Saturday, October 24, 2009

I am Panfilo

The above video shows Juan Carlos González Marcos, better known as “Pánfilo,” interrupting an interview on the streets of Havana, Cuba. His loud comments regarding the tremendous need in Cuba for “jama”—the slang Cuban word for food—stuck with many viewers when the video reached YouTube a few months ago, and the clip spread quickly on that site as well as in Miami newscasts, magazine covers, and several websites that ran his words as a lead story.
González was arrested in August by the Cuban police. He has now been sentenced to two years in prison for “precriminal social endangerment,” an ambiguous charge that has been in use since the 1960s in Cuba.
The man himself is no activist. Pánfilo is one of many who liked to have drinks in the park where the video was shot, and he was drunk in this instance and presumably speaking his mind, like many drunkards do. It is not completely a surprise, even when the man himself is not a dissident, neither a social activist nor a person trying to gain any sort of publicity.
He is just a drunkard, but spoke his mind and in Cuba that is a heresy for the Castro’s regime.
The arrest and two-year sentence are certainly difficult to defend, and now Panfilo is in the National Psychiatric Hospital, in Havana, “trying to cure his addiction to alcohol”.
I hope they only cure his alcoholic addiction and not his honesty to speak loudly what every Cuban think.
Cortesy of the video: Youtube