Cuba, Jail and those Chosen to be Forgotten

Madrid – The first one that forgets the murderer is the victim. He forgets it all. The sound of the shot in the head of the Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya would be her last memory. The bang and the nothingness. The duty, of neither forgetting her nor her executioners, falls on all of us, just as it is our duty to recall those who have been in the jails of Cuba that have already spent six years being forced to step towards a silent death.

The savage episode by means of a great communicator is removed from the stage by one powerful group had (and has) universal repercussions in the media. Those echoes came from the renowned reputation of the journalist and the method used to silence her: a sloppy, dirty shooting in the heart of a dark and misty Moscow that was entering into autumn.

Those circumstances gave prominence and a certain spectacle to the death of a woman, who had stayed in the field (of battle), alone and tired, confronting intolerance, terrorism and arrogance.

In the case of the Cuban professionals and of the other political prisoners the methods are different, but the end results are the same one. To remove these individuals from the life of the country in which they were born and they love, to shut their mouths, to paralyze their hands, to interfere their thoughts with the natural eagerness for survival.

Like the Makarov[1] and the bullet cases that were left at the scene of the crime by the Russian hit men in front of the elevator of Anna Politkovskaya’s building, they exist in the island’s prisons in miserable living conditions, an illusionary diet, a paucity of the medical services, sociological tortures, the punishments, the intimidations and humiliations against their families, the degrading deals and the beatings.

Silent weapons, ones that can’t be grasped, which are not being brandished, they are being managed. They are left to fall with coldness and discretion on the lives of defenseless, cloistered, and isolated people and their effect has a delayed action that complicates knowing the direct identity of the murderer, although it has been known from the very moment along with the names and surnames, who gave the order.

So this is why the world is alarmed, outraged and asking for justice, when a desperate and furious mafia leader gives the order to take someone out of play through a process, quite like a film producer. And the world is right.

Only that the mechanism of protest is almost spent, is distracted, gets lost when it is used, with the same objective – as has already been stated – the procedure of the slow tracking camera and the Makarov hazy from hunger, illness and torture, although in Cuba it might be a vapor of massive extermination.

The mainstream media does not carry a hand-written letter from a modest provincial correspondent, Pedro Argüelles Morán. Almost no one will read his subversive letter, about being in bed and exhausted, where he says that he is sick, he is 58 years old and misses (in this his third prison experience) his wife, his friends, his neighbors and his dogs. Hardly anybody will share with him the anguish that he has experienced being in that place for around 198 months of his life.

There will not be space for a message from Barbara Rojo, the wife of independent journalist Omar Ruiz, a prisoner in a jail close to Sancti Spiritus, in which she says that a guard destroyed the brace that alleviated her husband’s pains. He has been demanded health care for several weeks already, even though no one pays any attention to him.

It is difficult to cover these and the hundreds of other daily torments. What is possible, convenient, necessary, and indispensable is to recall that every day such crimes are in progress a crime. And that many subtle guns being aimed directly the journalists who are in prison.

Raul Rivero is an award winning Cuban poet, journalist and dissident, who was one of the 75 political prisoners imprisoned during the March 2003 crackdown. He was released from prison in November 2004 and currently lives and works in exile in Spain.
[1] A Makarov is a type of Russian pistol