Why The Beatings? / Mario Lleonart
Posted on June 23, 2015
Mario Lleonart, 5 June 2015 — Beatings of peaceful demonstrators in
Havana have been in the news for eight consecutive Sundays. In one of
the first rounds, the son of the labor leader Jesús Menéndez was dragged
for several yards along the ground with no concern for his advanced age.
On the seventh Sunday, between beatings and more beatings, it was
obvious that another attempt was made to kill Raúl Borges Alvarez, this
time with a sure blow to the chest–no matter (or, actually, because of)
his having undergone heart surgery.
Even so, with respect to Raúl, officials from State Security warned his
son, Ernesto, in prison, and his other son, Cesar, on the street, about
the the possibility of Raúl’s imminent demise from his additional
ailment of “chronic pancreatitis”–the same condition that killed Juan
Wilfredo Soto García on 8 May 2011, following a beating by police three
days earlier–because of course death can be a natural consequence of a
beating, especially if one has prior health problems, and it is well
known that the area of the pancreas is another preferred target of the
Some of us had hoped, following the announcement about normalizing
relations between the US and Cuba, that there would be a stop to–or at
least a lessening of–the beatings, but we now know that what is
happening is precisely the opposite.
It would seem that the beast is feeling mightier and able to strike with
impunity. This is borne out by the 641 arrests in May, the highest
number of detentions of dissidents in the last 10 months, and which
always, in some fashion, involve violence.
During the beatings and acts of repudiation against the Ladies in White,
the political authorities have not hesitated to shamelessly transport
the tormentors on buses that were brought to Cuba by the “Pastors for
Peace” Caravan–an unintended purpose for these vehicles, we assume.
Experiences such as the recent Seventh Summit of the Americas in Panama
show that the regime that is an expert in beatings is willing to export
this modality of intolerance to whichever location in the world will
receive it. The international community can confirm that the system
which, for survival’s sake, accedes to dialogue with its historical
enemy, with the world power, with the “empire,” is not ready to do the
same with its own people–and even less so if the issue is about
accepting differences of opinion. It’s through strikes and blows that it
tends to resolve any matter with its citizens.
The worst part is that many in the population have assimilated this
modus operandi learned from Papa State, and it is thus that they prefer
to resolve any problem, with or without reason: by hitting.
Any male or female citizen in Cuba, however peaceful he or she may be,
is exposed to the blows that come directly from the State, or from any
of its many Frankensteins, its “New Men” as evoked by Guevara, who
prefer to use their neighbors as punching bags before resolving
differences through dialogue.
Blows abound when words–and especially reasons–are scarce.
Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison
Source: Why The Beatings? / Mario Lleonart | Translating Cuba –