Remaking themselves on the global stage, Cuba is in a difficult place for dissidents

Monday August 20, 2018 05:42 PM

Remaking themselves on the global stage, Cuba is in a difficult place for dissidents.

Remaking themselves on the global stage, Cuba is in a difficult place for dissidents. The regime continually crushes all internal opposition and campaigns effectively against any foreigner who dares to openly speak out against the island’s communist government.

However, in the face of such systematic suppression, some islanders resort to their darker side and continue to challenge the regime. Among them is Miami resident Oscar Andres Granados, who continues to pen opinion pieces critical of Cuba’s government. Although Granados is concerned about how he might be perceived outside of Cuba, he admits he is also worried about how his government will react once his articles are made public.

“I write only to defend human rights and to deny the existence of a dictatorship in Cuba,” he said.

Following release from jail in 2015 after being detained for 17 months, Granados began to publish essays critical of the government. He has appeared on numerous prominent U.S. networks, as well as the BBC. In 2016, Granados published a column in the Wall Street Journal.

Granados’ concern about his safety stems from the long history of repression that Cuba’s black community has endured. With little access to media outside of Cuba, Cuban blacks have, in the past, been coerced into staying silent or even committing violent acts at the risk of being labelled a CIA asset.

“I am concerned that I am getting labelled as a rat and a spy because they know I wrote it,” he said.

The inclusion of Granados in the international media for comments critical of the Castro regime received a high level of attention back home on social media in Cuba. However, when Granados initially went public with his thoughts, he received harsh criticism from some Cuban media outlets who wanted to silence him. Granados said he did not have control over how his words were reported and when articles regarding his recent comments would be published. However, he was relieved to see that one weekly tabloid, Cuba’s Extra, had finally come forward to take down his articles in response to heavy pressure from the public and online community.

While Granados maintains he will continue to write articles critical of the regime, he does not fully believe in the way his writing will be received. He continues to hope that the authorities will find out that he still has a voice and won’t be silenced any time soon.

“I do not feel so much fear as the fear of a hypocrite. Perhaps my continued protests should give me the courage to do more and more,” he said.

Contact Maggie Messinger at [email protected].

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