The Return of Eliécer


Distrust is a fundamental part of the negative legacy of this system. The doubt when receiving a hug, suspicion in the face of candor, and phrases such as “I’m sure he’s with State Security” instead of “I’m glad he dares!” There is nothing more frustrating, for those who cross the line between silence and speaking out, than being greeted with suspicion by others. That eternal distrust they’ve inoculated us with since we were small children stands as the major achievement of the Castro regime. I’m fed up with being afraid of others, always wondering what their real intentions are, if they get close to me to inform, lie, snoop. I renounce the caution; what’s more it slows me down, makes me sad.

The return of Eliécer Ávila*, with his excellent interview for Estado de SATS, has caused my phone to fill with messages in the style of “be careful, he could be a decoy of the political police.” I take them all in stride, appreciating the honest concern of many, but not disposed to continue this cycle of apprehension. Eliécer’s every word seems born from sincerity. If life some day shows me this was the wrong assessment, I will continue to think that now — in this minute — his word was more detrimental to the powers-that-be than any benefit later from some hypothetical unmasking.

When we reject someone or fail to extend a hand for fear that they might be a G2 mole, some obscure official in our native version of the KGB’s Lubyanka wins a medal. They feed on our fears, gain strength in the field of intrigue. I refuse, therefore, to continue to make their work easier. At the end of the day it is too ridiculous for a government to brag about having infiltrated secret agents into transparent and peaceful groups. The administration that exercises control from the shadows, because they cannot do it from law and arguments, is laughable.

*Translator’s note: In 2008 Ricardo Alarcon, president of the National Assembly of People’s Power, visited Cuba’s University of Technology to speak before a large room of students. During the Q&A Eliécer Ávila, one of the students, posed a series of questions to Alarcon and their interchange was captured on a video that soon went viral. Among Eliécer’s many questions and comments were: Why do Cubans have to work several days to earn enough money to buy a toothbrush? Why can’t Cuban’s travel freely? Why is access to the Internet restricted and censored? The subsequent chain of events remains cloudy and English-language articles are scarce. Here is a link to one report, a second report, a third report.

20 thoughts on “The Return of Eliécer

  1. What transpires from The words of this young guy is something the team “yoani” are failing to recognise and accept:

    The people of Cuba,in particular YOUNG Cubans are NOT afraid to talk openly as the team “yoani” and their blind supporting pioneers are trying to convince us.

    That they ARE aware of that FACT the team “yoani” tell us, as always, in their self-deluding and self-blinding way with these words from the pin up grandmother himself (or herself?):

    “The return of Eliécer Ávila*, with his excellent interview for Estado de SATS, has caused my phone to fill with messages in the style of “be careful, he could be a decoy of the political police.””

    The words that then follow are simply dancing on both sides of the fence.

    Just in case the team “yoani” and their revolutionary pioneers fail in delivering their “some kind of pragmatic socialism”.

    Pardon my Chinese… that was meant to be “some kind of pragmatic capitalism”…

  2. Here’s a beautiful example of pathological hatred and negativity at any cost by the team “yoani”. Famous usanian actor Danny Glover visited the island to receive an award, and a large group of children, young Cubans of tomorrow, got a chance to meet the actor in person, something that in Cuba under nazist gulag’s continuous pressure is not all that regular occurrence.

    It will certainly mark their young lives, disconnected from politics and stupidity of the hatred some grown up persons try hard to bring into their lives at any cost.

    Disregarding this politics business for a moment, is it not something worth stopping and considering as positive? Giving a chance to children to feel the outside world for a moment?

    And it has been a very busy and dynamic year for Cuba this year. A lot of foreign artists and politicians came and visited the island. A lot of positive things happened.

    Yet, not a SINGLE word from the “fighters for ‘democracy'”. People who are supposedly fighting for better and for positive things in life.

    Yeah, it doesn’t help their cause to tell the truth. That Cuba is not all THAT bad and that Cuba is already a part of numerous international happenings and activities.

    “democrats” my backside. Liars and fifth column. That’s ALL the team “yoani” with their pin up grandmother so nervous and unstable, her nails are gone already, are.

  3. The CASTRO REGIME is famous for separating males from their households. From the start of the ROBOLUTION, til today, its part of the MO.

    What happens in Cuba is SHAMEFUL, and we all permit it.

  4. FREE ALAN GROSS NOW!! NO MORE FASCIST GAMES BY THE CASTRO BROTHERS!

    YOUTUBE : DEPT. OF STATE Acting Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner Delivers Remarks on Alan Gross – by statevideo on Dec 2, 2011

    Acting Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner delivers remarks on Alan Gross from the Department of State in Washington, D.C. on December 2, 2011. The transcript is below. Alan Gross will begin his third year of unjustified imprisonment in Cuba. He was arrested on December 3, 2009 and later given a 15 year prison sentence by Cuban authorities for simply facilitating connectivity between Havana’s Jewish community and the rest of the world. Mr. Gross is a 62-year-old husband, father, and dedicated professional with a long history of providing assistance and support to underserved communities in more than 50 countries. We continue to call on the Cuban government to release Alan Gross and return him to his family, where he belongs.

  5. YOUTUBE : CUBA GOLPEAN SALVAJEMENTE Y DETIENEN A MAS DE 40 OPOSITORES EN PALMA SORIANO
    Mas de 40 golpeados y detenidos en Palma Soriano, Santiago de Cuba, en protesta protaginizada por la Union Patriotica de Cuba y otros hermanos de lucha.
    Varios centenares de agentes represivos de la policia politica , la nacional y otros cuerpos del llamado ministerio del interior de la dictadura castrista.

    YOUTUBE REPORT FROM CUBA- SAVAGELY BEATEN AND ARRESTED OVER 40 OPPONENTS IN PALMA SORIANO NEAR SANTIAGO DE CUBA (east of the island)
    More than 40 dissidents were beaten and arrested in Palma Soriano, Santiago de Cuba, in a protest by the Patriotic Union of Cuba and other brothers in the struggle. Several hundred police officers of the political police along with the national and other agents of the so called interior ministry of the Castro dictatorship were part of the repression.

  6. FINALLY! SOME TOUGH TALK TO THE CASTROFASCISTS GOVERNMENT BY THE WHITE HOUSE REGARDING THE HOSTAGE ALAN GROSS!!

    REUTERS: White House urges Cuba to release U.S. contractor-Reporting by Caren Bohan and Jeff Mason

    The White House on Friday urged Cuba to immediately release jailed U.S. contractor Alan Gross, saying it was “past time” to allow him to return home.
    “Cuban authorities have failed in their effort to use Mr. Gross as a pawn for their own ends,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters in response to a question.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/02/us-cuba-usa-idUSTRE7B11X320111202

  7. IN CUBA INTERNET IS A CRIME.

    CHANNEL 41 = LIBERTY

    LAS CALLES SON DEL PUEBLO, CUBANS TAKE BACK YOUR COUNTRY.
    THE TIME IS NOW.

  8. THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION: America’s Hostage in Cuba: Two Tragic Years and Counting – Ray Walser- December 2

    In March of 2011, Gross was found guilty by a Cuban court on the ludicrous charge of “acts against the independence or territorial integrity” of Cuba and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Gross was and is no spy or agent of subversion. The purpose of the cruelly punitive sentence was to send a clear message from the Castro regime to those who dream of genuine freedom on the island.The message could be stated as: Dare not hope for change! Our regime remains all-powerful. You have no rights or influence and must never question the authority, power, and privileges of the regime. We shall punish—when we wish—those we decide have crossed our invisible threshold of tolerance. Gross’s actions in Cuba were consistent with international norms, therefore hardly a crime. One need only look at the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which clearly states in Article 19: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers” (emphasis added). Article IV of the American Declaration of Rights and Duties of Man, adopted in 1948 and adhered to by Cuba, states: “Every person has the right to freedom of investigation, of opinion, and of the expression and dissemination of ideas, by any medium whatsoever” (emphasis added). Despite cosmetic economic changes, Cuba’s political system remains non-democratic and totalitarian at its core. After more than 50 years, the Cuban regime still believes the words of the Castro brothers are infallible; the Cuban Communist Party is primary; and the state has a right to exert monolithic control over the lives and activities of all Cubans. This power resides in an unlimited capacity to criminalize what free societies take for granted: access to information, debate, and unrehearsed expressions of individual citizens.Cuba shares a living kinship with other modern tyrannies that range from China and Iran to North Korea and Syria. While the tactics of repression in Cuba may change, the end—preserving absolute power—does not. Meanwhile, much of the evil that occurs in Cuba is ignored by the media and the world.

    CLICK LINK FOR THE ENTIRE EDITORIAL!

    http://blog.heritage.org/2011/12/02/america%E2%80%99s-hostage-in-cuba-two-tragic-years-and-counting/

  9. FINALLY! A NEWSPAPER THAT REALLY GETS THE GROSS CASE! AND GETS TO THE HEART OF WHY GROSS WAS ARRESTED! IT WAS NOT DUE TO THE USAID PROGRAMS. GROSS IS BEING HELD HOSTAGE AS A BARGAINING CHIP FOR THE CUBAN 5 SPIES!

    JERUSALEM POST: Home for Hanukka – By JPOST EDITORIAL

    Havana tightly controls Internet access, in a futile attempt to prevent its citizens from knowing the truth about Castro’s failed human project. It, therefore, viewed Gross’s activities as tantamount to an attempt to topple the regime.

    The distance is great between Havana’s trumped-up charges of subversion and the reality that Gross is a veteran social worker and promoter of democracy and freedom whose only “crime” appears to be naiveté.

    Over the past 25 years, Gross has traveled the world promoting freedom and democracy in places such as Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, and has done humanitarian work for USAID in Kenya and Gambia, and in Judea and Samaria (where he helped Palestinian dairy farmers). He is no rabble rouser. Yet he was held without trial for months.

    Eventually, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

    Why has Gross been punished so severely? It seems he is being held as a bargaining chip by Havana, which wants to see the release from US custody of the “Cuban Five” who were convicted for spying on American military installations in South Florida. In October, AP reported that the US was willing to allow Rene Gonzalez, one of the Cuban Five who was recently released from prison, to serve his three remaining years of probation in Cuba rather than in Florida, in exchange for the release of Gross. Cuba rejected the offer, noting that Gonzalez had already served most of his sentence.

    The Castro regime demanded clemency for the other members of the Cuban Five.

    But even if Cuba had accepted, there were several problematic aspects to the deal. According to AP, the US was willing, among other things, to discuss removing Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism and to consider reducing spending on Cuban democracy-promotion programs like the one with which Gross was involved. If the deal had gone through, it would have set a dangerous precedent in which by using kidnapped US citizens, repressive regimes could force the US to back down on basic principles such as democracy promotion and the war against terrorism.

    In any event it is doubtful that in an election year the Obama administration would reach a deal with Havana that would risk angering the powerful Cuban community in Florida, an important swing state.

    CLICK LINK FOR THE ENTIRE EDITORIAL!

    http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Editorials/Article.aspx?id=247827

  10. HAIL THE CASTROFASCIST KING! ALL THAT IS LEFT IS A “CASCARON”, A SHELL OF THE “COMANDANTE”! FITTING END FOR AN EGOCENTRIC, PSYCHOPATH, MURDERER, NARCICIST! AND OF COURSE THE “YES” MEN BY HIS SIDE TILL THE BITTER END!

    YOUTUBE: La mesa redonda que no salio en Cuba ( Te Cuban round table that was not aired in Cuba)-

  11. BOYS AND GIRLS! GUESS WE ARE PART OF THE “CYBERWAFARE”! THIS IDEA OF PLURALISM AND FREE SPEECH HAS THE CASTROFASCISTS IN A PANIC!

    MONSTERS AND CRITICS: Cuba calls for “cyberdefence” of the revolution- By Isaac Risco- Dec 2, 2011,

    Havana – Just days after Cuban dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez was named one of the world’s 100 ‘most influential global thinkers’ by US magazine Foreign Policy, the Cuban government is preparing for ‘active cyberdefence.’

    Despite poor internet access for the average Cuban, which the authorities in Havana blame on the US embargo, Cuba is now stressing the importance of ‘occupying the web.’ The website Cubadebate, the main pro-government online news outlet, has called for a move ‘from cyberwarfare to active cyberdefence.’

    Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Wednesday urged more active involvement in the web and for greater defence mechanisms to fight what the island regards as the hostile attitude of major media outlets.

    ‘Euphoria over social networks coexists with the risk of regime change operations, which has increased, as has the threat to peace. But these dangerous conditions make it necessary and urgent for us to make those platforms our own,’ he said.

    ‘It is essential to have a political strategy in cyberspace.’

    Rodriguez was addressing a workshop on ‘Alternative Media and Social Networks’ with participants from 12 countries, to which Sanchez complained she and other bloggers critical of the government had not been invited.

    The authorities continue ‘to exclude the alternative part of (Cuba’s) blogosphere and twittosphere,’ Sanchez wrote on Twitter.

    On her Twitter feed, @yoanisanchez, the 36-year-old regularly criticizes Cuban authorities for their attitude to the internet, among other things. Her campaign to denounce what she termed ‘political apartheid’ at the event reached her more than 180,000 Twitter followers.

    Indeed, on Wednesday, Foreign Policy said Sanchez’s influence shows ‘that the internet really does go everywhere, even Castro’s Cuba.’

    Sanchez in turn, wrote on Twitter of the limitations of online stardom in communist Cuba.

    ‘Beautiful paradoxes of life. My name on FP’s list of 100 thinkers, and me now ‘thinking’ how to stretch the rice so as to get to the end of the month,’ she wrote in a post.

    Such ‘cyberwarfare’ has been waged for some time. Blogs like Vision desde Cuba, which openly support the government, seek to counter the influence of those like Sanchez’s.

    Despite ‘the limitations inherent to narrow bandwidth’ and the ‘archaic and extremely slow dial-up connections,’ Vision desde Cuba writes that ‘revolutionary bloggers’ like himself back the government against those who, they argue, are being financed from abroad. Havana has traditionally accused dissidents of accepting funds from the United States.

    Cubadebate has carried out a broad campaign to promote the use of social networks. Editor Rosa Miriam Elizalde asked in an article that readers ‘accept the technological challenge.’

    ‘I do not have the slightest doubt that if (Cuban national hero) Jose Marti were alive today he would be on Facebook and Twitter,’ she said.

    Mariela Castro, daughter of the Cuban leader as well as head of Cuba’s National Centre for Sex Education, also recently entered the world of Twitter.

    She openly confronted Sanchez, among others, in defence of the Cuban government.

    http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/americas/news/article_1678470.php/Cuba-calls-for-cyberdefence-of-the-revolution

  12. free alan gross there is no point to keep him its bad pr he is foreigner just ban him from the country and go on rape the country with mob stunt of joke the truth is communist is worst form of capitalism thrue police state is the people fear of the police is a thug state

  13. free alan gross there is no point to keep him its bad pr he is foreigner just ban him from the country and go on rape the country with mob stunt of joke the truth is communist is worst form of capitalism thrue police state is the people fear of the police is a thug state

  14. IT IS DISGUSTING THAT THE CASTROFASCISTS ARE PLAYING THIS GAME WITH ALAN GROSS, HIS FAMILY BUT SPECIALLY HIS MOM! TO SAY THEY ARE HEARTLESS WOULD BE A COMPLIMENT! taken from : Movimiento Mundial de Solidaridad con Cuba

    YOUTUBE : Evelyn Gross Makes Plea to Raúl Castro

  15. This is the most HONEST INTERVIEW originating from Cuba, that I have ever witnessed to this day. Honesty is always the best policy and I hope this is the new CHANGE we have been expecting from CUBA. I too also hope that the ruling class does not end up owning the profitable industries of Cuba. When the Castro Brothers pass ,I hope all the family and ruling thugs also get thrown out in the bath water. Return Cuba to its people and not the REGIME THUGS who have been milking the cubans for 52 years. Lets fix Cuba, so that Cubans don’t need to flee their country anymore. Eliecer is a real man, for speaking out without fear and in the media. Thank you everyone who makes this blog possible and congratulations Yoani for another prize naming you, 100 MOST INFLUENTIAL people in the WORLD. Honored to be considered part of your TEAM by the resident G2 agent DAMIR. Its good to be with winners. HASTA CUANDO???

  16. This interview to Eliecer is even better than all his previous questions to Alarcon.

    One does get to understand a bit of the problem all Cubans with this regime. We do not want them in power yet we are powerless to bring them down as long as someone is waiting for someone else to do what must be done. We all have to push. Each in any way they can.

    Eliecer, in this interview comes out with a very clear and transparent mind even his original oriental accent has polished a little bit. He raises so many good points! I bet that if he was allow to give the same speech on national TV in Cuba it will move people to act!

    After 52 years of listening to the same old political speech even those that are in the system must be extraordinarily tired and in need of a big change. As for trusting or not Eliecer or any other. We can not distrust anyone. If we do they would have won. If all it takes to win is having a little faith. I am all for it.
    I have faith in Eliecer and every body else.

    Unfortunately, it looks like the Castro family is preparing to perpetuate themselves in power even after Raul goes. By getting the generals and military elite involve in the business they have created and internal government mafia. They have all the power and money. The people of Cuba are helpless against those that have so much power. They are not willing to let go of the “honey of power”. We all want for the peaceful transition to a democracy. But that is not in the plants of the Castro family. They have lost every chance they had to make the necessary changes to gear the country on the path of democracy. They really do not care for Cubans at all.

  17. great post yoani .
    i love this quote …

    “At the end of the day it is too ridiculous for a government to brag about having infiltrated secret agents into transparent and peaceful groups.”

    the government agents inflitrated nothing … you invited them in . the victory is not theirs , it is yours .

  18. THIS GUY should be PRESIDENT of the FUTURE CUBA. He is a bright star and has his head screwed on right. Cubans are intelligent people when NOT oppressed. I hope the CASTRO REGIME does not kill him like they did to LAURA POLLAN.

Comments are closed.