Editorial: NO CENSORSHIP

At times you may have wondered how censorship in Cuba works. One would expect that the government that has been so successful in using fear as a weapon also knows how to employ censorship, which causes less damage, anyway, now matter how elaborate it is. Every time the culture of a country becomes a product of politics, civil society runs a serious risk. Censorship, like fear, always has the power to deform people.

Magazine cover
Magazine cover

In this issue of our newsletter we want to bring some examples of how censorship can become a crucial force in dismantling a nation – forcing people who want to live true to themselves and create freely to do it on the sly while making other people escape and, finally, coercing the rest to accept the rules of the game and forget the need to fight for what they believe in.

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo tells us a fascinating story about hidden censorship in Cuba, Francis Sanchez reveals how he managed to prevent censorship from killing his soul and Lia Villares shows us a photo explaining how censorship sometimes depends on the decision of one person only and how it hardly exists for the privileged few who are in agreement with the political elite. Last but not least, the interview with Anyer Blanco may make us aware of yet another form of censorship – that of seriously attacking someone’s soul by forcing the person to do military service.

On the following pages you will find a lot of talk about the human soul, which, as it is, may be the most vulnerable thing in Cuba these days. The soul represents the essence of the man, it represents our principles, our ideals and our need to create, our need for fulfilment. Yet, many Cubans who have been trapped in the vicious cycle of fighting for survival have suffered irreparable damage to their souls. It could be that the only thing that is actually censored in Cuba is the human soul.

In recent years we have seen many changes in Cuba, mostly in the field of economic development. We have also seen a steep rise of social inequality, which, however, has not been accompanied by expansion of individual freedoms. Cuba may neither be the paradise some people dream about nor the hell others believe it to be, but one thing cannot be denied: it does have censorship. However, even in case of a democratic change, nobody will be spared from it. There are many examples showing that democracy doesn’t destroy censorship, it only transforms it. We all face the risk of being censored.

Members of the Cuban opposition usually appeal to travellers visiting Cuba not to look at the island through the glasses of a tourist but try and see the reality of the country. In this issue of our magazine, we want to challenge you to throw away the glasses of a tourist as well as everything you have learned about Cuba so far… Forget about compassion, condescension, Revolution, USA… NO CENSORSHIP.

 

Agnes Koleman

Agnes Koleman has been traveling to Cuba since 1997. She is a big admirer of Cuban and Cuban people and hopes one day soon they will have a democratic government.