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Forbidden City
By Enyor Díaz Allen

By: Enyor Díaz Allen, political prisoner and prisoner of consciente, member of the Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy and Eastern Democratic Alliance. He is serving a one year sentence at Combinado de Guantánamo prison for the supposed crime of “disrespect.”

By: Enyor Díaz Allen, political prisoner and prisoner of consciente, member of the Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy and Eastern Democratic Alliance. He is serving a one year sentence at Combinado de Guantánamo prison for the supposed crime of “disrespect.”


There is an excellent film called “The Lost City,” sparring Cuban American actor Andy García. The film reveals the struggle of the Student Revolutionary Directorate and the end of Fulgencio Batista’s dictatorship as well as the beginning of Communism in Cuba. It is true that at that moment happiness arrived for many, while for others an uncertain era began, with firing squad executions, prisons, forced exile, and I-don’t-know-how-many additional precarious situations currently being lived through.


More than 490 years have passed since Diego Velázquez founded the first town in Cuba: Baracoa, which at that time was called Nuestra Señora de la Asunción (Our Lady of the Assumption). Nearly five centuries have passed and it is still there, beautiful as always despite its years and government neglect. Its tasty chocolate, immense cocoa fields and delicious roasted nuts are its banner; as well as its beaches and its rivers which are among the finest in the country. Its famous hill road, La Farola, unique in the whole country; the Yunque mountain which rises majestically over the hill; its great wide fields, its beautiful women. A true earthly paradise.


But unfortunately, not even masterpieces are perfect. The Island’s Communist government has brought all its power to bear against this city, like a virus that is destroying it bit by bit. Its citizens suffer repression on a daily basis from local authorities. Many complain that it has become practically impossible to live in it. The young people who frequent the foreign currency stores, are detained and charged with being pimps, and the women with being jineteras or prostitutes, since many tourists visit Baracoa.


In other cases, many employed men are imprisoned for pre-criminal social dangerousness, merely because they spend their nights drinking alcoholic beverages to forget the hell through which they are living. Others are imprisoned for this “crime” because they have refused to collaborate with or serve as informants for the police such as Armando Paumier, who was sentenced to two years imprisonment.


Many people who were affected by the recent hurricanes have still not received government aid. Much of the construction material designated for storm victims ended up in the hands of the police, delegates, and leaders of the Cuban Communist Party and the Assembly of Popular Power, but never in the people’s. Families who had to make homes out of bus shelters and others who built makeshift housing with their own means were forcibly evicted by the authorities.


The courts and the police (who are agents of repression), along with the local government are like an organized brotherhood or mafia. The police accuse citizens without evidence and the courts sentence them unjustly, as in my own case. I was sentenced for supposedly commiting “disrespect” in a fascist trial without any legal representation—a hearing where all the witnesses were military personnel and the courtroom was full of State Security officers.


In December 2007, the town’s political police, as part of its normal operations, received an order to mount a full-scale repression operation at the home of the Rodríguez Lobaina family located at Calle Marti #434, Apartment F, where the brave brothers Nestor and Rolando live. They promote university reform through a project called “University Students without Borders” which seeks to restore university autonomy in Cuba. According to Cuban intelligence agencies, there was a plan to hold a march down one of the city’s streets with participants bearing torches. Since that moment, everyone who visits that marvelous place looking for the above-mentioned home gets detained.


The first were the young Denia Rodríguez del Toro, Carmelo, Yordis García Fournier, Jorge Corrales Ceballo, Joanny Beltrán Gamboa, and others, who were deported on December 23rd that year. They repeated the effort on the 28th, which is like April Fool’s Day for Cubans, but in December. What a paradox! On both of these days, Rolando was detained, as their guest, and held at the Operations Department, located on El Salvador (The Savior) highway in Baracoa. As he tells it, there was nothing salvific about it, not at all!


The events of summer 2008 had not yet occurred, but, as I understand it, 14 young people were deported from the city. Afterward, others who were not from the city, were also forcibly removed, including Guantanamo residents themselves. Ladies and Gentlemen: Vists to that house are not allowed!


There is also the other family home, belonging to the young men’s mother, located at Calle 9 #62, Reparto Joa. The municipal authorities do not allow any outside person to frequent that place either. It is a strange thing, not experienced in any country in the world. I myself have visited the home, using special means and ways of not being perceived, because otherwise I would also be fodder for repression. Sometimes one gets used to it, but at the bottom of our hearts we know that this situation is the weight of a mercenary boot imposed on us. There are two checkpoints in the city, where military personnel search a list for our names. If one is recognized as being on that list, then he will have to spend the night in their dungeons and then be internally “repatriated,” in his own country. The first checkpoint is at the entrance to the Moa-Baracoa highway called Santa María. The other is in Glorieta, near the province’s capital city but in the direction of La Primada. Although the province stands out because of the US naval base located in the municipality of Caimanera, it can also be identified by police checkpoints like the famous Cold River on the Santiago-Guantánamo highway. And that’s without telling you about Combinado de Guantánmo provincial prison!


For any citizen from this place, life seems pleasant: good coffee, the mystery of cocoa, refreshing coconut milk, crystal clear rivers and beaches, the Indian caves that transport you through time, the majestic Yunque and its bride, the Sleeping Beauty, mountainous massifs s that symbolize the city as much as the incredible human construction called La Farola, and why not, the easy going manner of the Baracoans. But dissent exacts a heavy price in this part of the world. That’s how the military personnel born her were educated. People do not understand or know anything about politics or civilization. Their sole mission has been to survive thanks to the crab, coconut oil, as well as plantain skins as a main course during the 90s, among other local cusiine inherited from the indigenous peoples.

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