Monday, September 26, 2011

A Stone in the Shoe / Laritza Diversent

A Stone in the Shoe / Laritza Diversent
Laritza Diversent, Translator: Jack Gibbard

I don't intend to persuade anyone that Cuba is some kind of hell. Nor to
change the mind of those who imagine that it's a paradise. But it still
bothers me to read in the national press that Washington is taking
measures to tighten the embargo.

I'm not a politician, but every morning is filled with problems, with
transport, with food, with medicines, etc. Everything is a problem and I
don't think that it is because of the US embargo, although it's the
perfect excuse.

After 50 years, the US measure became a matter of policy, and it is a
political measure, not an economic one. In the currency collecting shops
there are US products and Cuba also imports food from that country.
Nevertheless, things are still bad because of the blockade, at least
that is what we read daily in the national press.

On the other hand, the man in the street doesn't notice the embargo
despite the propaganda on the hoardings that reminds him that, in one
week without a blockade, it would be possible to buy 11 railway engines.
All this is immaterial when you are looking for something to eat, or
trying to avoid political persecution, for a pound of coffee and two
pounds of cheese.

There is a single truth; the embargo has not brought down the communist
regime and its removal wouldn't end all the social problems. The sad
thing is that both governments treat it as war of attrition, and others
have to pay the price.

U.S. contractor Alan Gross,expressed his desire to improve communication
between Cuba and other countries, a gesture that is both valued and
appreciated. But that is not enough when facing a sentence in Cuba. This
is an outcome of the political dispute between Cuba and the United States.

If you want to know what I think, I am in favor of the elimination of
the embargo or at least the more detrimental parts of it. I consider it
to be an ineffective measure, though I recognize that the people whose
properties were confiscated by the government deserve fair compensation.

It's time to put forward ideas and to negotiate, if we are truly
interested in the future of Cuba. This is the moment, and the
opportunity. The popularity of the charismatic leader is very low, the
socialist economy is bankrupt and they is no way to deal with the needs
of society.

It just needs the "threat from outside " to disappear for Cubans to act
for themselves, not conditioned by hunger. Those who believe that a
tightening of the blockade will bring us out on the streets beating
cooking-pots are wrong. If it didn't happen before, it certainly won't now.

It's true. Possibly, after a hypothetical elimination of the embargo,
the government will continue to require travel permits to leave the
island, will deport easterners from the capital back to their provinces,
and will not allow us to invest in the economy on equal terms with

Nor will it stop repressing anyone who opposes its policies. That is,
there will no more freedoms. However, the information blockade might
disappear, Cubans could have more contact with other countries and,
above all, there would be no justification for those leaders who have
spent 50 years blaming the blockade for their own failure.

It's time to think, with our feet on the ground, and especially those
who live across the sea, in democracy. It is wrong for them to play
politics with our misery. The embargo is a stone in the shoe, for the

Translated by: Jack Gibbard

September 18 2011

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