Cuban Psychiatric Repression of Dissidents?
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Dear New Politics,
In your defense of Joanne Landy's
anti-Cuba petition, you offer readers a long interview with Sam Farber to
bolster your case. (http://www.wpunj.edu/icip/newpol/issue35/farber35.htm)
While nobody would gainsay his expertise at demonizing the government of an
island in the gun sight of the most warlike imperialist power in history, I
must admit that I was somewhat taken aback by his observation that
Since I have access to Lexis-Nexis at work, I thought I'd do
a little digging--not that I would question somebody so committed to socialism
from below as Sam Farber. It turns out that very little turned up on a keyword
search of "
"Milagro Cruz Cano a blind worshipper who plays her guitar outside tourist hotels, said her instrument had been taken away by police. Last Saturday, she said, someone with an authoritative voice approached her outside a hotel and said, 'Enjoy this until the pope goes, because we'll take it out on you after he leaves.'" (USA Today, January 26, 1998)
I don't know how quite to put this, but playing a guitar in front of tourist hotels is not quite the sort of thing that got Grigorenko tossed into a psychiatric hospital.
The next troubling reference to Ms. Cano is after she has
fled to freedom in the
"A few blocks from where the cameras wait and the people chant, Milagros Cruz Cano, a blind 32-year-old exile, has been living in a tent on the street, existing on Gatorade and water.
"Until the moment she was finally banished from
'When I told my daughter that they allowed me to take my two
dogs, but not her,' Milagros explained through a translator, 'my daughter, she
say, 'Mama, put me in the cage and dress me as a dog, so I can be with you.
Please, Mama, do not leave me.'" (The
Lord knows I hate to sound judgmental, but this business about her daughter begging to be dressed like a dog does strike me as a bit *odd*. In any case, it seems rather doubtful to me that the Cuban "dictatorship" would feel any particular need to orchestrate a campaign of repression against the likes of her. Did New Politics ever consider a petition campaign to defend her right to play the guitar?
When I went googling around with
the same keywords I used on Lexis-Nexis, a bunch of links turned up but they
all ultimately seemed to be based on the book "The Politics of Psychiatry
in Revolutionary Cuba" by Charles J. Brown and Armando M. Lago. Now this Charles J. Brown is a kind of shadowy figure
about whom very little could be revealed except that
he is not the stalwart Charles Brown from
When I went to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch,
two outfits whose dedication to digging up dirt on
Considering the circumstances of the arrest of the Cuban Five, please excuse me if I find the Mederos case somewhat dubious.