Political Arrests Increase
Political Arrests Increase / 14ymedio, Pedro Armando Junco
14ymedio, Pedro Armando Junco, Havana, 23 November 2016 — I learned via
the internet that 14ymedio’s Camaguey correspondent, Sol Garcia Basulto,
was illegally and arbitrarily arrested on the night of November 3 when
she was travelling to Havana to get a visa for her passport.
As she herself relates, she had won a trip abroad for a journalism
course. She would not qualify for enrollment in a Cuban university
journalism school because her political ‘wood’ is not suitable for the
construction of that ‘national informational edifice.’ Her case is not
isolated. There are many young students of this profession whose careers
are interrupted for the least ideological slip-up or who, when they
manage to graduate, have doors to jobs closed on them. They are
innumerable, the names of the recent graduates who have crossed the
Strait or who are marginalized within the country and take on any
self-employment that is often as distant from their abilities and
aspirations as they ever imagined.
Sol’s case is in keeping with a repressive wave that is playing out
across the Island against opponents and independent journalists in order
to put a stop to that avalanche of popular dissatisfaction that is
growing among the citizenry because that handful determined to complain
is the only representation of the people’s discontent. The system is not
content with excluding them from the official media – the only media
accessible to the population – but intends to eliminate them because of
new technologies that one way or another allow what’s happening within
Cuba to be known.
The most significant thing about Garcia Basulto’s detention, if the
objective was to prevent her trip abroad, is that they could have
visited her at her home and withdrawn her passport; taken her off the
bus at the Camaguey terminal before it took off; or even summoned her to
the police station. However, they waited for the bus to leave the city,
and then they stopped it in the middle of the road, boarded it and
handcuffed her like a common criminal. This is one more kind of
mistreatment that so many of the Cuban population suffers.
I know Solecito – as I call her – and I know that she is a young woman
of character. She raises her daughter alone because the father is a
prisoner. I am not unfamiliar with that journalistic aspiration that has
not been able to develop, as I said before, because of its dissident
tenets. I have seen her often and read her work in the independent
magazine Cuba’s Time which, by the way, is not at all
“counter-revolutionary” except when its collaborators touch a sore spot
of some public official – I even think that the State could take the
articles that are written there as a reference to discover the
administrative deficiencies of many revolutionaries who bleed public
assets for their own benefit, as is well known.
I am at once saddened and indignant that the changes of openness
promised to the people are the object of a double standard – to use this
phrase that they like so much – and that now that the president general
assures that there are no political prisoners, they stop and humiliate
those who don’t submit to the system. It is possible that there are no
political prisoners in Cuba; but political arrests increase daily.
The bad time that they gave to Solecito will not change her way of
thinking but will increase her condemnation of those who oppress her.
Maybe a friendly and convincing attitude together with facilitating her
trip would have made her change her view and respond empathetically when
the time came to practice non-professional journalism. But instead, the
sad and regrettable event has brought to international light a new name
that will have to be taken into account from now on.
Translated by Mary Lou Keel
Source: Political Arrests Increase / 14ymedio, Pedro Armando Junco –
Translating Cuba –