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Habla Libremente Por Cuba

Habla Libremente Por Cuba

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Every Word Must Be Permitted Within the Revolution
Every Word Must Be Permitted Within the Revolution

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Published by: David Arthur Walters on Apr 11, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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The Clay Hotel
 Every Word Must Be Permitted Within the Revolution
October 1, 2004 (Reposted April 11, 2014) By David Arthur Walters MIAMI MIRROR MIAMI BEACH
The mosquitoes were vicious inside my hotel room at
Al Capone’s old
gambling hangout, the Clay Hotel on Espanola Way in South Beach. I managed to swat a dozen of them up against the pastel green wall, leaving large splotches of red blood thereon, each  blotch taking on a different meaning for those interested in psychoanalysis or postmodern art. The maid was displeased by the blotting, and ordered me to keep my window closed. "
 No abra la ventana
 She was from Cuba, she said, and she wanted to return to Cuba now that her children were grown and out of school.
Maid work is hard work,
 she groaned,
hard on the back, the legs, and the feet.
 She said the seven-dollars-an-hour, and ten-something on Saturday, barely paid her rent and food  bills.
Americans are all about money, and if you are poor, work hard, and get sick, get laid off, you are ruined, you are thrown out on the street, but not in Cuba.
 Castro had made some good reforms, she said, but she dared not praise them in America, not around Miami Cubans, anyway. When I asked her why not, she gave me reason to worry lest I offend Cubans. Wherefore I asked a Cuban intellectual, who happens to despise Castro yet does his best to give both sides of the story, if there were some guideline that I could safely follow to avoid offending Cubans. "Just be yourself and speak freely," he answered without hesitation. I took his advice, and received a lot of flak including a few death threats from right-wing exiles. Still, I enjoy speaking freely. In fact, there is nothing I hate more than being told to shut up. I will listen to negative criticism, including criticism that I talk too much
the intellectual life for me is one continuous page without paragraphs, and I forget that people have other things to do. But I do not like to be shushed. A Black Panther once told me that my attitude is a "white thing," and that "white men do not like to be shushed." Well, whatever! Maybe he was right: white men do not like to be shushed; I am white; therefore I do not like to be shushed. So I just cannot help speaking my mind. Still, I often have wished that I had kept my mouth shut, so I am finally learning to be more "politically correct" and polite in my speech. Sometimes I inquire in advance as to what is considered discourteous and impolitic. If I get a chance to speak freely with Mr. Castro, I shall politely suggest that he have his government relax the severe restrictions on speech that I have read about in the U.S. newspapers. The restrictions might have been necessary to protect the Revolution in the early stages, but they are, at least in my opinion, presently obsolete and, most importantly, counter-revolutionary. Indeed, if I were dictator of Cuba, I would encourage speech and other expressions which criticize certain faults perceived in my person and my government, provided that the criticism is followed by constructive suggestions for alternative forms of behavior and action; those suggestions would be, in turn, subject to criticism, all of which might not be published for lack of space, as mentioned below. Of course speech that advocates my assassination and the violent overthrow of my government would be
 offense, for who wants to be beheaded? That is, those who criticize me and my

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