Thursday, May 29, 2014

Judge or Divide?

Judge or Divide? / Antonio Rodiles
Posted on May 29, 2014

HAVANA, Cuba – The debate set off by the letter from more than 40
personalities asking for the relaxation of restrictions towards the
Havana regime letter from more than 40 personalities asking for the
relaxation of restrictions towards the Havana regime has been copious.
Those who support, as a premise, that Cubans must regain their
fundamental rights and freedoms have responded with intensity and been
very explicit in declaring that it would be members of the regime who
would have the most to gain from these measures. Meanwhile, the silence
from the Island of those who support this document is striking. I
haven't read a single article defending it.

Amid the controversy, today I came across an interview on the new site
of Yoani Sanchez, who in the past has expressed support for the agenda
of Carlos Saladrigas, one of the principle promoters of the anti-embargo
missive. The interview refers to the debate and its headline caught my
attention. I quote:

"The proposal has unleashed passions and speculation, also fueled by the
imminent arrival in Havana of representatives from the U.S. Chamber of

"Cuban society, however, seems to remain out of the headlines, the hot
articles, the replies — or support — like the so-called "letter of the
40" already circulating on the networks and in emails. Thinking about
this uninformed population submerged in the big problems of everyday
life, I did this interview with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who
received me in Washington a few weeks before the launch of 14ymedio."

Cuban society has not remained "outside," and more and more one hears
the opinions of citizens of "this uninformed population submerged in the
big problems of everyday life," who openly acknowledge that it is not
the embargo that is responsible for so much hardship, but a dictatorship
willing to continue preying on the country.

The writers, intellectuals, journalists, activists, political prisoners,
readers and forum members, from outside and within the island, who have
expressed themselves lately on the subject through articles and comments
in, and other sites, also make up the Cuban
nation. Those who offer their opinions from within and support projects
and other independent media and constantly confront the repression of a
dictator and his regime, also belong to Cuban society.

Amid intense debate and without even taking part, to attempt to be the
voice or the channel that can inform the Cuban people about what is
happening is pretentious and a dismissal of those who have engaged in
this controversy.

The need for political honesty is fundamental, 55 years of Castrismo has
been too long a time of simulation. Now is a time for greater
transparency and clarity. Hopefully that openness is an essential part
of the political game, even if it hurts. Hopefully those in Cuba who
have their agendas, and their companions, will provide something of
interest to demand the rights of those who are totally defenseless, and
not resort to justifying themselves in relativism.

When the future of a nation is at stake, it is important to respect
diverse opinions and visions. But it is also basic to pay special
attention to those well summarized in an phrase by the journalist Raul
Rivero, those who are "very close to the fire."

The debate about the embargo occupies a primordial space in Cuba today.
But it should contain as an essential element the demand for our basic
rights. And here we have the United Nations Covenants as fundamental
tools. Ratifying them and implementing them would give us a real
scenario of changes and then, perhaps, we would begin to glimpse another

May 28, 2014 | Antonio G. Rodiles

Source: Judge or Divide? / Antonio Rodiles | Translating Cuba -

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