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What it means to be a university student and a dissident in Cuba

Via Pedazos de la Isla:

What it means to be a university student and a dissident in Cuba (A Chronicle)

Ever wondered what it must be like to be a young university student in Cuba who has decided to publicly oppose the dictatorship?  I recommend reading the following chronicle, published in ‘Diario de Cuba’, written by the young dissident Rafael Alejandro Hernández Real, one of the students who publicly questioned the communist functionary Ricardo Alarcon in 2008.  Find out what it means to young and a dissident under a totalitarian system in the very own words and exepriences of 24 year old Hernandez Real:

(My translation)

A month and a day in the opposition

It’s ten thirty at night. My wife sleeps on a bench in the terminal. A book-bag serves as her pillow and one of my t-shirts covers her face, forcing me to think that with just 17 years of age she’d rather not see, or perhaps not wake up.

As an excuse to not fall asleep I cling onto a phrase by Jose Marti: “Sleep is something we do when we have nothing else to do“. But we are exhausted. Barely 8 hours have passed since our last arrest, and it’s been one month and a day since we started as activists from the Eastern Democratic Alliance.

As a youth in love who wishes to remember the important dates he has lived with his significant other, I use a notebook to jot down some notes, and in that fashion, I keep chronological order of what has happened since I began as an activist, with the help of Rolando Rodriguez Lobaina, whom I know since 2009.

A couple of interviews on the radio programs “Barrio Adentro” (Radio Republica) and “Contacto Cuba” (Radio Marti) were my official baptism. They wanted to interview me because I was one of the students who, in 2008, publicly questioned the president of the Parliament, Ricardo Alarcon de Quesada, in the University of Information Technology when he finished a conference about the importance of the unified vote. In a country with a single-party political system, where the State has historically carried out an oppressive mechanism against those who wish to materialize the concept of revolution, nothing could surprise me.

Barely just a month after the radio interviews I was definitively expelled from the Ministry of Public Health, as I worked in the Octavio de la Concepcion y Pedraja GeneralHospital, in the municipality of Baracoa. During a period of three years and seven months I worked as Chief of the Information Department, without ever being questioned or punished for any indiscipline. The reason for the expulsion? Two unjustified absences to work which appeared just three days after my interviews on the radio.

Continue reading HERE.

3 comments to What it means to be a university student and a dissident in Cuba

  • raddoc

    Cuba pre-Castro had a powerful, autonomous University student organization. It was very influential and powerful. It was also extremely leftist/communist and very supportive of radicals. They were very supportive of Castro. Of course one of his earlier dictums was to remove it's autonomy. He could not allow what helped bring him to power to happen to him. It would never again have the power to organize; nor students the ability to lodge complaints. No protest allowed now.

  • asombra

    The university student federation was too influential. College kids are not fit to determine national policy. This was not just a problem with regards to Castro, but as early as 1933, when college kids had a major role in directing national affairs, and their meddling had very negative effects in the long run (including Batista's rise to power).

  • raddoc

    This is very true! And they were horribly radical from the get go-just like most of the Cuban press. They were organized, determined, and really with one voice. There is a great article today in Powerline which delineates well what we are seeing here in the US, and it reminds me of the propaganda issue we had in Cuba:

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2013/02/david-horowitz-how-republicans-can-win.php