"It Is Not Because You Write In 'OnCuba', It Is What You Write,"
University Professor Told / 14ymedio, Mario Penton
14ymedio, Mario Penton, Miami, 26 October 2016 — "It's not because you
write in OnCuba, it is what you write," were the words used by
the authorities of the Faculty of Law of the University of Havana to
tell Juan Antonio Fernández Estrada that he could not continue to be a
university professor. This measure "put the lid on the jar" and provoked
a reaction from the teacher, who says he will not stay silent about this
"I do not want to make a media show of this. I am submitting demands
through the relevant channels and waiting for the responses to a
situation that I consider unjust," Fernandez told 14ymedio by phone,
after an email he shared with friends explaining his situation went
viral on the national servers. He further clarified that had never asked
anyone to share or make public that communication which was meant to be
As of March 2012, the professor has contributed articles to the American
magazine OnCuba, a publication with correspondents in Cuba that is
widely disseminated through informal networks on the island.
The magazine is permitted by the Government and is a refuge for
journalists and academics who see their contributions as a way to
increase their meager income working in the state sector. Fernandez has
published twenty columns ranging from opinions, history, politics and
other topics of interest to Cubans.
"They informed me that my contract as a guest lecturer at the Faculty of
Law could not be continued because I had been asked to resign from the
Center for the Study of Public Administration (CEAP), and having done
so, I had resigned from all of the University of Havana. I told them
that other teachers had continued on as guest lecturers after having
resigned as professors, but they explained to me that my resignation
from CEAP had been for personal problems, the University considered it
was because of my writings for OnCuba, and especially for an article
about President Obama's visit to Cuba," reads an email that Fernandez
sent to his friends.
The article referenced said, "I don't want to know anything about the
Industriales (baseball team) or Obama," published at the beginning of
April of this year, after the visit of the US president to Cuba. In this
opinion column, Fernandez lambasted "the cries that warn us of Obama's
deception" and, putting his finger on the wound, wrote, "We, the people,
we are not the one approaching the United States, nor like sovereigns
did we talk in secret for more than a year with that government, nor did
we invite President Obama to Cuba, nor did we invite him to speak live
on national television."
Given the impossibility of being hired, the professor told them that
teaching was his only work, but the officials, undaunted, spit out that
"you should have thought of that before writing those things."
"I am telling you this because my silence is over this time," said
Fernandez in his email. "The University has not respected my silence all
these years. I didn't complain in 2008, I didn't complain in 2012, but
this time they can't eliminate me without my speaking and responding.
The pressures of the Cuban authorities so that journalists and academics
don't collaborate with the private press and the emerging digital
platforms has intensified over the last year. Presenters on radio and
television were told in a circular transmitted verbally that they were
prohibited from cooperating with these other media. According to a
witness to some of the meetings, they were reminded "within the
Revolution, everything, but outside of the Revolution, nothing," which
motivated everything from letters of protests to continued desertions to
the independent press.
"The confusion of some has been to think that all my problems at the
University of Havana have been because of errors," concluded Fernandez,
"because of naiveté, but it's not like that, my problems have been for
telling the truth, for being dignified and honest, for defending
socialism and criticizing the opportunists and the shameless. These are
my crimes and I will continue committing them."
Source: "It Is Not Because You Write In 'OnCuba', It Is What You Write,"
University Professor Told / 14ymedio, Mario Penton – Translating Cuba -