From our Bureau of Socialist Tolerance and Social Justice
This is a news story from mid-June that just came to my attention via the latest “Cuba Brief” written by John Suarez at the Center for a Free Cuba. This latest repressive act by Castro, Inc. sheds light on the heightened fear that is gripping Cuba’s ruling elite.
Anthony de Palma has traveled to Cuba numerous times without difficulty. But he committed the unforgivable sin of publishing a book that highlights all of the repression and deprivations experienced by ordinary Cubans. Even worse, De Palma’s name is linked to El Niuyortain (New York Times), Castro, Inc’s favorite newspaper. How dare he contradict the dominant narrative!
His book The Cubans focuses on the daily lives of ordinary Cubans in the Havana neighborhood of Guanabacoa, the birthplace of Anthony de Palma’s wife. Some of the Cubans featured in this book actually believe in “The Revolution,” at least to some extent, but the fact that their stories are embedded in the context of Castrogonia’s repression and total dysfunction — upon which Anthony correctly focuses — was obviously unacceptable to Castro, Inc.
For full disclosure: I know Anthony. He and I have been in touch for several years, and just before his book was published he, his wife and I had a wonderful and memorable lunch in New Haven’s only Cuban restaurant.
Loosely translated from Diario de Cuba
Cuba’s dictatorship prohibited the entry to Cuba of the American journalist, writer and professor Anthony DePalma, who after an interrogation at the José Martí International Airport itself was put on a flight to Miami and returned to the United States.
“The first time I returned to Cuba since the publication of The Cubans (Cubans, ordinary lives in extraordinary times), and they did not allow me to enter,” DePalma published on his social networks.
The former international correspondent for The New York Times, who has traveled to Cuba several times in recent years, lamented that this time he was not able to deliver the medications he was carrying to their recipients.
“I was never able to deliver the suitcases of medicine that he had brought for those ‘Cubans in ordinary lives’ that he had written about in the book,” lamented the writer, who in 2002 was the winner of a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.
“It’s an unfortunate turn of events. Not so much for me but for the people I was trying to help. But I’ll keep trying,” DePalma said in a response to a sympathetic comment on his own post.
After his expulsion and his arrival in Miami, DePalma visited his friend Jorge A. García, whose testimony is included in his text The Cubans. García, who lost several relatives in the sinking of the tugboat March 13 in Havana Bay on July 13, 1994, denounced what happened to the journalist on his Facebook profile.
“Upon his arrival at the Boyeros airport, and while he was showing his passport and legal documents, two officers in full uniform approached him and demanded that he accompany them to a cubicle and he was interrogated. After several hours of psychological torture, they told him that he cannot enter the Island. And that he would go back to the United States on the next flight,” he said.
According to García, in the midst of fear, the journalist asked about his suitcases and was told “don’t worry, they are safe.”
“After several hours in total isolation, a couple of officers come and take him as a prisoner to the plane. And the suitcases were not returned to him. I leave the conclusions or comments of this flagrant violation of human rights in charge of you,” he said.
Read the whole article HERE in Spanish