Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. - http://www.cubafreepress.org

April 21, 1999, date, Cuba Free Press.

CUBANS FEEL CLIMATE OF FEAR FOLLOWING NEW LAWS AGAINST DISSIDENCE By Orlando Bordón Gálvez

HAVANA - Voices are rising throughout the civilized world to repudiate the recent coming into effect of Law 88, the Law for the Protection of the National Independence and the Economy of Cuba, due to the fear elicited by its far-from-remote consequences.

This climate of fear is generated, in the first place, by the menacing attitude assumed by the government in the approval and publication of that text, seemingly very much aimed at silencing at all costs and regardless of any political price, independent journalists and peaceful opponents.

Many foreign analysts foresee the prompt application of this juridical stunt to be either selective or massive. But either case would still imply new prison sentences of up to 20 years just for presenting as public information the face of a daily reality that the ruling regime prefers to hide.

The international fear is indeed worthy of consideration. The population of the island is quite concerned about what the independent communicators might suffer if they become victims of the grim Cuban penitentiary system. Of course they do not underestimate the price to be paid by the Cubans upon the abolition of the defensive mechanisms embodied in the channels currently open to denounce the multiple violations of their civil rights.

What immediately surface in approaching this matter in non-official circles are the dangers implied for all in the habitual aggressiveness of the official repression and propaganda machinery. It is aimed at disqualifying in the human and the political sense anyone attempting the smallest deviation from the required subservient positions.

There is a well generalized national question: If there is no respect now for the personal decision of choosing the desired path, what would be left when the counterpart forces are gone?

Judging by the perceivable fear in the social environment it can be expected that without the independent communicators all current historical records of repression are going to be broken. To be expected, for instance, is an increase in the numbers of those who support the tropical socialist system with their votes in the one-party-only elections, an increase in the numbers of members of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution and in the totals of henchmen of the "rapid response brigades," not to mention neighbors dedicated to the task of informing the police or the Office of State Security (OSS) about dissidents.

That the fear has gone deep is evidenced by the fact that upon publication of the law, few people who were asked to suggest a probability scenario believed in the possibility of a resurgence of the independent voices.

What is going to happen in practice if the law is applied nobody knows for sure. But the high number of people who have become self-inhibited just by the promulgation of this law is by itself a very significant event. It is like a movement in favor of the monster that engendered it. Or like those butterflies that even if they know they are going to die, cannot help but fly toward the flames - which in this case will not be of the purifying kind.

Orlando Bordón Gálvez, Cuba Free Press.


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