Thursday, November 29, 2012

Life in a totalitarian society: A thought experiment

Empathy: n. 1. Identification with and understanding of another's situation, feelings, and motives.

Mother and Son

 A thought experiment.

You are a human rights defender in a totalitarian country. You are also a mother, a wife, and a sister.

You have a grown son who his entire life has been mentally challenged but has a love for working on mechanical things.

One day secret policemen come to you and demand that you become an informant spying on other members of the human rights group of which you are a member. You reject their offer saying that you will not be subjected to blackmail.

They warn you that your son will pay.

Three days later he is arrested and held in custody for nine months and then subjected to a show trial and given a 12 year prison sentence.

You respond by denouncing the blackmail and demanding the immediate release of your innocent son.

Two years pass and your son is still unjustly imprisoned and international attention draws some attention to his plight.

Early one morning your sister, who is a cancer survivor, gets a phone call they ask her if she is related to you and they ask you her son's name. You answer all their questions truthfully and then they tell you to talk to your sister and take care of your son or he will wind up the same way.

Unfortunately, this "though experiment" is a reality for Rosa María Rodríguez Gil, her son Josvany Melchor Rodríguez and her sister Dalia Margarita Rodríguez. They are victims of the totalitarian dictatorship in Cuba that is now engaged in such repressive and threatening actions.

Oswaldo Payá died in a suspicious car accident on July 22, 2012 along with another member of his movement, Harold Cepero, but months earlier in an interview with the Associated Press he addressed this case:
"There are political prisoners in Cuba; the son of a member of the Christian Liberation Movement (MCL) was sentenced to 12 years in jail for the sole reason of being the son of a MCL member. His name is Yosvany Melchor Rodriguez and he was artificially condemned in Santiago de Cuba on November 30, 2010, after his mother was threatened by state security forces for not wanting to cooperate against us."
The question that should be gnawing at you after reading all this: What can I do? 
 If you want some answers than leave a comment and you will get a response.


  1. I want answers, what can I do?

    1. First, ask those responsible for this atrocity to free the young man and to stop the threats and harassment against the family.

      Here are some addresses and e-mails:

      Head of State and Government
      Raúl Castro Ruz
      Presidente de la República de Cuba
      La Habana, Cuba
      Fax: +53 7 83 33 085 (via Foreign Ministry)
      +1 212 779 1697 (via Cuban Mission to UN)
      Email: (c/o Cuban Mission to UN)

      Salutation: Your Excellency
      Interior Minister
      General Abelardo Colomé Ibarra
      Ministro del Interior y Prisiones
      Ministerio del Interior, Plaza de la Revolución, La Habana, Cuba
      Fax: +1 212 779 1697 (via Cuban Mission to UN)

      Salutation: Your Excellency
      And copies to:

      Attorney General
      Dr. Darío Delgado Cura
      Fiscal General de la República, Fiscalía General de la República, Amistad 552, e/Monte y Estrella, Centro Habana
      La Habana, Cuba

      Salutation: Dear Attorney General

      Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country