Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Mistaken Focus Hinders Cuban Dialogue

Mistaken Focus Hinders Cuban Dialogue / 14ymedio, Pedro Campos
Posted on February 23, 2016

14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Havana, 23 February 2016 – As of early 1959, the
rebel group that capitalized on the democratic revolutionary win against
the Batista dictatorship began labeling as counterrevolutionaries anyone
who questioned their decrees, policies and decisions, without
differentiating between those who did it through healthy dialog –
including from their own ranks – and those who openly and violently
confronted them.

The fight for the restoration of democratic institutions was what had
united the Cuban people at that time. The trigger that divided the large
anti-Batista coalition was the interest of the rebel leaders to
prioritize social and economic transformations and to postpone,
indefinitely, the holding of elections and the establishment of a
democratically elected government based on the 1940 Constitution.

This disdain for democracy, a disregard for the interests of others and
those who thought differently, as well as the channeling of the torrent
of revolutionary spirit among the people according to the narrow
interests of this rebel core, led to early and subsequent confrontations
and gave rise to a diverse opposition and "counterrevolution" that would
encompass every political-economic and social aspect that this core
considered a threat to its power.

Throughout all the years since, they have maintained this approach of
putting in the same "counterrevolutionary" bag all those who simply
disagreed or who did not support some "revolutionary" measure, along
with those who chose to confront them in a violent way.

Now in Cuba, in 2016, general-president Raul Castro, brother of the
historic leader, will soon receive the president of the United States, a
country that is "the center of the imperialist world, cradle of the
counterrevolution, the historic enemy that has tried by every possible
means to destroy the Cuban Revolution."

But internally Raul Castro's government does not even recognize that
there is an extensive non-governmental democratic socialist side that,
from dialog rather than confrontation, has done everything possible to
make its constructive positions known to the leadership of the
Party-State-Government, the Cuban people, international public opinion
and the historical opposition.

Many of us have been treated as counterrevolutionaries and enemies, and
if they have left some spaces where we can participate, such as the
magazine Temas (Themes), meetings of the Cuban Writers and Artists Union
(UNEAC), the Juan Marinello Foundation and others, they apply to us
covert and sophisticated forms of repression, trying to block our
message and keep us as far as possible from decision making, that is
away from the bureaucracy that is the main brake on advances in the
country, and which, like ivy clinging to a wall, clings to power and
denies the people and the workers.

But even this does not lead us to fall into provocations and abandon our
democratic vocation of dialogue and move to confrontation and violence.

We must trust and work so that the influence of the majority of the
people who do not want more violence, but rather democracy and
participation, leads the Government to undertake a process of internal
dialogue and negotiation, like that it is undertaking with the
"historical enemy," "French imperialism" and other less recognized
imperialisms, that will open the channels to the democratization of
politics and economy.

As a democratic socialist I deplore violence, terrorism, vindictiveness
and a settling of old scores and once again I call on the
Government-Party-State to cease repression of thought and the peaceful
political activism of those who think differently, and to undertake a
process of democratization leading to the reconciliation of Cuban society.

It is time to understand that it is not the same to disagree, to differ,
to dialogue and try to seek an understanding, as it is to oppose
dialogue and engage in open confrontation. It is not the same to support
the blockade-embargo and the politics of external pressure, as it is to
support international policies of dialog and rapprochement.

Some of us democratic socialists have met with members of the opposition
in search of consensus for an inclusive national dialogue and to open
avenues for the process of democratization that we long for, but we have
never supported open confrontation, violence and provocation, nor have
other peaceful opponents done so.

It is time for the Cuban government to change this mistaken focus of
considering anyone who does not share its methods and conceptions a
"counterrevolutionary," which hinders a much needed national dialog, and
to internalize the same processes of consultation and peace that guide
its foreign policy.

Source: Mistaken Focus Hinders Cuban Dialogue / 14ymedio, Pedro Campos |
Translating Cuba -

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