Only a week had to pass before the column Receipt Requested [Acuse de recibo] by José Alejandro Rodríguez (Juventud Rebelde, Sunday April 19, 2009 ) was again publishing stories of the Bandits of Báguano, to which I have already made mention in a recent posting: “Banditry in the East?” This time we are treated to a letter sent to the Receipt Requested column of Juventud Rebelde by Roberto Guerrero Sánchez, president of the municipality of Báguano, in which an official says that “ a commission created to investigate the denunciation, including the participation of the Party, the government and the MININT in the territory, verified that the contents of the previously mentioned letter are uncertain.” Ironically, this official communication manages only to confirm what they are trying to deny.
Beyond the urgency with which the ‘commission’ was created and a ‘determination’ reached, our attention is called to the flagrant disrespect the governor of Báguano has for “his people,” not to mention the scorn he has for the intelligence of the journalist and the readers of Receipt Requested. According to the official, the letter that denounces the banditry was written by a resident of Havana who often visits his family in the eastern zone, who also “met with a group of people, some of them elderly women with physical limitations, asking them to sign a petition he was going to use to ensure the problems of crime would be solved in the community. These ‘signers’, as the result of further investigation, were determined not to have understood the contents of what they had signed due to the low level of education offered in this region.”
As you can see, to be women, old and physically limited are disqualifying factors for having opinions in Báguano, even though the text implicitly indicates the existence of crimes in the zone. This was the ‘pretext’ that the ill-disposed man of Havana used to gather the signatures previously, therefore surely he had the twisted intention of gratuitously creating a negative opinion regarding the local government and of damaging the Revolution. Another important fact in the letter from the governor of the zone is that it seems to indicate to us that Arroyo del Medio is entirely populated by illiterates unable to read the contents of the document they were signing. Could it be that the governor forgot that Cuba has been declared an illiteracy-free territory since 1962? As a collateral, this suggests an urgent need to detour teachers who have been sent to Venezuela and other regions of the world back here, to eradicate the ignorance of the people in this important part of Cuban geography. At least this way, everyone will have the opportunity to read and understand exactly what they are signing. It now occurs to me to wonder if these peasants signed the text of Eternal Socialism without being able to read it, or how they select their representatives during the elections for the Popular Power… It’s only one worry that haunts me. If the confusion of the region is due to ignorance, I cannot even imagine the level of instruction given to the settlers of Cuchillas del Toa or of Caridad de los Indios, in Yateras.
On the other hand I would like to know: Who asked this commission to denounce anything? Who allowed them to believe that the revolutionary press is a space for denunciation? I feel incredible compassion for the 20 peasants (who are no longer among the 66 signatures of the original letter) who, according to this official, live in Arroyo del Medio. For it was not enough for these people to have suffered the threats of the unknown bandits who steal their farm animals and crops but going forward, for their civic daring, they will also have to suffer the pressures and condemnations of these other bandits perfectly endorsed by their brand new Party cards and with perfectly authorized government documents.