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Eliecer Avila, Cuban Student Who Challenged the Regime, Returns to the Public Eye

Distrust is a fundamental part of the negative legacy of this system. The doubt when receiving a hug, suspicion in the face of candor, and phrases such as "I'm sure he's with State Security" instead of "I'm glad he dares!" There is nothing more frustrating, for those who cross the line between silence and speaking out, than being greeted with suspicion by others. That eternal distrust they've inoculated us with since we were small children stands as the major achievement of the Castro regime. I'm fed up with being afraid of others, always wondering what their real intentions are, if they get close to me to inform, lie, snoop. I renounce the caution; what's more it slows me down, makes me sad.

The return of Eliécer Ávila*, with his excellent interview for Estado de SATS, has caused my phone to fill with messages in the style of "be careful, he could be a decoy of the political police." I take them all in stride, appreciating the honest concern of many, but not disposed to continue this cycle of apprehension. Eliécer's every word seems born from sincerity. If life some day shows me this was the wrong assessment, I will continue to think that now -- in this minute -- his word was more detrimental to the powers-that-be than any benefit later from some hypothetical unmasking.

When we reject someone or fail to extend a hand for fear that they might be a G2 mole, some obscure official in our native version of the KGB's Lubyanka wins a medal. They feed on our fears, gain strength in the field of intrigue. I refuse, therefore, to continue to make their work easier. At the end of the day it is too ridiculous for a government to brag about having infiltrated secret agents into transparent and peaceful groups. The administration that exercises control from the shadows, because they cannot do it from law and arguments, is laughable.

*Translator's note: In 2008 Ricardo Alarcon, president of the National Assembly of People's Power, visited Cuba's University of Technology to speak before a large room of students. During the Q&A Eliécer Ávila, one of the students, posed a series of questions to Alarcon and their interchange was captured on a video that soon went viral. Among Eliécer's many questions and comments were: Why do Cubans have to work several days to earn enough money to buy a toothbrush? Why can't Cubans travel freely? Why is access to the Internet restricted and censored? The subsequent chain of events remains cloudy and English-language articles are scarce. Here is a link to one report, a second report, a third report.

Yoani's blog, Generation Y, can be read here in English translation.
Translating Cuba is a new compilation blog with Yoani and other Cuban bloggers in English.

Yoani's new book in English, Havana Real, can be ordered here.