Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Lawyers and journalists, in danger

Lawyers and journalists, in danger
HILDEBRANDO CHAVIANO MONTES | La Habana | 9 de Noviembre de 2016 - 13:34

There are two vexing occupations for the Cuban government. One of them
is the legal profession, a career only open to those deemed reliable by
the political police.

But when they leave classrooms Law graduates acquire the irritating
habit of questioning everything, and the training they have received
makes them implacable critics, able to assimilate new knowledge,
interpret it according to their own judgments, and, if necessary, apply
them, or at least try to do so in the particular conditions in which
they live. The Law for them ceases to be socialist and becomes simply
Law, and it is at this point when they are no longer reliable, and
become a danger to the powers that be.

It does not matter if they have been militants, CDR members, the
children of revolutionary families, servants of the revolution, or
pioneers from La Moncada. Law is a difficult career. Those who initiated
the war in 1868 were lawyers. Men from Bayamo, Camagüey, Havana and
elsewhere on the island, including ranchers, landowners and businessmen,
all studied Law. Once in power, Fidel Castro thought seriously about
whether to reopen the Law School.

Journalists, meanwhile, had no School of Journalism, which came only
later, as another mechanism to ensure control over the press. Those now
dedicated to independent journalism do not necessarily have university
studies. Some do, while others have been passed courses sponsored by
Florida International University that have provided them with the
appropriate tools to write a story or an opinion piece, investigate, and
do digital journalism by making the use of new information and
communications technologies.

Despite this preparation and their steady work as independent
journalists, collaborating with various media sources, according to the
political police, the official press and the Communist government, they
are not genuine journalists if they did not attend the School of

In the history of Cuba and the world there are plenty of examples of
renowned journalists who never studied Journalism in college: Ernest
Hemingway, Jose Martí, Mark Twain, Juan Gualberto Gómez, Gabriel García
Márquez, Pablo de la Torriente Brau, Julius Fucik, Jorge Manach, José
Zacarías Tallet, etc. Whether on the Left or Right, there have been
Nobel laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners, patriots and adventurers,
all of them, regardless of their political affiliation, were great
writers, skilled in the art of narration, which is not learned in
college, but by writing, and they all had something in common: the need
to share what they saw.

With this impotent argument they aim to discredit Cuba's independent
press. To make matters worse, a former independent journalist, fallen
into State Security's clutches, for some reason only he and his masters
know, has now been admitted as a journalist in the official press and a
member of the Union of Journalists of Cuba (UPEC), despite the fact that
he was never an outstanding editor, or occupied a post at any university.

Another equally ridiculous criticism is that independent journalists
charge for their published works, when this is true of any journalist in
the world – including those at the newspaper Granma and Radio Reloj.

If independent Cuban journalists could freely publish within their own
country, there would be no need to turn, as almost their only option, to
media based abroad, to provide news or express opinions that pertain
primarily to the people of Cuba and its Government.

The onslaught that the Cuban government is waging against lawyers and
independent journalists at this time reflects the Government's impotence
because, university graduates or not, these two civil society groups
will not be silenced, and will continue to condemn, investigate and give
advice in a country whose authorities do not respect the law, and where
professional journalists are persecuted as if they were criminals,
stigmatized, threatened by police and attacked by vigilantes.

Source: Lawyers and journalists, in danger | Diario de Cuba -

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