State Security Tactics in Cuba / Iván García
Ivan Garcia, 11 May 2016 — Daniel Llorente Miranda, 52, is a spontaneous
dissident. He doesn’t belong to any opposition party, nor is he an
un-gagged journalist. He is on his own.
Last 22 March, with the stars and stripes on his shoulders, Llorente
found himself in the area of the United State Embassy, waiting to greet
President Barack Obama, after he met with a group of opponents,
activists and alternative journalists.
Mixed race, a little overweight and short, Daniel defends authentic
democracy, believes in freedom of expression and is openly anti-Castro.
He shares his narrative peacefully.
On Monday, 2 May, among the many people gathered at the Avenida del
Puerto to greet the Adonia cruise ship, again flying the stars and
stripes, Daniel Llorente was interviewed by the foreign corespondents
when, apparently spontaneously, a thin man with a gray cap, interfered
in his exchange with the press, first contradicting him, second act,
triggers a blast of support for the regime and he ends up insulting it.
Nearby, five or six brawny guys looking like military in plainclothes
join the dispute with the typical verbal verbal lynching: Mercenary!
Traitor! Turncoat! ’breaking’ Llorente’s interview with the foreign press.
Then, an undercover agent summoned a police car and the spontaneous
dissident was arrested. Before they put him in the car he got a few slaps.
You don’t have to be very insightful to understand that everything was
staged. When the altercation got hot, the act of repudiation was joined
by people who, supposedly, are not used to different opinions because of
their doctrinaire education.
The line of plainclothes agents was in the immediate vicinity of where
the independent and foreign press were working. When hearing critical
opinions of the government by those being interviewed, we hear shouts of
Viva Cuba. But nothing is by chance.
According to a resident of San Isidro, a neighborhood a stone’s throw
from the cruise ship terminal., “The lady that was asked to throw water
on the guy (Daniel Llorente) sells clothes in the black market. She was
formally warned by the police several times and they tried to make her
work with them to denounce those selling drugs and prostituting in the
area. The black guy with the tattoo is also shameless and corrupt, he
was in the war in Angola and belongs the soldier’s association, like the
old many who started the discussion, a hard-line member of the CDR
(Committee for the Defense of the Revolution).”
It’s not new that the marginals and delinquents collaborate with State
Security. Nor are acts of repudiation something new. Many analysts
believe they started in 1980 with the emigration of twenty-five thousand
Cubans through the Mariel Boatlift.
But the date goes back further. As far back as the spring of 1959, when
Fidel Castro supporters, with permission from the authorities, burned
newspapers and magazines that reproached the government.
These mobs arrived to injure the journalists critical of Castro. And
they were part of the stating of the “people outraged by the unpatriotic
role of the press.”
They mobilized sectors of the people to confront those who disagreed and
to support Castro’s measures. They did the same to homosexuals, lovers
of rock music, and the owners of french fry stands.
The year 1980 marked a turning point in the acts of repudiation. And
those who were not outcasts nor bourgeoisie. Nor “mercenaries” nor
“counterrevolutionaries.” They were par of this silent mass who
apparently applauded a cause, but at the first opportunity fled their
These verbal lynchings came to be very violent. Dozens were reported
injured by beatings and stones thrown by enraged people.
Currently, this reprehensible method is used principally against the
dissidence. The site of the Ladies in White in Lawton, or Antonio
Rodiles’ house in Miramar, have been surrounded by children and school
kids from nearby schools who attend without even knowing the background
of the event. They staged a wild party with music to disrupt the
activities planned by the opposition.
On 20 March, just when Barack Obama’s Air Force One took off for Havana
from Andrews Military Base in the United States, the cowboys of the
political police formed their human shield with about three hundred
people, to repudiate the Ladies and White and dissident activists.
This has occurred every Sunday for more than a year. After the opponents
leave Santa Rita church, the insults, beatings and arrests start. The
police authorities can arrest the dissidents alleging any reason,
without having to resort to violence or the show.
But it makes up a part of the decalog of the autocracy” counterposing
the political differences with a swarm always superior in numbers, of
revolutionaries ’disgusted’ with those who oppose the Castro.
The public money, with no consultation with the ordinary people, is
spent preparing the act of repudiation. Urban buses are diverted and
commerce in the area is paralyzed. Hundreds of students are workers from
the area are mobilized, mixed with the paramilitaries of the so-called
Rapid Response Brigades.
The expert officials from the Department of State Security manage all
the threads. They are worn out strategies. Every dissident or
independent journalist has suffered the same thing. Their function
continues to be intimidating the opposition and engaging their supporters.
The purpose, very simple: the street and public spaces belong
exclusively to Fidel Castro’s supporters. It may not be fascism. But
Source: State Security Tactics in Cuba / Iván García – Translating Cuba