Ladies in White

Speculations and Speculations / Regina Coyula
Posted on January 19, 2016

Regina Coyula, 18 January 2016 — Alejandro Armengol is the author of
articles full of common sense that often clash with the opinions of
opponents of the Castro regime inside and outside Cuba, but his article
about the aggressions inflicted on the couple Antonio Rodiles and Ailer
Gonzales on 10 January, one more day of #TodosMarchamos (We All March)
protests, seemed unwise to me.

And not because he’s not right about much of what he says, but because
everything is not as explicit as it should be, and it is certain to
leave many readers, among them myself, full of speculations about the
intricacies of the recent trip of the two well-known activists to Miami.

The violations of personal integrity suffered by opponents at the hands
of the repressive forces are real and frequently documented, on
Facebook, on personal web pages, or on those of some group or
organization. If Rodiles appears frequently as a victim and denouncer of
these events it is far beyond “a pattern that repeats itself in Rodiles’
behavior as an activist,” because his activism, and especially his
activism in the street, Sunday after Sunday for nearly 40 weeks, is
prioritized [by the police and State Security] as a target of
repression. Armengol seems to forget that the government intends to
defend “Fidel’s streets” at all costs, and the effrontery of the actors,
who don’t seem to diminish, predicts nothing more than greater repression.

It makes sense that after observing strange marks on their skin*,
Rodiles and Gonzales sought independent medical advice. With regard to
Rodiles’ broken nose, such a thing is usually no more complicated that a
simple operation, and the spectacular photo — as any photo of a broken
nose would be — made clear that a blow from a fist had fractured that bone.

At the risk of being wrong, I believe that the “Ladies in White of
Halloween” were apocryphal — a “performance art” action let’s say — by
some people in exile with bad taste**, but probably with the best
intentions in the world, who wanted to pay tribute to the Ladies, and in
particular to one of them who was said to have suffered a miscarriage
after a repressive day months earlier.

With regards to the allegations made by Frank Calzon, I don’t know what
it’s about, but if it has to do with the idea that historic exile
confronting this aggression against activists in Havana is “a sign of
clinging to the past or an indication of looking for other means of
confrontation with Havana,” it is not surprising that groups on both
shores that have openly expressed their opposition to the
reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United
States try to demonstrate support and show that that political decision
was a mistake.

Let me quote Armengol: “More symptomatic still is this evolution, of a
simple and crude display of the Cuban reality — poverty, homelessness,
imprisonment — another in the repressive mechanisms that fall within the
area of speculation.”

To speculate that one has been injected — or not — with those puncture
wounds, is just that: speculation. I do not expect the medical check up
to uncover any anomalies, although to merely inject fear would be
cruelty enough. To speculate that the event even happened — that is to
doubt it — is to try to discredit the couple who founded Estado de Sats
(State of Sats), and turn them into mere buffoons.

Far beyond likes and dislikes, whether or not they are personal, or have
to do with methods or programs, any opponent who faces systematic
repression deserves respect.

Translator’s notes:

*Recently, after participating in violently repressed street march,
Antonio Rodiles and Ailer Gonzalez discovered what looked like puncture
marks on their skin and were concerned that in the melee they might have
been injected with some noxious substance without their knowledge. (See
photos below)

Source: Speculations and Speculations / Regina Coyula | Translating Cuba

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