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Daily Archives: February 10, 2015

Los metaleros planean pasar una semana haciendo sesiones de grabación con artistas locales y tocando en otros eventos en La Habana. Continue reading
La Feria de Turismo de Lisboa (BTL), que se celebra del 25 de febrero al 1 de marzo, espera superar los 70.000 visitantes y destaca la participación de varios países de Latinoamérica como son Cuba, Perú y Brasil, entre otros. Continue reading
"Esta será la primera visita de Serguéi Shoigu a esos países en calidad de ministro de Defensa", dijo el general Ígor Konashenkov, portavoz castrense de Moscú. Continue reading
Candelaria Díaz Gómez es discapacitada, y se ve obligada a hacer sus necesidades fisiológicas en una cubeta a falta de servicio sanitario en su hogar
Al encuentro, catalogado como Puente Cultural Cuba-Embajada República Checa, asistieron integrantes del Club, miembros de los cuerpos diplomáticos establecidos en la Isla, otros escritores, y periodistas independientes Continue reading
By Yunus S SaliuThe new Cuban ambassador to The Gambia, His … , received him on arrival. The Cuban ambassador extolled the President, His … reporting about the Republic of Cuba, which he attested, raised awareness … the Daily Observer and the Cuban Embassy in giving latest and … Continue reading
… now growing its business in Cuba. The company offers its services … to seek business opportunities in Cuba after the U.S. government … mode is credit card. Furthermore, Cuba has poor telecommunication infrastructure even … help Netflix . In addition, the Cuban government exercises a lot of … Continue reading
… between the United States and Cuba just recently improved. Due to … to do more things in Cuba. Netflix is already taking advantage … broadband. As of February 9, Cubans who do have internet access … content from Netflix. Expansion to Cuba is part of a larger … Continue reading
Durante décadas han culpado al bloqueo-embargo de todos los males que aquejan a la sociedad cubana. Ahora que la hoguera amenaza quedar sin combustible aúnan esfuerzo para reavivar las brazas de la discordia Continue reading
… States' diplomatic ties with Cuba. Since then, the two countries … past decade, the Cuban government has gone after Cuban-American cigar makers in … takeovers and accusations that the Cuban government is flouting the embargo … ," says Frank Herrera, a Cuban-American lawyer who represents many Miami … Continue reading
… their very first foray to Havana last week, President Barack Obama … Cuba on Cuban soil despite a half-century of insistent protests by the Cuban … advising their Cuban counterparts on how to serve and protect Cubans of … Fidel. If Cuba plays ball, one day American and Cuban imperial policies … Continue reading
… 10 (Prensa Latina) Venezuela and Cuba are analyzing today new ways … Jose David Cabello and his Cuban peer Salvador Pardo, reviewed the … meeting was very positive and Cuba has great expectations of continuing … , the framework collaboration agreement between Havana and Caracas includes the industrial … Continue reading
Aunque muchos cubanos navegan habitualmente por Internet, estadísticamente sólo el 0.05% de los hogares tiene conexión. Con este panorama, ¿cómo podría desarrollarse este servicio en el país? Continue reading
… , with a large majority of Cubans unable to surf the web … and high-ranking government officials in Cuba would be watching those titles … percent of Cubans currently have access to the Internet. "Cuba has … of the normal monthly wage. Cubans normally entertain themselves by sampling … Continue reading
… current health and prospects for Cuban manufacturing are scarce but available … experience depopulation until 2065. However, Cuba's relatively strong investment … decrease in the share of Cuban GDP accounted for by exports … as a share of the Cuban economy fell from nearly 18 … Continue reading
When the Padres surprisingly hired A.J. Preller as their new general manager in August, team president Mike Dee described him as the candidate who would be best at bringing in... Continue reading
… Daisies head to Cuba as guests of the Cuban Ministry of Culture … the Cuban Rock Agency. The rock band will be in Havana from … venues in Cuba and is considered a cathedral for Cuban popular music … in Cuba is an incredible opportunity. To work and learn from CubanContinue reading
El concierto será el 21 de febrero y viene antecedido por la polémica desatada en septiembre pasado cuando, después de veinte años de censura, Pancho Céspedes regresó a la isla a un concierto público. Continue reading
La AP publicó que la USAID habría subcontratado a la compañía Creative Associates International y a un promotor serbio para “infiltrar” la escena del hip hop y la música alternativa en Cuba, “reclutar” artistas y “avivar a su fanaticada para que luego desafiaran al gobierno cubano” Continue reading
Las autoridades alegaron incapacidad para demoler el edificio que es saqueado en busca de ladrillos y cabillas para nuevas construcciones Continue reading

Los Medias Rojas de Boston están explorando la posibilidad de jugar un partido de exhibición en Cuba esta primavera, informó ESPN.

En estos momentos no hay planes para un juego, pero se cree que un fanático de los Medias Rojas, como el secretario de Estado John Kerry, ha tenido voz en las conversaciones.

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… U.S. and Cuba, Netflix is now available in Cuba. According to … co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings. “Cuba has great filmmakers and a … members.” Sure, Internet access in Cuba remains far from ubiquitous, and … . The only concern is that Cubans will watch House of Cards … Continue reading
Reasons to Live / Angel Santiesteban
Posted on February 10, 2015

My daughter, Daniela, is turning 16 and has written me a letter yearning
for my return, saying that this would be the best present for her — but
at the same time, she reaffirms her support and respect for my way of
thinking and the necessity to make it public, and to go to battle for
those rights. Her words are a caress on my face, a welcome breeze that
soothes my wrinkles and tribulations, a force that rises up my chest and
embraces me. "Papá, you are always with me, you are my pride, I speak to
everyone of you, never was I ashamed of the situation. I carry you
always in my heart, I swear, through everything and at every moment."

As for my son, Eduardo, he also offers me his support. This, despite
maternal pressure and influence from those who love him yet succumb to
their own political cowardice, and surrender before the political
police; even when, in silence, they think the same way I do and admire
me — and expressed as much in the dedications of books that I guard
jealously, in the event that some day, history might understand them.

My children wait for me because they know that I belong to them, and
they need me — and also because I am a friend of both of them, and we
discuss all human issues. Yet they also understand my need to be an
intellectual true to his time and the sacrifice that I savor like honey
in my mouth.


Ángel Santiesteban-Prats

December, 2014. Jaimanitas Border Patrol Prison Unit, Havana.

Translated by Alicia Barraqué Ellison

29 December 2014

Source: Reasons to Live / Angel Santiesteban | Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/reasons-to-live-angel-santiesteban/ Continue reading
Corea del Sur y Cuba mantienen rotos sus lazos diplomáticos desde 1959 principalmente por la afinidad política e ideológica que existe entre el Gobierno de La Habana y Corea del Norte. Continue reading
[1] My daughter, Daniela, is turning 16 and has written me a letter yearning for my return, saying that this would be the best present for her — but at the same time, she reaffirms her support and respect for my way of thinking and the necessity to make it public, and to go to battle for those rights. Her words are a caress on my face, a welcome breeze that soothes my wrinkles and tribulations, a force that rises up my chest and embraces me. “Papá, you are always with me, you are my pride, I speak to everyone of you, never was I ashamed of the situation. I carry you always in my heart, I swear, through everything and at every moment.” As for my son, Eduardo, he also offers me his support. This, despite maternal pressure and influence from those who love him yet succumb to their own political cowardice, and surrender before the political police; even when, in silence, they think the same way I do and admire me — and expressed as much in the dedications of books that I guard jealously, in the event that some day, history might understand them. My children wait for me because they know that I belong to them, and they need me — and also because I am a friend of both of them, and we discuss all human issues. Yet they also understand my need to be an intellectual true to his time and the sacrifice that I savor like honey in my mouth. [2] Ángel Santiesteban-Prats December, 2014. Jaimanitas Border Patrol Prison Unit, Havana. Translated by Alicia Barraqué Ellison 29 December 2014 [1] https://blogloshijosquenadiequiso.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/859607_490975907626596_720857246_o.jpg [2] https://blogloshijosquenadiequiso.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/firma-3.jpg Continue reading
Jesús Aguilero, que llegó a los Estados Unidos desde Cuba durante el éxodo del Mariel en 1980 . Continue reading
Muestra a un asustado y esposado "Gilbert Man" explicando a oficiales del MININT la procedencia de los bienes que tenía en su mansión de Guanabacoa. Continue reading
Mapas de la realidad nacional DDC | La Habana | 10 Feb 2015 – 12:54 pm. DDC estrena una sección de Mapa-Reportajes sobre temas sensibles de la realidad cubana. El primero: la emigración ilegal hacia EEUU durante 2014. Enlace: http://www.diariodecuba.com/cuba/1423569280_12808.html Uno de las grandes retos que afrontan tanto el periodismo independiente cubano como organizaciones nacionales […] Continue reading
El Capitán Tondique vive JORGE ENRIQUE RODRÍGUEZ | La Habana | 10 Feb 2015 – 9:06 am Un proyecto opositor en Colón, Matanzas, da de comer a necesitados, se sostiene con la ayuda del exilio, lleva el nombre de un alzado y resiste las presiones de un régimen que olvida a los pobres y trata […] Continue reading
El pez león aniquila especies en Sancti Spíritus DDC | Sancti Spíritus | 10 Feb 2015 – 12:17 pm. Las autoridades locales incentivan su pesca y consumo. El Ministerio de Ciencia Tecnología y Medio Ambiente (CITMA) incentiva la pesca y el consumo de pez león en Santi Spíritus para intentar controlar la reproducción de esa […] Continue reading
Compró pescado y le cogió miedo a los ojos HILDEBRANDO CHAVIANO MONTES | La Habana | 10 Feb 2015 – 9:16 am. Tras declarare dispuesto a hablar ‘de todo’, Raúl Castro recoge cordel. Cuando parecía que ahora sí iba a por todo, Raúl Castro recoge cordel. Bastó una estrambótica carta de su hermano a los […] Continue reading
Embajadores de Washington y La Habana asisten a una misa del cardenal Ortega en Roma AGENCIAS | Roma | 10 Feb 2015 – 10:41 am. ‘El mensaje del deshielo entre EEUU y Cuba puede contagiarse al mundo entero’, dice el arzobispo. Los embajadores de Cuba y Estados Unidos ante la Santa Sede asistieron este lunes […] Continue reading
El 28% de recargas de celulares de Cuba procede de EEUU DDC | Madrid | 9 Feb 2015 – 10:09 pm. Un estudio de la compañía Fonoma muestra que la Isla supone solo un 1%. El mayor número de recargas a celulares de Cuba procede de Estados Unidos, con un 28%, según datos analizados de […] Continue reading
Trasladan a Ángel Santiesteban a Villa Marista después de publicar denuncias desde la cárcel DDC | La Habana | 9 Feb 2015 – 9:09 pm. El autor reveló condiciones de ‘esclavitud’ padecidas por algunos presos. El escritor Ángel Santiesteban Prats fue trasladado el sábado 7 de febrero desde la prisión de Jaimanitas a las dependencias […] Continue reading
El Gobierno de la isla y representantes del exilio coinciden en rechazar los privilegios de los inmigrantes cubanos, que logran con facilidad la residencia Continue reading
The Economic Impact of Obama's Measures / 14ymedio, Luis R. Luis
Posted on February 10, 2015

14ymedio, LUIS R. LUIS, Washington, 13 January, 2015 — The measures
announced by President Barack Obama will have a moderately positive
effect on the economy of Cuba. Preliminary estimates of additional
revenue to be generated by these measures place it between 400 and 500
million dollars within a period of one year, and a bit more in the
second year. This represents between 0.5 and 0.6 percent of Cuba's gross
national product (GNP). This figure, while modest in absolute terms, is
important in relation to the slow growth of 1.3 percent in the Cuban GNP
estimated for 2014.

The most important line in the new measures is the expanded limit for
remittances to family members. Available figures indicate that
remittances are limited by current regulations in the United States.
Raising the personal limit to $2,000 per quarter would boost these
transactions, as would the availability of credit cards as vehicles for
payments. Thus, following the recent sluggishness in these transactions,
remittances could increase by 12 percent, or $350,000,000 in one year.
These estimates do not take into consideration changes in deliveries
brought in by travelers or sent via transport companies.

The increase in non-Cuban-American, US visitors, is a lesser factor,
although an important one. This number could double above the 2013 level
of 93,000 individuals. The expenditures on the Island of these
travelers, not counting transportation, are estimated near $100,000,000
in 2014, according to expenditures allowed under current regulations.

Obama's measures will benefit US exporters of items such as
telecommunications equipment, medicines and agricultural equipment. It
is difficult to calculate the impact. The resumption of banking
relations between the two countries does not include extending credit to
the Cuban importer, but it will facilitate the financial transaction.
One conservative estimate is that exports could increase by 40 percent
although from a reduced base of $315,000,000 estimated in 2014,
according to statistics from the US Department of Commerce. Cuban
exports to the US are restricted by current North American legislation
that is not affected by Obama's measures.

As is well known, long-range projections for commerce, tourism and
investment will depend on changes in US legal restrictions. They will
also depend on the operating climate and the projects available in Cuba
for foreign enterprises. It is early to evaluate this without knowing
the course that these initiatives by President Obama will take in the US
Congress.

Dr. Luis R. Luis is an economist in Massachusetts and has served as
Chief Economist of the Organization of American States, and Director of
the Institute of International Finance, both in Washington, DC. He is a
member of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy and editor
of asce.org/blog.

Translated by Alicia Barraqué Ellison

13 January 2015

Source: The Economic Impact of Obama's Measures / 14ymedio, Luis R. Luis
| Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/the-economic-impact-of-obamas-measures-14ymedio-luis-r-luis/ Continue reading
Notes About a Polemic / 14ymedio, Antonio Rodiles
Posted on February 10, 2015

14ymedio, Antonio G. Rodiles, Havana, 6 February 2015 – My article
published this Wednesday on the site Diario de Cuba has provoked a
criticism from blogger Miriam Celaya that motivates me to touch on
various points I consider important. In order to mainly refer to the
political themes, I will avoid personal attacks; yet without failing to
mention that the blogger has, in other instances, published high flown
articles riddled with offenses and ill intent against highly respectable
people like ex-political prisoner, journalist, and writer Jorge Olivera,
among others. If she intends to really take part in a political debate,
she should cast this habit aside and concentrate on the points that are
fundamental.

The polarization that exists today within the ranks of country's
opposition regarding the United States' new policy toward Cuba does not
necessarily imply a confrontation but does, in fact, reveal each
person's position quite clearly.

The position to be adopted by the North American government in
supporting change in our country will be of vital importance. We should
not feel any sense of shame in accepting it. In a global world such as
the one in which we live, it would be naïve not to accept that fact,
even more so if in that country resides an important portion of the
Cuban population. The presence of political exiles, professionals,
entrepreneurs, and even Cuban Americans within the ranks of government
provides for a unique and maybe even special feature in our country's
transition and its future reconstruction. In that respect, it becomes
very difficult to find a similar political, economic, and social setting
when speaking of transition in Cuba. Likewise, blocs such as Europe can
be key actors in the process of change if they assume their
corresponding leadership role within the international scene.

The usual comparisons with other transition processes should be
carefully selected. To take the Spanish transition as a reference turns
out to be inexact at the extreme due to the enormous distance between
Francoism and Castroism, but some elements can be considered. Spain's
economic condition in the 1960s, the makeup of a social fiber that
included trade unions and politicians that favored a transformative
process for a society that pushed toward modernization and for which the
regime was a nuisance. The country possessed all of the ingredients to
enter a process of transformation taking Western Europe as a reference.

In the Polish case we should point out that the negotiating table was
set up after years of struggle and repression where the international
scene also exerted constant and effective pressure. The signing of the
Helsinki Accords and support from the West and leaders of such
importance as Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, and the crucial role of
Pope John Paul II allowed the independently run Polish trade Union
Solidarity to reach 10 million members. When in 1989 the Soviet Union
advised General Jaruzelski that it would not intervene under any
circumstance, the Polish elite understood that time was slipping away.
Only under these conditions could the negotiating table come to pass.

The Chilean case is also very distinct from ours. Stability depended on
a middle class formed under a series of liberal economic transformations
promoted by Milton Friedman that strayed far from those started by Raúl
Castro and his advisory group, spearheaded by Marino Murillo. Once
again, there was a great international pressure that obligated the
regime, and the dictator especially, to accept the undertaking of a
plebiscite and its result, even though it was against his wishes.
Despite how bloody the Chilean dictatorship was, its social structure
and dynamics were far more complex than ours, preventing political
patronage from establishing as a form of government.

Never will Cubans be responsible for their futures if the regime can
continue to violate fundamental freedoms with complete impunity.

As I've mentioned in various previous articles, the primary promoters of
the Espacio Abierto, or "Open Space," Reinaldo Escobar, Yoani Sánchez,
and Dagoberto Valdés, have been fervent defenders of the unconditional
lifting of the embargo and also of seeking dialogue with the regime. If
those are their visions, why not say so and debate them publicly?

Why deny the existence of polarization, divergences, and even
confrontation if it is a reality? We attempt to construct a democracy,
and within one those are very natural elements. Open debate will be
crucial not only for political actors but also for Cubans to discover
what positions they agree with the most and which they are willing to
stand by. Current positioning regarding today's policies does exhibit
different political profiles, visions of transition, and forms of
building the future of the Island.

This group's arguments, as well as those of the North American
administration, are unstable and should be submitted to greater debate.
Of what empowerment do we speak when no Cuban can survive without
breaking the law and personal success is based on the capacity to cheat
and corrupt? Of what empowerment do we speak when the differences
between those who have profitable businesses and those who don't are
based on nepotism and political loyalty to the regime? To start a
successful small business with such high taxes and inspectors' constant
harassment is an impossible task.

To use a supposed logic of strengthening society and to generate the
false image that any Cuban can grow as an entrepreneur is to play sadly
along with the regime and allow it to further postpone a successful
transfer of power. Never will Cubans be responsible for their futures if
the regime can continue to violate fundamental freedoms with complete
impunity. Never will Cubans be able to become empowered if the regime
enjoys access to economic resources that will allow it to maintain and
develop its repressive apparatus. The reality of 57 years is there to
show us what Castroism really is.

To construct hope for change on a foundation of corruption, political
patronage, and nepotism is to condemn the future of our nation. It's not
to understand that a nation can only be reborn when it springs from more
clean and fresh bases. We will not be the first to transit down those
roads of decomposition and arrive at places that will later be extremely
difficult to dismantle.

To defend a position and to act in a moment as delicate as this one
without stopping to consider other highly probable scenarios is proof of
having little political vision, of being unable to adapt or change one's
views or of having only a personal interest.

To say that all of us who oppose the government have no rallying power
or that we do not represent the people is to play the regime's tune.

The "Open Space" promoters have hoped to demonstrate that it is they who
hold the greatest consensus within the country's internal opposition.
That Obama's measures enjoy wide acceptance, and that is false. At first
and simple sight, one can observe the number and diversity of signatures
supporting one initiative or another. It would also be important to
observe the "Open Space" and the "Forum" (el Foro) managers' ability to
rally followers and the true level of their current commitment to the
cause of meaningful democratic change.

To say that all of us who oppose the government have no rallying power
or that we do not represent the people is to play the regime's tune. The
impact of some opposition groups cannot be measured in all its magnitude
because of the high levels of repression before any kind of rally. Many
of us who signed the "Forum" have had to face violent acts of
repudiation aimed at preventing a larger base of followers.

Those who, from Obama's administration, have promoted the new measures
have not facilitated the building of consensus among Cubans on the
Island and in exile. They have, however, sought out a way to demonstrate
a greater acceptance of their policies. That was what happened during
the recent visit of American legislators to the Island as well as that
of Assistant Secretary Roberta Jacobson. That was the reason for which
Berta Soler decided to decline breakfast, and why we, the members of the
"Forum," later decided not to attend dinner.

If the Obama administration wishes to brand itself as supportive of the
transition process, something we also hope from Europe and some nations
in Latin America, it should promote greater consensus.

We've repeated innumerable times that it is a mistake to grant the
status of a legitimate State to a despotic regime, an action that
disregards the pain and moral and physical damage it has inflicted on
thousands and thousands of Cubans. This Thursday, Berta Soler, Sara
Marta Fonseca, and José Luis Pérez Antúnez gave important testimony
regarding these points before the United States Congress.

As peaceful activists, we defend a solution without violence that is
also grounded in the realities we have lived. To work in the way that we
have until now does not build a solid path and does instead bring forth
a scenario that in the medium and long term will work against us. To
allow the elite to inherit power will be the worst thing to happen to us
as a nation.

These subjects are of great importance and depth. Miriam Celaya has the
right to defend her position, but I do believe that these policies' main
promoters on the Island could participate in a debate with those of us
who defend the other vision, so as to enrich the political scenario. I
propose to Yoani Sánchez, Reinaldo Escobar, and Dagoberto Valdés to
sustain a debate and show Cubans how we think of this process and what
vision we have for the future. Without a doubt, we will all end up winners.

Source: Notes About a Polemic / 14ymedio, Antonio Rodiles | Translating
Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/notes-about-a-polemic-14ymedio-antonio-rodiles/ Continue reading
A Sterile Confrontation / 14ymedio, Miriam Celaya
Posted on February 10, 2015

14ymedio, MIRIAM CELAYA, Havana, 5 February 2015 — On 4
February 2015, the digital magazine Diario de Cuba, published a piece by
Antonio González Rodiles ("Hablar con la Misma Voz) [Speaking with one
Voice] in which the activist refers to an editorial by opposition
lawyer René Gómez Manzano about the similarities between two documents
issued by the independent civil society on the Island: the Four
Points agreed to by the Cuban Civil Society Open Space this past
December 22nd and the roadmap proposed by the Forum for Rights and
Freedoms several days later.

It would have been nice if the editors of Diario de Cuba had made
available Gómez Manzano's work ("There is no substantial difference
between the Four Points and the Roadmap, published 28 January 28 2015)
through the corresponding link to the digital magazine 14ymedio, where
it was published, but this editorial slip is not the subject of
my analysis. I'm just trying to make some comments and annotations about
the proposals González Rodiles suggested, acknowledging in advance
that I am subject to misinterpretation of his syntax, which is not
sufficiently clear in all of his statements.

In principle, I do not share the preeminence granted by the author to
the opposition's polarization in "two tendencies" following the
announcement of the restoration of diplomatic relations between the
US and Cuban governments. In any case, whether or not one agrees or
disagrees with the proposals of President Barack Obama on the subject
of the dialogue established with the Cuban regime, that cannot be the
focus of the political aspirations of the civil society, and should be
accepted as "the watershed "to define two opposing parties in the
opposition: those opposed to the approach and who feel
the Cuba-US dialogue will "legitimize" the Cuban regime, and those who
understand that this could expand the possibilities of the Civil Society
within the Island.

The fact that those who choose to bet on the gradual change and seek the
opportunities a new scenario might bring to us have assumed —
without prior agreement and without caucusing the subject — a
common ethical positioning in key aspects, which can be
summarized in two main points: 1. The solution of the Cuban problems and
the achievement of democracy concerns only Cubans and does not depend on
the will or the policies of any foreign government. 2. We have not
disqualified, verbally assaulted, provoked or offended anyone who does
not share our views.

"We have not disqualified, verbally
assaulted, provoked or offended anyone who does not share our views."

That is why we need to appreciate that González Rodiles's writing
has finally realized that "both positions demonstrate our commitment to
democracy and the end of totalitarianism", which infers the
disavowal of the discredit of contradictory opinions.

So one thing is to agree or disagree with the negotiations between the
two governments and quite another is the subject of Open Space and the
Four Points, which exclude consideration to suggest the shortest link
between our democratic aspirations and decisions of the US
government. Mixing both issues in the
same discussion introduces confusion, besides not conforming to reality,
which is evident, for example, in statements such as the
following: "Obama's policy is applauded by those joined together in the
Open Space, which has several visible elements."

The truth is that not everyone involved in Open Space "applauds "what
the author generically called "Obama's policy." Nor is it clear what
these so-called "visible elements" are, which only reinforce
inaccuracies in the writing. I will take this opportunity to remind you
that the Open Space began well before our learning about talks
between the governments of the US and Cuba.

In another topic, and strictly political in
nature, González Rodiles suggests that those at Open Space who are
committed to dialogue, who lend "legitimacy to the regime" do not
propose "preconditions for the political process" accept "that the
transition process will be (…) in the hands of the actors of the regime,
which presupposes that they will be part of the future of the Island"
and consider "the democratic changes will come as the evolution
of supposed economic transformations" introduced by the regime
itself under the pressure of measures proposed by the US government.

Obviously, such a position ignores the experiences of other transitions,
which have been successful precisely because they have been conducted in
a peaceful and civilized manner within the existing social order, based
on dialogue and negotiations with elements of the very regimes in
power. Such is the case of the exemplary Spanish transition that owes so
much to Adolfo Suárez; the transition in Poland, which brought to the
negotiating table Solidarity, the powerful opposition syndicate and
other actors of the Civil Society, in addition to Wojciech
Jaruzelski; or the Chilean transition which allowed for its dictator,
Augusto Pinochet, to remain as permanent senator, just to name only the
best known examples.

"Other transitions have been successful because they were conducted in a
peaceful and civilized manner within the existing social order"

Achieving peace through political negotiation is not only less
traumatic, but also achieves more permanent effects, though it
unavoidably involves certain concessions, and offers certain
guarantees that are advantageous for both parties.

The only possible alternative to a negotiated solution is
confrontation. But, let's face it, do the opposition and the
Independent Civil Society in Cuba have the strength and sufficient
resources to face down a government and force it to relinquish its
power? A government that controls the army, the police, and all
repressive bodies and economy? Certainly not. In fact, we have not
even managed to be included in any of the dialogues that have taken
place on the release of political prisoners, despite the critical and
always meritorious action of the Ladies in White movement for more
than a decade, which, despite its value, has failed, so far, in having
people join in their marches or outright reject the repression against them.

It is not only that "the government does not acknowledge us" but about
the weakness we display. Because, while the government, with all its
totalitarian power, has no real legitimacy because it has not been
freely chosen by the "sovereign people," we have not been chosen as
representatives of the people either, since, for whatever reason, we
have failed to lay a solid foundation among Cubans, therefore we
have no summoning power. In whose "sovereign people's" name would we be
acting, especially when they are trying to deny our capabilities?

"Human rights and the promotion of democracy, as primary objectives,
should not be masked by other elements. They must be shown especially to
the Cuban people, confused after 57 years of dictatorship, so they can
decide in what direction they want to take this country." (Underlined as
emphasis by this writer.) This assertion by González Rodiles rules
out that the possibility to economically prosper is one of those
human rights and is also one of the most expedient to empower Cubans
and promote their conversion into independent subjects of the
State-Party-Government, and it is contained in one of the United Nations
Covenants whose demand for government ratification almost all of civil
society has subscribed to. By the way, raising a formal complaint to the
Government, presented to the National Assembly, isn't that also a way of
legitimizing the regime?

But, continuing with the author's statement –- numerically incorrect,
since Cuba has already endured 63 years of dictatorship — the core
messianic vision to be taught is that it is essential to teach what one
should know (because, obviously, he does not know) to these "confused"
peoples, who are unable to choose their destiny for themselves and are,
therefore, condemned to the possibility that some individual, touched by
a kind of divine wisdom, will guide them in the right direction, as
F. Castro was able to do in his day. Ergo, the immature people of this
country need a new messiah… one in whom we can supposedly be able to and
should trust. In that sense, it is reassuring that the Roadmap states:
"We will not join the construction of a new authoritarianism". It is a
real relief; I know that neither will we, the ones of Open Space.

It is true that Four Points favors the benefits to be derived
from "alleged economic transformations," but considers them as a
potential tool for strengthening an emerging civil society which would
add players — not necessarily politically active subjects — to the
process of change. Those of us who had the opportunity to speak
face-to-face with Roberta Jacobson during her recent stay in Havana
expressed our interest in promoting, concurrent with the plans for
economic empowerment of Cubans, mechanisms that will allow exercising
our human rights, such as freedom of the press, of expression, of
information and of association, all essential instruments of democracy
which must be placed in everyone's reach.

"We are facing a dilemma that makes us choose between blindness and
pragmatism; between belligerence as an end in itself or the lucidity
to drive change"

But today we are facing a dilemma that makes us choose
between blindness and pragmatism; between belligerence as an end
in itself or the lucidity to take any of the routes that could be opened
to drive change, even if it meant deliberating with our
adversaries. This is how politics functions, which is not an exact
science but social, so it is based on a rational choice in which all
players must replace any preferences or personal interests with the
interests of the nation and of Cubans in general.

One of the Four Points includes the claim of "free, democratic
and competitive elections" and "recognition of the legitimacy of the
independent Cuban civil society within the Island and in the diaspora as
a valid spokesperson" so that the charge of "ambiguity "or "lack of
transparency" that we have been accused of is, at least, futile.

If politics, in its most succinct definition, is the art of turning the
possible into reality, how to achieve a social contract where we are
recognized, when there are factions among us particularly interested in
preventing any possible consensus, however small? How will our enemies
not disqualify us if, within the ranks of the civil society there
are elements that refuse to recognize the "others"? What
does González Rodiles mean by "discuss with complete clarity," "serious
and direct debate," "maturation of the actors and the political scene"
or the need for "certain political trust among stakeholders" when, in
fact, he himself refuses to participate in meetings where he presupposes
that there is a conspiracy against him? Conspiracy that, in addition,
already reached international borders, since it suggests that US
authorities "give preference" to those who approve of its new policy
of non-confrontation and exclude those who do not share in it. I
call here for restraint and modesty.

It would be extremely extensive to exhaust in a single article all
easily refuted topics in González Rodiles's speech, so I prefer to wrap
up by commenting on a criticism about Four Points which turns
amphibological; i.e. that the same could be applied to his Roadmap. This
is the supposed sin of not tracing a "methodology" "to achieve one's
goals." For some reason, he did not understand that Four Points is not
exactly an itinerary or an agreement document, but
a consensus position which we hope will help us advance
the delicate path of future councils.

But the truth is that the strategy with which the Roadmap is expected to
reach was not exposed either, which in itself is inconsistent, even
with the title of the document. What will be the next stop or
destination of that Map? Peccadillo.

I don't mean to wear myself out in a sterile confrontation; there is too
much work to do. When González Rodiles proposed "To speak with one
voice" perhaps I was thinking something like "Speaking with my voice,"
which is not bad, as long as he doesn't intend to possess the gift of
absolute truth to save us all. The effort is appreciated, but,
personally, I decline such a legacy. Following the musical analogy he
proposed, I already belong to a larger orchestra, fortunately dissonant,
called Cuba.

Translated by Norma Whiting

Source: A Sterile Confrontation / 14ymedio, Miriam Celaya | Translating
Cuba -
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