“In the beginning it was the Word…” (John 1, 1). So says the beginning of Saint John’s Gospel. Also we remember our greatest poet Dulce María Loynaz who wielded that versicle to express her opinion in relation to the old philosophical debate of what came first: the word or the action. The word is the distinctive and exclusive expression of the human condition.
When there are censured words in acountry, something is hurt in its humanity. When words are executed in amedieval Index during the XXI century, something is going pretty bad in that country. Some weeks ago, the digital newspaper “14ymedio” investigated and denounced a list of words and propernames that are censured by ETECSA, presenting their findings beforethis company and before the Communication Ministry immediately.
Words like convivencia, democracy, human rights… names of civil society groups like “14ymedio”, Unpacu, Somos +, Damas de Blanco…and proper names like José Daniel Ferrer, Yoani Sánchez, Berta Soler and more, have been censured in the three categories: words, group names and propernames.
How will be the present and the future of a country where the word convivencia is censured? What signal is sent to the world when the word democracy is blockaded or the phrase human rights is demonized? To prohibit words and make them communication blockaders is a crimenot only against human rights, but against the essence of humanity.
The use of these words blockades the text message, SMS, hat is sent from your cell phone, however, it is chargedal though it never arrives. We could stop at the criminal fraud that is tocharge a service that is not provided or in the correct compensation that the company should pay to the customers for the thousands of blocked and charged messages. But about this, other means of independent press and international news agencies have already talked.
With all respect, we prefer toadvance to the heart of the problem, which is not new. The censuring is old since the footnotes of the written press of the sixties and was coming from the old regimen. It has passed over gray lustrums and prohibitive decades, and has mutilated the literature, arts, the Internet, theater, movies….but as the XXI Century advances and the world changes around us, it is almost hallucinatory that some authority dedicates human talent, resources, software and time to create a list of words, proper names and group names, similar to the Index of prohibited books of the Middle Age. To pass from the censure to people, fact sand differing works, to the blockade of single demonized words with no relation to anything, without taking into consideration text nor context, is the force of the unreason, the praise of madness.
The mayor problem is to turn the words, which are vehicles of communication and humanization, into walls of the muteness and tools of the dehumanization. Yes, to reprobate words that express anthropological concepts, and what is worse, to blockade the proper names of Cuban citizens, are des-personalizing actions that deny every humanizing and progressive principle.
But we have the serene convictionthat these backlogs of the inquisitorial and medieval past are destined for failure; they do not have neither present nor future. They are rales ofreactionary dark forces which do not retain more means nor reasons but to censure words without a context, to make invisible names of their own citizens,to blockade the communications and to hurt seriously the humanist, honest, open to debate and dialogue condition, bequeathed by the founding fathers of the Cuban nation, that since Varela and Martí they form and will form anunchallengeable part of our identity and our culture. The inquisitive hand has replaced the “honest hand” of the Martí’s poem.
No decision like this one, any absurd and decadent prohibition, could stand against the liberal human spirit, neither the citizen sovereignty, nor the freedom of the verb, nor the free circulation of communications and information… simply because these structural qualities are not only human rights, nor are conquests of the contemporary civilization. They are all of this and even more:
They are part of the human condition.
We trust that this regrettable mistake that hurts, subtly but seriously, the dignity and human condition will be corrected rapidly, and Cuba could return to be faithful and coherent with the humanist, progressive and liberating tradition with which has been identified since her more pure and honest founding roots. And if “in the beginning it was the Word”… the present and the end will be definitely of the word.
Pinar del Río, September 8th, 2016.
Festivity of the Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre,
In the centenary of her proclamation as the Mother and Patroness of all Cubans