Aron Modig: to play the Swede
Jens Aron Modig has managed to perfectly illustrate an expression of Cuban slang that means the ability, at one and the same time, to ignore an issue or obligation, feigning innocence or clumsiness, while pretending it has nothing to do with you.
We knew that the Swede “would play the Swede” when we learned of his ability to sink into the deepest slumber while the car he was riding in was speeding on unmaintained Cuban roads.
After making obviously dictated statements before the international press in Cuba and securing, in this way, his departure from the island, Modig called a press conference that should have been of equal concern to Cuban authorities and Spanish diplomats, who still believe they can save Carromero from his status as a political hostage.
Yesterday the press conference was called off. The justification from Modig and his spokespeople, was that he did not want to do harm to Carromero, a reasoning that in reality is a kind of ethical screen, allowing him to avoid responsibility. Because, on the face of it, the true ethical obligation of the only witness to the accident who has managed to leave Cuba, is to tell the truth, detail the circumstances of an accident in which two Cuban opposition figures died, and reveal whether his testimony was coerced (and if so, in what way). His moral commitment should be, above all, with the mourners, Payá’s own family, who although still grieving have the right to know the truth — and secondly, with the Cuban opposition, which has lost one of its essential figures.
Instead, Modig preferred the diplomatic strategy of using ethics as an alibi.
What is it that Modig has to say that could harm Carromero? Obviously something he didn’t say in Cuba, something that would disprove the official version, and thus the charges being pressed against the Spanish defendant. I don’t understand why, if the truth is what he said on the island, repeating it now in his own country can do harm to the one left behind. Or, as a Cuban humorist commented sarcastically a few days ago, “We cannot imagine how someone who slept through the accident can do harm to Carromero.”
In fact, Modig is not acting in a democratic or transparent way; instead of denouncing Cuban State Security and using the pressure of the press and the international community, he has preferred to negotiate in silence a diplomatic exit in hopes of a release or an indulgence that will never come. The politicians have prioritized the diplomatic strategy and arranged it backstage, disguised as prudence. And the subtext of this deal is that a Spanish citizen in danger of going to prison is worth more than the truth and the cause of the Cuban dissidence, which has cost the imprisonment — and the lives — of too many Cubans.
Thus, although Modig’s spokespeople speak again and again of his commitment to the “fight for democratic rights and for freedom,” and their application “beyond the borders of Sweden,” some Cubans prefer to believe that Modig has chosen an exit of dubious effectiveness, leaving the cause of Cuba in last place. That is, he has “played the Swede” twice over.
Ernesto Hernandez Busto
The axiom, that all it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing, remains true. Modig should seize the moment and hold press conferences telling the world the truth about Oswaldo Paya’s death.