms in the United States.

    Cuba maintains the men were not a threat to the U.S. and were only keeping watch on anti-Castro groups that it accuses of a number of violent acts, including a 1990s hotel bombing campaign in Havana.

    Associated Press writer Andrea Rodriguez contributed to this

  13. @#4
    Please help me understand how things work …
    If a mobile phone is powered by it’s own battery & the connections/transmitions are made thru satellite right?
    The “mast” is the supporter of the necessary signal repeaters right?
    If the power goes out … in any normal situtation, power back-up systems would go “on kine” right?
    So … if I ubderstand correctly, you are saying that there is no back up or redundant emergency systems for communications thru out Cuba …

  14. Rick, you can include the hotel I have stayed as a critical service area. The power wnt off 3-4 days daily and the generator kicked in right away to keep the tourists happy :)

    Viva la R

  15. #4 Milessio
    Nice try at defending the Castro regime but in my experience cell phones do work during power outages due to required battery backups as well as emergency generators being installed at cell tower locations, at least in the free world.

    Cell Tower Backup Power
    Verizon reminds investors that the FCC imposes “specific mandates” on wireless carriers including “backup electric power at most cell sites.”….
    In critical service areas, battery backup is enhanced by generators that automatically start when the batteries cannot provide enough power.

  16. Governments who truely and sincerely care for the welfare of their people, especially for emergencies, or during storms, provide for battery backup for cell phone towers. That’s why in countries where civil governments rule, short of a tower being toppled or hit by lightining, cell phone service continues to work even when the power goes out or when hurricanes or storms hit.

    In fact, because cellular networks do not rely on land lines, they mostly continue to work even when land lines quit during severe storms.

    No matter how you look at it, the dynasty fails to perform at every turn. They’ve failed in the past fifty years, and will continue to do so by inertia, so as long as they continue to exist, which shouldn’t be long as per the third law of thermodynamics.

  17. The Italian writer and translator Gordiano Lupi, who wrote the book “Mi Cuba” about Cuba’s culture, will conduct a forum about Yoani at the Pisa University on December 3, 2010. Here is the information in Italian.

    Mon, November 29, 2010 9:18:20 AM
    G. Lupi presenta Yoani Sanchez all’Università di Pisa

    Venerdì 3 dicembre – ore 17.30
    Aula Magna Storica



    Gordiano Lupi – collaboratore de La Stampa e traduttore di Yoani Sanchez

    Andria Medina – blogger cubana in Italia

    Achille Totaro – Senatore della Repubblica Italiana

    Prof. Marcello Di Filippo – Università di Pisa

    e in collegamento telefonico da Cuba


    Blogger indipendente, Premio Ortega y Gasset, autrice di Cuba libre (Rizzoli)


    Il paese delle lunghe ombre
    di Yoani Sánchez
    da El Comercío (Perù) –

    La Sicurezza di Stato controlla i dissidenti sotto le loro abitazioni, li segue, li rende radioattivi. A Cuba vige ancora il pensiero unico ed è un’utopia parlare di pluralismo e di libera espressione del pensiero. Nonostante le menzogne del regime. Yoani Sánchez ci racconta come stanno realmente le cose…

    Il controllo della Sicurezza di Stato

    Ci sono due uomini all’angolo della strada. Uno di loro porta un auricolare attaccato all’orecchio, mentre l’altro guarda verso la porta dell’edificio. Tutti i vicini sanno bene perché si trovano lì. In un appartamento del palazzo vive un dissidente e i due membri della polizia politica controllano chi sale e chi scende le scale, avvisano se “l’obiettivo” varca la soglia dell’enorme condominio e tengono l’auto a portata di mano per seguirlo ovunque vada. Non cercano di nascondersi, perché vogliono far capire che quel soggetto portatore di opinioni critiche è schedato, in maniera tale che gli amici e i conoscenti temano di avvicinarlo e si allontanino per non cadere anche loro nell’apparato di controllo, nella ragnatela della vigilanza.

    Tecniche repressive

    Non si tratta di un caso isolato. A Cuba ogni persona non conforme possiede la sua ombra o un gruppo di agenti che lo seguono. I cosiddetti “poliziotti della sicurezza” utilizzano anche sofisticate tecniche di supervisione, come controllare la linea telefonica, piazzare microfoni nelle abitazioni e individuare dove si trova una persona tramite il segnale del suo telefono mobile. L’Avana da un po’ di tempo a questa parte pullula di telecamere piazzate in molti incroci, tramite le quali vengono monitorati i delitti comuni, ma si fa pure attenzione al lavoro di gruppi oppositori, giornalisti indipendenti, associazioni civiche e cittadini che la pensano in maniera diversa dal partito che governa. Il romanzo fantascientifico dello scrittore George Orwell si è materializzato a Cuba in una complessa rete tecnologica che comprende anche un esagerato numero di poliziotti in abiti civili. Occhi che scrutano in ogni direzione, dossier dove vengono inseriti gli individui non conformi individuati grazie a questi controlli, per avere in futuro la possibilità di citare la persona spiata davanti a un tribunale. Le conseguenze sulla vita personale e sociale di chi subisce uno di questi programmi di vigilanza sono così devastanti, che i cubani chiamano la Sicurezza di Stato con nomi terribili come “l’Apparato”, “l’Armageddon” o “la Distruttrice”. La Sicurezza è l’incubo ricorrente di chi è già stato vittima dei suoi apparati operativi ed è sempre per la sua presenza che altri mantengono la maschera della simulazione, temendo di essere inclusi nei suoi tenebrosi archivi.

    La crisi economica non colpisce la polizia

    In un paese in crisi economica, dove vengono annunciati tagli della forza lavorativa attiva fino a un 25%, risulta curioso che il numero dei membri del Ministero degli Interni non venga ridotto. Tutto il contrario, la spesa preventivata dallo Stato per il settore militare e per la sicurezza è in aumento dal 2004 a oggi. Se qualcosa ha caratterizzato il mandato di Raúl Castro è un aumento costante della presenza di poliziotti, militari e vigilanti a ogni angolo. Questi controllori si vedono in gran numero nei centri culturali quando si tengono eventi, si infiltrano nelle code per entrare al Festival del Cinema come a un concerto di hip hop. Non più tardi di alcuni mesi fa hanno impedito l’accesso di alcuni blogger alternativi alla mostra cinematografica dei giovani registi. Fortunatamente una piccola telecamera nascosta ha registrato la scena e i volti delle ombre, che intimidiscono e incalzano tutelati dall’anonimato, sono stati visti da migliaia di persone fuori e dentro l’Isola. Gli esclusi di quella sera hanno presentato la preziosa testimonianza visiva di fronte a un tribunale e hanno fatto una denuncia contro l’apartheid culturale, ma non hanno ricevuto una risposta giuridica e meno che mai una scusa istituzionale.

    Muscoli contro opinioni

    A volte fa pure sorridere vedere come un uomo disarmato e pacifico, forte solo delle sue parole e dei suoi argomenti, venga seguito da diverse auto e da poliziotti muniti di walkie-talkie e di un’apparecchiatura tecnologica che sembra più adeguata per i film d’azione che per la realtà. È una situazione abbastanza ridicola vedere individui con i muscoli allenati per colpire, attendere ore di fronte alla casa di un oppositore e incalzarlo persino quando porta il suo cane a orinare o va a comprare un pacchetto di sigarette. Se non fosse una cosa molto triste ci sarebbe da ridere. Anche se sono stati formati con i metodi del KGB sovietico, ognuno di questi protagonisti dell’intimidazione si crede una specie di Rambo, pronto a fare sfoggio delle sue conoscenze di karate quando qualcuno si ribella o quando la persona fermata non vuole lasciarsi obbligare a salire con la forza in un’auto con targa privata, senza ordine di arresto. Sono specialisti nello sferrare colpi che non lasciano segni, nel provocare lussazioni che nessun medico vuole annotare in un referto e nel minacciare le conseguenze più temute dalla vittima. In poche parole, sono specialisti in terrore e minacce. Godono i privilegi tipici di chi difende il potere: un fine di settimana al mare, un’auto importata dalla Cina, un salario superiore alla media nazionale e una borsa di alimenti addizionali ogni mese. Benefici capaci di trasformare questi personaggi in fedeli membri di una macchina repressiva.

    Braccia rubate all’agricoltura

    Tuttavia la gente non li ama, anche se sfoggiano volti eroici e si autodefiniscono difensori della sicurezza nazionale. Oggi, per esempio, si ripete spesso una frase con riferimento al numero esagerato di poliziotti della sicurezza che girano intorno a ogni persona non conforme. In tono basso e guardandosi alle spalle, molti dicono con sarcasmo: “Mancano così tante braccia per l’agricoltura e questi passano la giornata a controllare chi ha un’opinione diversa dal partito al governo”. Sarebbe meglio se invece di penalizzare le opinioni e stringere d’assedio il pluralismo, si dedicassero a lavori produttivi per la nazione. Se invece di proiettare la loro lunga ombra sui critici del sistema, la lasciassero cadere sopra una piantina di lattuga o di pomodoro, su quel solco – oggi vuoto – che potrebbero aiutare a seminare.

    Traduzione di Gordiano Lupi

  18. Cell phone masts need electricity – so without power, no cell phone communication is possible either.

    Beware, the paranoid win no friends or wars.

  19. This is the hallmark of a Stalinist, criminal minded dictatorship. Someday soon, like in East Germany and Russia, all will be known about the behind the scene activities of the psychopathic brothers and their puppets, against the people of Cuba.

    We can only conclude that these criminal brothers hate the Cuban people and enjoy putting them through hell, by depriving them, taking away their ability to be productive, making them work for causes totally foreign to their well being. Last but not least, they violate their dignity as individuals and as a group. Since they like theater, especially the mummy, they thoroughly enjoy the applause, as people are made to play the role of captive audience, and forced to listen to their sick and sadistic poetry as they clap.

  20. The control of the means of communication is the hallmark of the totalitarian state and nothing less is to be expected of the Castro regime. As is usual their “double-speak” slogans and promises only serve their own means and goals and have no basis in truth.

    The ability to control cellular communication both verbal and text is the reason the Castro regime will not allow any telecommunications companies other than the state owned monopoly to provide services and that is what makes naive individuals such as Alan Gross pawns in Fidel’s battle against freedom of expression.

  21. Pingback: Tweets that mention Generation Y » Cubacel, In Bed With The Censorship --

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