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