July 16, 1997
From the Darkness of the Cave The Voices of Cuba's Independent Journalists
by Miguel Fernandez Martinez
For several days now I've been thinking about Hector Peraza, about Olance
Nogueras, about all the independent journalists who are struggling to exercise
their profession here in Cuba. And I keep remembering that one quote of Jose
Marti, the Father of our Republic, when he said that a single Truth uttered from
the depths of the darkest cave is more powerful than any army.
This turns my thoughts to the recent events on this troubled and isolated
island. Hector Peraza is being detained in a police dungeon, thanks to State
Security. God only knows what excuse they'll use this time to charge him of some
crime and take him to court, where the inevitable outcome will be a guilty
verdict and imprisonment, his only and most terrible crime being, like the
others, daring to breach the silent walls of State censorship.
In Santiago de Cuba the repressive apparatus has arrested Nicolas Rosario
Rozabal. In Cienfuegos they're taking aim against Olance Nogueras. Joaquin
Torres, director of HavanaPress, was attacked and beaten cruelly in his own home
by the so-called defenders of the Revolution, Socialism and the Fatherland. And
the mother of journalist/poet Raul Rivero is continuously threatened by the
political police a pressure tactic intended to break his committment to
his principles. Lazaro Lazo and Manuel David Orrio are dragged in by the
Now Lorenzo Paez Nuñez, a correspondent for the Cuban Independent
Press Bureau in Artemisa, has been condemned to prison by a lightning-quick
trial where not even a minimal legal defense was permitted him.
These are only a few of the more recent events concerning journalists
outside the "official" boundaries. Many associate these occurrences
with the up-coming XIV World Youth and Students' Festival which will begin in
Havana on 28 July. I think that it's nothing more or less than the beginning of
an outright campaign of annihilation against the growing underground press which
will not let up until all are silenced.
The Festival will come and go, but the repression will continue here on
Cuba's streets. As long as there is even one courageous voice raised without
first requesting permission, the harassment, persecution and forced exile will
We are immersed in an all-out war. In the depths of this huge, dark cave,
we are fated to speak the Truth for all the world to hear, despite the armies
unleashed to silence us.
July 12, 1997