For the Freedom of Calixto
For the Freedom of Calixto / Lilianne Ruiz #Cuba
Lilianne Ruiz, Translator: Unstated
My friend Calixto R. Martinez (far left in photo), a reporter for
Hablemos Press, is now on the 23rd day of a hunger strike in the
punishment cells of the Combinado del Este prison. Prosecutors charged
him with the crime of "contempt for the figures of R. and F. Castro."
According to the Hablemos Press bulletin: "Calixto was violently
arrested in mid-September, when he was corroborating confidential
information on the handling of a shipment of medicines and medical
equipment, which would have spoiled in the warehouses of the José Martí
Some evenings I walked with him back to my house when we ran into each
other somewhere. I liked to listen to him because he had a lot of
experience in arbitrary detention and forced deportation and explained
to me the best way to deal with a situation of this kind, aware of the
legal pitfalls contained in the Cuban penal code.
On Saturday night I received a message from Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo:
"Calixto Ramón, reporter for Hablemos Press, has been on a hunger strike
for 21 days in the punishment cells of the Combinado del Este prison. He
has lost a lot of weight and it very frail."
I would like to organize a vigil for my friend. Days of fasting. How can
we make this despotic and violent State listen? What needs to happen?
There is not a shadow of a doubt that what the revolutionaries call
"defend their revolution" means a methodology for violating human rights
in Cuba. From homes to prisons. From the doctor to the political police.
Beginning with the clan of the Council of State, of course. It is a
Let me give an example: in the building where I live they have placed a
clipping from the newspaper Granma on one wall.If it weren't for the
tragedy it has signified for so many Cubans, among whom my friend is
now; to make use of freedom of expression, what can be read on it can
even be funny.
"Newspaper Granma, Friday, November 23, 2012?
More people who point out what is correct and fewer who insist on
harping on what is incorrect."
The remaining six sentences that make up the note from Granma and that
my neighbors found witty, all say the same thing in different words. It
would be too tedious to reproduce it in full. I want to photograph the
sign because, in addition to being ridiculous, it exactly reflects what
is considered moral in this society.
I couldn't hide that I took the photo as I was focusing at the moment
when one of the two presidents of the Committee for the Defense of the
Revolution (CDR) came down the stairs. She's an elderly person,
apparently decent, who said to me, "The Revolutionaries in this building
don't allow you to take photos." All this is said with a shockingly
clear conscience, considering the degrees of repression to which
current Cuban society is disposed.
It reminded me of something I read in Yoani's post about her arrest in
Bayamo. I remember it like this: "Nothing is what it seems. A bed is not
a bed. Nor is water for slaking thirst."
Each of the residents of building 702, for example, would be able to
participate in an act of repudiation, imprison and even applaud an
execution for political reasons; none of those people, I repeat, seem
like bad people. However, they are. They are very dangerous.
Most have relatives in the United States and at some point have traveled
to visit them or tried to travel. They cavalierly ignore the suffering
of my friend Calixto and his right to demand freedom for Cuba. If
someone visits their homes they are much more nicely painted than those
of Calixto, Roberto de Jesús Guerra or mine. They eat better. They have
nice manners and teach them to their families.
But at some point they will become very dangerous, they are transfigured
in the style of the video game "Resident Evil," and the only way it
seems possible to combat them is to be willing to immolate oneself.
Otherwise every day the world would be a poorer place and to paraphrase
Yoani, "Nothing is what it seems and even names lose their meanings."
I can't imagine a worse fate for humanity than the inability to remember
the true meaning of words, symbols, signifiers, for having lied for so
long, like all dictatorships lie in their discourse, whether it's the
foreign minister or the leader, they speak of justice and solidarity,
like they did in 1976 when I was born and in a place called La Cabaña
they committed atrocious crimes against the opponents of the damned
Revolution of 1959. And they commit them today with the complicity of
the clear consciences of Cubans.
I ask of my readers solidarity with Calixto and that you offer me some
objectively thought out idea, in accordance with the present
circumstances, to get him out of jail where he has been thrown in the
most arbitrary and deceitful way, as you sought to do for Antonio
Rodiles and as many people have done before.
December 3 2012