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(en) ucl-saguenay: [A CAT AND ANARCHISTS GAYS IN CUBA par Collectif Emma Goldman - Polémica Cubana (fr) [machine translation]

Date Sat, 20 Aug 2016 14:48:59 +0300


Saturday morning early in Havana. Near Revolution Square, the biologist Isbel Torres arrives by bicycle bringing a basket of vegetables. It will prepare a vegetarian meal for everyone. Optometrist Jimmy Roque, companion Isbel, waiting for us in the house where they live together. An anarchist and gay couple living in an occupied building, maybe he does not need more displeasing to the Cuban government. Then comes the historian Mario Castillo. All are members of libertarian anarchist collective Atelier Alfredo López, a Cuban anarcho-syndicalist. Since 2010, the group organized discussions, demonstrations and direct actions on the island. Maintenance should be done in a tone of voice a little low, because other families also occupy parts of the building that was once a cultural center that is abandoned today.

VICE: When the libertarian Workshop Alfredo López was born and what did you do there?
Mario: Our first event was held April 25, 2010 to organize our participation in the march of May 1st. We held a meeting to discuss anarchist origins of May 1, and we have prepared posters for the march. We had an affinity group on libertarian issues, we are born from there.
Isbel: We organized several meetings to try to influence the community and learn about some of the history of the anarchist movement and anarcho-syndicalist in Cuba. Retrieve, for example, history and location Alfredo López disappeared. At school, nobody told us it was an anarcho-syndicalist leader, it said it was a labor leader or that he was a communist.
How to be an anarchist in Cuba?
Isbel: I think the most interesting thing is having to invent it. Many countries have anarchist traditions, but in Cuba, anarchism has been totally eradicated from the political imagination, references to anarchism are almost zero. Here, when we speak of anarchism, people do not know what it means.
Jimmy: It's difficult, it cost me my job, I was fired because I was an anarchist.
And how do you know?
Jimmy: They have told me.
Where were the anarchists in the Revolution? Alongside Fidel Castro?
Mario: Cuban anarchists know from the beginning the true face of Fidel. Many of them knew the political intentions of Castro and his nationalist and megalomaniac mentality, it was someone who was willing to do any kind of alliance for power.
And after the revolution, what happened to the Cuban anarchists?
Mario: they were repressed. Anarchists were a favorite front lines of the revolutionary government. There were executions, arrests and some went into exile.
In the 80s, there is information that circulated on a libertarian group called Zapata, some members would have remained in prison until they die. What happened to them?
Mario: I searched their families, I have their family names and I know that some were from San Cristobal and Los Palacios, but I found nothing more. It seems that this is the consequences of fear, for a while I thought it was only an invention of people doing research on the history of anarchism in Cuba. In over ten years of research, I am still the same, without information. After the revolution, the Communists took control devices of culture and education, and they have created a new historical memory in Cuba, they are the only protagonists. This caused havoc because it erased all memory of social struggle in the country.
Since the government can tell the story in his own way, you're not afraid that by 20 or 30 years is going the same for the libertarian Workshop Alfredo López?
Isbel: We speak different circumstances. Now we have the opportunity to talk about our everyday history and part of our job is to inform us about all this, to make us visible in other countries such as Brazil, France, Germany, that they know about us.
And how a young Cuban anarchist anarchism knows when he has never read books on the subject and that he knows that the official story?
Mario: It was discovered anarchism that by pure chance. It is possible that new technologies have helped us. On the internet people can also find some of our work.
The Cuban press is tightly controlled, as is it to have one voice in the country?
Mario: It's just a tool of the state in the process of nationalization of the social imaginary. Watching TV has become a political attitude to Cuba. For young people this means that you are part of the system and let you indoctrinate. People ask, "Why are you watching this shit? ".
I see that the Cuban youth today has more proximity with Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar with Fidel. Why ?
Mario: I personally think that those who control the country know that myths, symbols and references to the past are worn today. They channel the crisis to other myths that are less harmful to them, I think we are well aware of this symbolic crisis we are experiencing.
Isbel: The system is emptied of meaning for the future of youth. Where are the codes of beauty and success? In capitalism. The rulers have created a society so boring that all success and beauty images that fascinate young people are from what they see abroad, because this company has no capacity to create such references.
Mario: The references that younger looking are harmless to the status quo, they do not pose a problem for the government. Young people think short term and do not care about what will happen in Cuba in 20 years.
And what will happen in 20 years?
Mario: It will be a capitalist country "normal" with ultra-rich, the gentrified neighborhoods, racism, a destroyed environment.
What is your opinion on the changes that will be made possible by the end of the economic embargo of the United States?
Isbel: The US government has changed its strategy to return to the same situation before the revolution. This relationship allows to convert Cuba into what it was before the revolution - an island for leisure and tourists. This means a huge impact on the environment, for example. The entire coast is now ready to be explored further and receive more cruises. Tourism will destroy Cuba.
After the revolution, all Cubans have a home, health and education free. To what extent is this true?
Isbel: The housing problem is one of the more serious. There are people who have lost their homes because of a cyclone in 2005 and are still homeless, they are in hostels. In addition, the normal is to live three generations under one roof, which generates large family conflicts. Imagine for the LGBT community, as it is difficult to live in homes where others do not accept you.
Mario: And there are already slums in provincial capitals. When you go by train to Camagüey, passengers must organize and close the windows because they can be attacked during the night. Education has been universalized, everyone has access but was also fully nationalized and subordinated to the interests of a ministerial elite. Education is very authoritarian propaganda.
Jimmy: In health there is a lot of bureaucracy, it is very difficult to get a specialist consultation because it must provide a lot of papers.
Mario: The most important funding source of the state's Cuban doctors now working in other countries such as Brazil and Venezuela. This creates a national health system compression process.
Isbel: Priority is to export doctors, why so many health centers here are not working with professionals. It is not Cuba that is motivated by a humanitarian sense, it simply sends doctors to countries where they have more money.
Sometimes you do not feel close to the right in his claims?
Isbel: I think so, but it's a matter of perspective. The Cuban National dissent right is an opposition that does not have many proposals. They meet in a common sense to very simple requirements on human rights and democratic freedoms, essentially trying to normalize Cuba, make it like other countries of the world. There are many elements that we also are demanding such as freedom of expression, human rights, but the problem is the country you envision for the future. To the right, there is talk of creating a "standard" country, but for us it means a development paradigm shift and emancipation. Criticism dissent the pace of change, they want more quickly. For us, the problem is not the speed but the direction of change, where everything comes this - and here there is a radical difference between us.
What is the worst for Castro, a Yankee capitalist or a Cuban anarchist?
Jimmy: A Cuban anarchist, of course. Because the other was the same thought that Castro.
And what is worse for a Cuban anarchist, a Yankee capitalist or a communist like Castro?
Mario: Neither is useful for society that we dream.
Isbel: The way to ask the question implies a supposed dichotomy, but that does not exist. In the anarchist perspective, both options are equal. The Cuban State is already creating spaces where it is being put back to give investment opportunities to large foreign capital. For example, the port of Mariel, built with investments from Brazil and that is precisely a future space of the direct exploitation of workers.
Mario: There is no conflict between them, they are similar. They are perfectly allies. To open a small capitalist enterprise, here you go to a municipal body and give you permission. But to create a cooperative, one must obtain permission from the State Council, the highest authority of government, that usually does not grant you. In other words, the Cuban government has more confidence in a capitalist in self-management of workers.
And how is the repression of the Cuban government?
Isbel: We have no experience of strong repression, what we have is a constant monitoring of our homes, our phones, our mails. Not because we have suspicions, but because we have evidence. In 2009, we organized a march against violence in Havana and the following year, using just our phones, we called another march on the same date. But it was all fake, it was just matter of making fun of the state security. We passed the place where the meeting was supposed to take place and we saw all the safety device which occupied the place.
Mario: After 50 years of institutionalization of fear, it is not necessary to explicitly repression. Fear is already installed in the company, this is sufficient. As police in Brazil they have batons and pepper gas, they also have the same things here, but we know they do not have a great need to use them.
What happens if the police finds us here, three anarchists and an international journalist?

Isbel: Today, nothing happens.
Mario: There may be many things.
Jimmy: They can put us in prison, perhaps.
Isbel: Precisely because we do not know what can happen, it already gives an idea of the kind of country we live in. The power structure is not working exactly within the law, they process them, they act as they see fit.

Gabriel Uchida

http://ucl-saguenay.blogspot.co.il/2016/08/cuba-entretien-avec-des-anarchistes-de.html
------------------------------------------------
WHO ARE WE ?

The creation of our blog coincided with meetings of the IV Critical Observatory of Havana. From 12 to 15 March 2010 were held in San José de las Lajas, a town near the capital, dating from the fourth critical Observatory Cuba. The event, coordinated by the Chair Haydee Santamaría gathered a good number of people from all over the island, and who had the opportunity to present, listen and consider the libertarian ideal and practices self-management as an alternative to contemporary Cuban society. Two editors of this blog were at San José de las Lajas.
Since then, the libertarian Workshop Alfredo López was born in Havana, it was formed by a group of young libertarians trained in the critical Observatory.
We are a group of people gathered around a goal, to make known the new political, social and cultural panorama that today draws in the island where informal groups of young workers, artists and scholars gathered and gather around discussions, publications, lectures and events at political and cultural independently of official structures dominated by big government.

http://www.polemicacubana.fr/?p=11342
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