Last Tuesday, February 10, my husband, Oscar González Ulloa, was interrogated by the political police. The representatives of the regime always call such interrogations “interviews,” but my style has always inclined to calling things by their right names, particularly if the meeting did not happen with the consent of the supposed “interviewee” and was qualified by the usual friendly threats of the counterintelligence compañeritos from what’s called “Direction 21 of the Ministry of the Interior.”
On Monday the 9th, after 10:30 pm, my husband, an electromechanical engineer directly involved in merchant shipping for over twenty years, got a phone call at home: he was being summoned by “Selecmar,” the Cuban agency that employs him, to present himself at 9:00 am the following morning in the offices of the “sub-director of operations” for a work meeting. Although the call came late at night—a detail that made us both suspicious—there was a real possibility it was about a call to work since he’d been on land for four months already and should be starting the procedures for new call-up (the medical checkup etc.).
We never knew that the stage had already been set on behalf of these artisans of lies and deceit. The scene was the office of the deputy director of “Selecmar”; the actors, two officials from State Security (the “good guy,” conciliatory, chatty, almost loving; and the “bad guy,” silent, austere, severe); the script was, as always: “We know who your wife is, the people she meets, your car has been used to transport counterrevolutionary documents, we will not allow anything that threatens the security of the State…etc.” An “interview” peppered with barely hidden threats, such as referring to losing one’s job (“Do you like your job, Oscarito? You’ve always been very professional…”); questions apparently designed to play on his macho ego (“You are the head of the family, not your wife… but this Yoani and her group with whom she’s carrying on…”); suggestions about having been deceived by me (“You think you know everything…?”). And, as a culmination, like the master thrust at the end of the sweet encounter, the most infamous question, “And your son…?” A direct threat to our youngest son, a 20-year-old student with no connection to any kind of political activism, dedicated entirely to his studies and his hobby, music. Just a sample of this despicable and sordid system, with a total disregard for family values, the true face of Cuban socialism.
I have the enormous satisfaction of stating that my husband didn’t waver, he rejected “collaboration,” which showed his respect for me and for what I do, that he defended, point by point, his values (which are also mine) at the risk of losing his job—which for years has been the only relatively secure source of support of our family—and any other retaliation. Until now I’ve maintained the truth that the regime and its fascists methods haven’t bothered my family; February 10, 2009 marked the end of what was only an indirect monitoring, with questions and inquiries at the neighborhood level and through the CDR, and began the phase of harassment on the part of the government which, in fact, honors the principles and methods that de jure it criticizes: Who is not with me is against me and any means is valid to destroy you. My husband was interrogated for a unique and terrible crime: for almost 27 years he has been sleeping with the enemy.
I make this public to denounce the cowardice of a dictatorship that does not hesitate to exercise its absolute power against freethinking citizens and against their families, a government that hypocritically hides itself to threaten, that lies in order to condemn, that retaliates, and that has proved, for over half a century, the excesses of which it is capable. I also declare publicly that I am not going to shut up about my truths and I will defend to the final consequences my right to speak them, that I will not engage in any illegality and will act in accordance with the Constitution, that I am a free person and I will continue to be one despite any action they decide to take from here on out. From today I make the Cuban dictatorship and its repressive bodies responsible for any injury or harm that I or any member of my family may suffer from this point forward.