Ladies in White

Media Campaign Aims to Discredit Rodiles / Angel Santiesteban
Posted on December 29, 2015

Angel Santiesteban Prats, 26 December 2015 — State Security is using all
the tools in its arsenal to denigrate Cuban dissident Antonio Rodiles,
who is currently the most uncomfortable thorn in the side of the regime,
in the court of national and international public opinion.

Rodiles is one of three organizers of the Forum for Rights and
Liberties. In conjunction with the Ladies in White and other human
rights organizations, the group promotes peaceful Sunday marches —
demonstrations which have been causing great harm to the regime — under
the hashtag #TodosMarchamos.

Following mass at St. Rita Church, the group meets — as coincidence
would have it — at Gandhi Park, and walks in a peaceful weekly
procession along 26th Street to Third Avenue. They do this knowing that
what awaits them, Sunday after Sunday, is one of those operations
mounted by the repressive forces of the Castro clan to which we have
become so accustomed. Fortunately, however, images of every repressive
attack are recorded, leaving no doubt as to what is really going on.

The reaction by the regime is clear evidence that Rodiles is hitting
them where they are most vulnerable: the nerve center from which they
have zealously maintained, for more than half a century in power, social
discipline. As usual, they have used nastiness, lies and posturing in an
attempt to strip him of his personal attributes, actions which have
caused outrage because of the cowardice which they have been concocted.

This is a well-known tactic, one that has been used many times before on
other opposition figures. The macabre plan is to first tarnish his image
and, once they have sown doubt about him in the public’s mind, to then
imprison him, because putting Rodiles behind bars is a longstanding
dream the political police will always fight to achieve.

This smear campaign recently began after Rodiles returned from the
United States, where he was invited to speak at a congressional debate
in Washington on the topic of Cuba. He later met with prominent
Cuban-American congressional representatives, who are calling on the
government of Raul Castro to respect freedom and human rights on the
island as a prerequisite for progress in restoring diplomatic relations.
It is worth remembering that, upon returning home from his first such
visit last year, Rodiles’ organization was the object of a cyber attack,
albeit a relatively minor one.

Those maneuvering to sully human rights activists are working hard to
dismantle the Forum for Rights and Freedoms. To do this, they need to
get Rodiles out of the way, dismember the Ladies in White organization
and remove the obstacles blocking their path to remaining in power, as
they have done for nearly six decades.

If the Castro dictatorship reacts this way to someone like Antonio
Rodiles, clearly it must be because he is doing something right.
Persecuting him is payback for his political activism, for his constant
defiance of the injustices that the regime perpetrates against those who
oppose its plans.

Neither the defamations aimed at vilifying him — in essence, because of
his pride — nor the entire army of followers that the terrorist state
uses to harass him will be enough. Nor will plotting to achieve spurious
benefits succeed in changing our standards or our ideas. On the
contrary, this shameful strategy convinces us even more of the need for
a clean and democratic government.

Angel Santiesteban-Prats

Havana, December 2015, “free” on parole.

Source: Media Campaign Aims to Discredit Rodiles / Angel Santiesteban |
Translating Cuba –

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