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Extremist Today, Democrat Tomorrow

Extremist Today, Democrat Tomorrow / 14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez

14ymedio, Generation Y, Yoani Sanchez, Havana, 31 August 2016 – In the
nineties, this student was one of the most militant in his
classroom, until he managed to get a fellowship in , and today he
writes asking me, “Why do you put up with so much and not rebel?” From a
rabid militant of the Young Communist Union (UJC) he went on to carve
out a history as a clandestine fighter for the democracy he had to
escape to because on this island “little could be done.”

The story of this colleague, who overturned his ideology at breakneck
speed, came to mind lately on reading the intense controversy over the
work sanction against the Radio Holguin Jose Ramirez Pantoja.
The young reporter published on his digital diary a statement by Karina
Marron, deputy director for the newspaper Granma, where she defined the
current economic and social conditions as the basis for “a perfect storm.”

Along with the disciplinary measure, which consisted in permanent
separation from his job at the station, Pantoja had to undergo a process
of public disqualification that reached its climax in a text signed by
Aixa Hevia, vice of the Cuban Journalists Union (UPEC). The
official accused him of wanting to “create a history that allows him to
cross to the Miami media.” Perhaps a projection of what she herself
would do if the opportunity presented itself.

It would not be the first time that a well-known face from Cuba’s
official journalism ended up “crossing the pond” and declaring on the
other side that it was because “at that time I believed, but not any
more.” The greatest extremists I have met in my life have ended up this
way: burying their red or olive-green attire, without intoning the
self-criticism that would give some relief to the victims they caused
with their outbursts.

Over time, if ever, the instruments of censorship such as Aixa Hevia
undergo a process of selective amnesia and forget all the damage they
did to those who demonstrated greater honesty and consistency. They
leave behind a trail of colleagues they have betrayed and helped to
depose, without even sending them a short note of apology or condolences.

It is not Pantoja, in this case, who is carving out a “history,” but the
sectarians like the vice president of UPEC, who is capable of lashing
out against someone she should defend. As a representative of the
journalists’ union, she should protect her colleague, instead of helping
to sink him. But she has preferred to act in harmony with the censors
rather than in solidarity with a professional who simply defended
of the press, information transparency and the right of his
readers to be informed about what journalists think.

This is not about speculating whether Pantoja will exercise his right to
perform as a journalist in another country because he is prohibited from
doing so in his own. It seems more likely that someday it will be Aixa
Hevia who will shed her chameleon skin to change her color in turn, to
the dictates of the next power for whom she wants to behave as a mere

Source: Extremist Today, Democrat Tomorrow / 14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez –
Translating Cuba –

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