A few weeks have elapsed since the shocking deaths at the Psychiatric Hospital in Havana, and the photographs of the emaciated and battered bodies are already circulating through numerous computers. The pictures, almost unreal, are reminiscent of those other bodies stacked in Nazi death camps more than 60 years ago, and, once again, put salt on the open wounds of Cubans’ public opinion.
I will not turn now to all the horror and suffering revealed in each photograph, to the incredible thinness of those unfortunate ones, to the blows, evidenced by the bruises on their meager bodies, to the disrespectful overcrowding of several bodies on the same dirty stretcher –thus sentenced to post-mortem promiscuity- to the insulting filth at the scene, or to the moral poverty of a health system that proclaims itself as the most perfect one in the planet and revokes the rights of others to question it. And I will not turn to those things now because, almost at the same time I was able to contemplate the unimaginable squalor in which these anonymous martyrs of State socialism died, I was browsing through the always-misleading pages of Granma, where the speech made by Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla appeared. The speech was made on March 3rd of this year during the latest session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, and I cannot decide if it disgusted me even more than the photographs. On the front page of the Thursday, March 4th printed edition, a quote from the words uttered without the slightest embarrassment by the high Cuban official jumps out as an irreverent mockery of the whole world:
“Cuba has a worthy and irreproachable track record in protecting the right to life, even by means of unselfish cooperation across its borders”.
It is impossible to sketch an insult out of words. I will just imagine each of these pictures of the deceased against paragraphs of the new herald of the State, to try to find some light, however dim, to explain how so much cynicism can fit into a government. Each of these photos, by itself, is an admonition and a condemnation of the Cuban regime. I wish I could further understand how a young person, such as Mr. Rodríguez Parrilla, looking almost naive, a nameless stranger only yesterday, whose hands were not blood-stained like those of his mentors, offers himself as the volunteer accomplice of crimes which until now –presumably- did not belong to him.
You cannot be civilized and, at the same time, keep your back turned to the Cuban reality. The government’s mask of compassion must not continue to mock essentially moral principles that implicate and compromise everyone. The dozens of emaciated pseudo-humans who have died or who still survive at Mazorra and other “hospitable” institutions of the generous State, political and common prisoners from the dark Cuban prisons, the memory of Orlando Zapata Tamayo and those who preceded him in martyrdom, and all of us who enjoy the dubious privilege of Human Rights Castro-style, should have a place in Geneva -even just a modest virtual, but permanent space- where we could represent ourselves before the world and where we would be listened to with the respect and the Rights we have not enjoyed in our own country for more than half a century.
Photograph taken from the blog “Penúltimos Días”