Obama's Unquestionable Imprint / Cubanet, Miriam Celaya
Cubanet, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 20 March 2017 — Putting aside the
passions of supporters and detractors of the policies drawn up by
President Barack Obama for Cuba, there is no doubt that, for better or
worse, it set indelible before and after benchmarks in the lives of the
The first benchmark was the reestablishment of relations after half a
century of confrontation, which – although it did not even come close to
the high expectations of Cubans – did manage to expose the Cuban
dictatorship to the scrutiny of international public opinion, thus
demonstrating that the regime is the true obstacle to the wellbeing and
happiness of Cubans.
Consequently, although Cubans are no freer, after two years of
rapprochement with the former "imperialist enemy," the Castro regime has
run out of arguments to justify the absence of economic, political and
social rights, and thus has lost credibility in the International forums
and in political circles, where it is being openly questioned.
Just a few days before leaving the White House, Obama took another
decisive step by repealing the "wet foot/dry foot" policy, giving up
immigration privileges for Cubans in the US, and thereby crushing the
hopes of an large number of Cubans who aspired to enjoy the rights and
prosperity in that destination, that they can only dream about now, and
are unable to demand in their own country.
Thus, in two years, these two Cuban exceptions which seemed eternal,
suddenly disappeared: an old dictatorship, long tolerated by the
international community when it was considered the "small, heroic and
defenseless victim resisting the onslaught of the strongest of world
powers," and the people – equally victimized, persecuted, helpless and
subjugated by the dictatorship enthroned in power – who were forced to
emigrate, deserving the consubstantial privilege, above that of any
other immigrants, to live quietly in the territory of the United States,
no longer setting foot in Cuba.
Thus, in the future, the Castro regime can be considered as what it
really is: a prosaic dictatorship without heroic attire, while those
Cubans who flee it without making the slightest effort to face it, will
not be described as "politically persecuted," but as any other run of
the mill immigrants, such as those throughout the world who aspire to
enjoy the wellbeing and opportunities that residing in the most
developed country on the planet offers. No more, no less.
That is to say, though Barack Obama did not improve or worsen the Cuban
crisis, we, nevertheless, must thank him for putting things in their
right perspective, whether we like it or not. But it may be that some,
or perhaps too many, find it much more comfortable to steer the direct
burden of the current state of affairs in Cuba – including increases in
repression – while others (more astute) here and there toss their hair
and tear their patriotic garments against the "betrayal" of the former
leader, generally with the untenable intention of making a political
career or of continuing to thrive in the Cuban calamity.
These are the "hard hand" theorists who will attempt to use it as a
trump card to overthrow the Castro dictatorship, this time with the
hypothetical support of the new US President, as if that strategy had
not proved ineffective during the previous 50 years.
The sad paradox is that, judging from the present reality, the Castro
way of government – like other known dictatorships – will not "fall,"
defeated by the indignant people, fed up with poverty and oppression.
Neither will it be crushed by the tenacious struggle of the opposition
or the pressures of some foreign government. Most likely, instead of
falling, the Castro regime will gently slide down of its own accord into
another advantageous form of existence in a different socioeconomic setting.
For, while not a few Cuban groups from both shores wear themselves out
and gloat over mutual reproaches and useless lamentations, the olive
green mafia continues behind the scenes, distributing the pie, quietly
accommodating itself in the best positions and palming its cards under
our clueless noses, to continue to enjoy the benefits and the privileges
of power when the last remnants of the shabby backdrop of "socialism,
Castro style," which is all that barely remains of the glorious
revolutionary project, will finally fall.
To the surprise of the army of disinherited survivors of the communist
experiment, the progeny of the historical generation and their
accompanying generals could emerge, transmuted into tycoons and
entrepreneurs, thus consummating the cycle of the swindle that begun in
1959. This is, so far, the most likely scenario.
Perhaps by then 60 years of totalitarianism would have elapsed, and
eleven presidents will have passed through the White House, but until
today, only one of them, Barack Obama, will have influenced, in such a
defining way, in the political future of Cuba.
Translated by Norma Whiting
Source: Obama's Unquestionable Imprint / Cubanet, Miriam Celaya –
Translating Cuba -