Imagine a place where someone is always watching your every move. You start off your day, you leave your house, and you’re being followed. At night, you return and they are still there. Those who watch over you take turns, but they are always there. They spy over your actions—whether it is a family festivity, your job, or an academic event. You live like a dangerous criminal when you have committed no crime. The described scenario sounds a lot like Cuba, and that’s because it is about Cuba. Yoani Sanchez has published an excellent new post, titled “The Country of Long Shadows”.
It starts like this…
There are two men on the corner. One is wearing an earphone while the other peers into the door of a building. All the neighbors know perfectly well why they are there. A dissident lives on one of the floors of the building; two members of the political police watch who comes and goes and keep a car nearby to follow him wherever he goes. They don’t try to hide because they want this person, who signs his name to his critical opinions, to know they’re there; they want his friends to distance themselves so as not to end up caught in the network of control, in the spiderweb of vigilance.
It is not an isolated case. Here, every non-conformist has his own shadow — or a whole group of shadows — who follow him around. The so called “securities” also use sophisticated monitoring techniques that range from bugging phone lines and placing microphones in homes, to tracking the location of their targets through signals from their cell phones. The effects on the personal lives of those who suffer these operations are so devastating that we have come to refer to State Security by terrible names such as “The Apparatus,” “The Armageddon,” or “The Crusher.”
Read the whole thing here.