Cubans test official limits on criticism
By PETER ORSI | Associated Press
Pedro Pablo Oliva was the kind of model citizen the Cuban government wants to show the world.
Oliva proclaimed his loyalty to Fidel Castro’s revolution, his support for its goal of social equality and his gratitude for cultural largesse that nurtured his development into an internationally celebrated painter and sculptor. He even did a turn as a delegate in the regional assembly of the western province of Pinar del Rio.
But when Oliva criticized harassment of dissidents and suggested there might be room for a party other than the Communists, he was abruptly expelled from the assembly, accused of counterrevolutionary behavior. He found himself with no choice but to shutter his home-based community workshop after the government withdrew its support.
President Raul Castro has called on Cubans to openly air their opinions as his government tries to revive the struggling economy with economic reforms. But officials have sent mixed signals about where it draws the invisible frontier between loyal criticism and what they consider to be dangerous attacks on the system.
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