How the Cuban regime is fabricating a case against Archipiélago supporter Yunior García Aguilera
The regime does not care how crude its strategies may seem. It is only interested in quashing any independent initiatives that threaten its control over society, and neutralizing critical citizens.
Why did State Security decide to “burn” an informant just to discredit Yunior García Aguilera? The official media have been tarnishing his reputation for weeks , and in another attempt to turn him into a social pariah, the head of the Ideological Department of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) accused him —with no evidence— of being linked to terrorists. Is their objective just another chapter in the smear campaign against García Aguilera, or is it part of a plan to imprison him, using Law 88, known as the Gag Law, or the 2001 Law against Acts of Terrorism?
All the regime’s dissuasive methods against the playwright and other promoters of the Archipelago citizen platform have failed: despite the negative response by the authorities notified of the civic march on November 15, threats of prison and labor dismissals, the initiative’s promoters have remained determined to demonstrate, invoking the Constitution, which the regime tramples, even though it was drafted tailored to its interests.
García Aguilera, in addition to suffering attempts to besmirch his reputation, without being granted the right to any rebuttal, received a crude threat: the bloody carcasses of decapitated birds left at the door to his house. The intimidation attempts escalated until the act of repudiation to which he was subjected on Monday, November 1.
To discredit him the regime accused him, in an article published on Razones de Cuba, a State Security website, of “being able to sell his own people for nothing” and of trying to “sell it (the Homeland) for a pittance to the soulless piranhas in Florida.”
Rogelio Polanco, a member of the PCC Secretariat and the head of its Ideological Department, accused the organizers of the peaceful demonstration, including García Aguilera, of receiving funding and training from the United States to carry it out.
The regime regularly depicts any Cubans that oppose it as salaried operatives of the American government, though without producing any proof of this. Let us remember that on July 15, four days after the outbreak of the citizen protests that began on the 11th throughout the country and lasted until the 13th, Colonel Moraima Bravet Garófalo, head of the General Directorate of Criminal Investigation of the Ministry of the Interior (MININT), claimed, on state television’s Hacemos Cuba program, that there was evidence of financing from abroad, or “mercenary conduct.”
However, to date, none of the people arrested during or after the protests have been charged with this supposed mercenarismo, as there is no evidence to support it.
On the same day as the act of repudiation of García Aguilera, State Security revealed one of its informants, Dr. Carlos Leonardo Vázquez González, alias Fernando, who participated with the playwright in a workshop on “The role of the Armed Forces in a transition process.”
This individual, however, could not even say that he ever saw García Aguilera receiving money or instructions from US envoys or officials. His assertions that the promoter of Archipelago planned “to devote himself to the counterrevolution in Cuba” and that he expressed admiration for dissident Manuel Cuesta Morúa – denied by the latter and by the editor of the independent 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, in an interview with DIARIO DE CUBA —would not be much with which to accuse him of “mercenary conduct.”
But let’s not forget that the regime harbors in its legal arsenal weapons such as Law 88, of February 1999, on the Protection of National Independence and the Economy; and Law 93 of December 2001, or Law against Acts of Terrorism.
For the crimes provided for in the first, known as the Gag Law, 75 Cuban journalists and opponents were tried and convicted during the “Black Spring” of 2003.
This law was enacted on February 16, 1999. Its first article says that its purpose is “to classify and punish those acts aimed at supporting, facilitating or collaborating with the objectives of the Helms-Burton Act, the blockade, and the economic war against our people, aimed at upsetting internal order, destabilizing the country, and liquidating the Socialist State and the independence of Cuba.”
The regime’s argument against the peaceful demonstration on November 15 is that its promoters seek to subvert the political system and internal order and to restore capitalism.
The regime could also be preparing to use Law 93 against García Aguilera, based on a conversation he had over the phone with Ramón Saúl Sánchez, leader of the Movimiento Democracia, whom the head of the Ideological Department of the Central Committee of the PCC called a “reconverted terrorist” – a description that would actually fit many former members of the Castroist “Movimiento 26 de julio.”
Said conversation, which was edited before being revealed, only reveals Sánchez’s support for Archipelago, while García Aguilera limits himself to telling him that a flotilla off the coast of Cuba on November 15 “is complicated, and would have to be well considered.”
Neither the “revelations” of the informant Fernando nor the conversation published by State Security contain the slightest indication that the Cuban playwright had ever struck against national sovereignty or planned any terrorist acts.
The regime, however, does not need evidence to decree the preventive arrest of an irritating citizen; not even clear proof of any crime. Let us remember that Hamlet Lavastida was imprisoned while being investigated for the alleged instigation of a crime.
The accusation against the artist was based on the fact that State Security, invading the private correspondence of artist Tania Bruguera, discovered a message in which Lavastida proposed to mark Cuban banknotes with logos of the San Isidro Movement and 27N. The message might have been ridiculous evidence in court, but it was enough to keep him in prison for three months.
The regime could, in the same way, arrest García Aguilera and keep him imprisoned for that long, or more. That would be enough to neutralize him and prevent his participation in the march of 15N. With this and other incarcerations, the regime could seek to avert the protest, in addition to toppling García Aguilera as a leader.
Then, as it did with Lavastida, and as it intends to do with Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara and Maikel Osorbo, it may force García Aguilera to choose between jail and exile.
The regime’s strategies are nothing new, and should not take Cuban civil society or the world by surprise. The regime does not care how crude these strategies may seem. It is only interested in crushing any independent initiatives that threaten its control over society, and in neutralizing critical citizens.