Thinking logically, which is the only way I know how, I cannot understand why the Castro regime has chosen to aim its guns at Yoani Sánchez. Leaving her alone would seem to be the wisest course. So long as her light is allowed to flicker in Cuba's longest night, the regime is free to move with impunity in the shadows against those who have not acquired her international celebrity, while targeting her will make its actions against those other anonymous dissidents more newsworthy. Yoani is the knot in the string of the regime's abuses. Without the knot the beads would slide off unnoticed but with the knot they will accumulate into the world's longest rosary of afflictions.
But who am I to question the regime's knowledge of repression and its uses? Their methods have succeeded in obliterating human rights in Cuba for 50 years and one can't argue with success. So perhaps this is the optimum time for them to crack down on Yoani, just before their honeymoon with Obama begins. With friends in high places like Eric Holder and Greg Craig [and now Bill Richardson], Castroites are confident that nothing can derail the "Normalization Juggernaut." So why not do a little housecleaning in expectation of Raúl's tête-à-tête with the wunderkind? Indeed, Raúl's 7-hour interview with Sean Penn, wasn't it a dress rehearsal for his future meeting with Obama? Presidential candidates use stand-ins to practice for debates, and tyrants, apparently, confab with useful idiots like Penn to hone their skills for discussions with democratic leaders without a clue.
When cited to appear at the police station today for advisement (intimidation), interrogation or arrest, Yoani presumed that she would be charged with buying goods on the black market, which is as illegal in Cuba as selling goods there (the crime being "hoarding"). In a recent post recounting her visit to a friend with terminal cancer ["Hospitals: You Bring Everything," Nov. 11], she inventoried all the items which she was able to obtain for her that are not provided by Cuba's health care system: pillow, pillowcase and clean sheets; disinfectant, aromatic and yellow gloves (for cleaning the bathroom); cup and bucket (to bathe patient because the bathtub faucet was broken); bug spray for the room; a fan and radio; a package of food and puree for the patient; medicines; gauze and cotton; needles for the IV; disposable syringes; suture threads (for the surgery); "gifts" for the doctor, lab assistant and security guard; and money for a taxi to take the patient home after her operation (no ambulances are available). Two of these items she specifically noted had been purchased on the black market (the gauze and cotton). This admission could have led to a charge of criminal trafficking and subjected her to fines or imprisonment; but it was inevitable because, in order to represent accurately and truthfully the lives of Cubans on the island, the role played by the black market in furnishing their needs cannot be omitted.
The black market is, of course, the last redoubt of entrepreneurship in Cuba and considered a counter-revolutionary activity because it challenges the absolute monopoly which Castro Inc. maintains on all goods and services on the island. Nevertheless, all Cubans buy on the black market and only regret that they can't buy more. In publicly admitting that she does also Yoani is merely saying that she shares with her countrymen the same day to day struggle for survival. Her conduct exemplifies also the selflessness and altruism which has helped Cubans to survive 50 years of privations. Communism is only communal in the sense that it binds its victims in common suffering, increasing human solidarity by stifling humanity.
If Yoani's initial apprehensions had been correct and she had been charged with trafficking on the black market (the "criminal" activity which criminalizes all Cubans), certain of her putative supporters stateside would have found themselves in quite a quandary; for they have repeatedly condemned Cubans who trade on the black market as morally corrupted by a culture of thievery. In reality, the black market reclaims from the State what the State steals from all Cubans and makes these items available to the citizenry at a lower price than the State would charge them if it even deigned to make them available. This, too, is resistance to a piratical state and the ferocity with which it pursues them proves their effectiveness.
But Yoani and her husband Reinaldo were not charged with "hoarding" but warned against violating the regime's ban on free association by convening a meeting of fellow bloggers. The regime will not allow Cubans to satisfy either the needs of the body or the needs of the spirit. Their bondage is perfect and complete. And now it will also be permanent as soon as Barack Obama can make good on the only promise he will likely keep: unconditional surrender to Castro.