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White Flag to the Regime in Havana?

White Flag to the Regime in Havana? / Jeovany Jimenez Vega
Posted on January 22, 2015

By: Jeovany Jimenez Vega — Those who advocate the elimination of the
mechanisms of political pressure to which the Cuban government remains
subject — I mean basically the United States Embargo and the Common
European Position — often wield as a fundamental argument the alleged
climate of reform undertaken by Raul Castro during the last few years.

One can suppose that this oversized expectation had its roots in the
profound and systematic stagnation that characterized the big government
of Fidel Castro, because the incorrigible bearded man became the extreme
social framework in an immutable and absurd style that would have been
impossible for anybody after him to modify in any way without it being
perceived as a relief.

But if we accept the obvious premise that since 1959 one government has
existed in Cuba — since it has already shown that in essence the mandate
of Raul, with all its sweetening, has not been more than the prolonging
of the mandate of Fidel — we can assume also, with a solid level of
certainty, that the psychology of the regime continues to be exactly the
same.

That drives us to a logical question: Would one expect that, in the case
of these sanctions being lifted, that this olive-green oligarchy, at
last, would grant the long awaited rights provided by United Nations
Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, as well as Economic and Cultural
Rights, whose ratification and implementation Havana has kept has a
pending topic since February 2008?

The optimists would return to the idea of the Raul Castro reforms, but
anyone who can make a more thorough approach to these alleged
“transformations” will find that very few have actually represented a
practical change, one which would have a beneficial and immediate impact
in the life of Cubans on the island.

But we work from very good faith — which our counterpart has not
deserved — and we accept that among these measures, some represent a
more drastic and positive change than do others; among these the freeing
up of the right to travel outside the country and the authorization of
the purchase and sale of homes between native-born people.

We cannot forget, nevertheless, that the emigration reform has been in
force since January 2013, stipulating that some professions are not
permitted to travel freely, “…in virtue of the rules intended to
preserve the skilled labor force…“; nor can we scorn that it also
establishes as “…inadmissible…” for anyone accused by the Cuban
government of “Organizing, encouraging, carrying out, or participating
in hostile actions against the fundamental economic and social policies
of the Cuban state…” to enter the country, “…When reasons of Defense and
National Security are so advised…” and that the government considers
that they should “… Be prohibited from entering the country, for being
declared undesirable or thrown out.”

It is made more evident by the wide margin of maneuverability that this
delicious tool for coercion leaves the repressor.

As for the authorization for the sale and purchase of homes, let us
remember that the act has just recently foisted a series of annoying
regulations of prices, that results in a return to the government’s
hand, interfering where it isn’t called for — to remind us that here
good things never last too long.

Now, a look at the rest of the package certainly will show definite
signs that reveal suspicious edges in these so-called “reforms.”
Because it is really very difficult to accept the sincerity of these
measures such as the “authorization” to buy used cars at astronomical
prices; or the corrupt focus on the management of cooperatives like the
transport ones, for example, that leaves it members (never owners of
their means of working) with a useless margin of autonomy; or the
imposition on the rest of the small business owners of unfair fees on
prices or excessive taxes and the non-existence of a retail market that
would supply them with the most basic primary materials; or all the
limitations that make ever more evident the failure of the policies
undertaken in the agricultural sector, as well as the refusal to
liberate the management of the livestock farming sector while
slaughtering and/or selling a cow continues being a capital sin that in
Cuba one still pays for by up to 20 years in prison.

These are, among others, current evidence and premonitions that cast a
shadow over our overall state in the short and long term and seriously
put into question the will of the Cuban government.

But still more serious than the immutability of these “trivialities” of
an economical nature, is the persistence of the repressive policy that
continues fomenting that lethal duet: Communist Party-State Security. It
is from the offices of what continues to be the only legally recognized
party that the strategy, then executed by the henchmen in the street, is
drawn up.

Today in Cuba arbitrary detentions persist and the most abject
precariousness of due process guarantees — bastard daughters of the lack
of division of powers — continue to perpetrate with impunity the
beatings and repudiation rallies against opponents, without any
authority protecting them so that they can avoid it.

Hitmen are ordered to stab the opposition leaders and suppress women who
don’t bring arms but carry white gladioli in plain view.

They persist in a strong and absolute censorship of dissident thought by
means of an absolute monopoly over the means of broadcasting and all
types of press, and in addition, they veto any access to the Internet
for the people and it is already the 21st century.

Therefore, we can conclude that in Cuba the “changes” that they have
produced are insubstantial and skin-deep, purely cosmetic, nothing that
heralds a real opening up to anything that sounds remotely like democracy.

If, in the end, this new mediocre generation isn’t capable of offering
anything different, it would be more than logical to doubt its future
good intentions or its capacity to conceive a scheme for real
prosperity, and very much less so if the formula, whatever it is,
includes moving away from the known path.

It is completely questionable that these “reforms” reflect a sincere
attempt at opening the doors for the Cuban people to the potential that
a globalized economy offers today. It is more coherent to think that we
are observing delaying maneuvers that only serve to perpetuate the same
people always in power.

Should the international community, the Cuban people and the internal
opposition decide to offer a vote of confidence and give way: at what
point would they offer guarantees that they would later ratify and
implement the Human Rights covenants, and would that produce an
immediate opening for democracy? Here all logical reasoning leads to the
conclusion that this would never happen.

To revoke the sanctions now, would be translated into nothing more than
an immediate oxygenation for the regime, without excluding, of course,
its repressive mechanisms. It would not become a more efficient Cuban
government from the economic point of view but would simply have more
resources within its reach to squander and rob, to fatten still more the
millionaire accounts of it oligarchs hidden abroad, and even to ennoble
its delusions of grandeur.

The beast has already tasted blood and will stop at nothing. An
autocratic government like that of the Castros, once it has released its
instruments of political pressure and with the tacit approval
internationally that this would imply, would never ratify the human
right covenants but, on the contrary would probably repress more
viciously than ever dissident thinking but from a much more comfortable
position than previously.

This octogenarian generation that subjects the destiny of my country to
its whims is definitely out of step with the needs of my people. No
original protest has yet affected its dusty epaulets. These
neo-burgesses will never consider a dignified exit from the poverty and
inequality into which they have plunged us, because they know that this
would mean an end to their privileges.

If history teaches us anything it is that unwise concessions, or those
made at the wrong time, over the long term do more harm than good to the
people who mistakenly assume them, and it also teaches us that there are
definitely people who never change, and the pleiade that now leads this
country according to their testicular fickleness is an excellent example.

The three decade marriage with the former Soviet Union made clear that
the Cuban people will never be the final destiny for these riches; and
if history proved that at that time why would we assume it would be
different now when the indolence and corruption of the government are
higher than ever.

To extend this blank check to the totalitarian government in Havana, and
at this precise instant when its better half is tottering in Caracas,
without the slightest sign of friendship to the internal opposition nor
the recognition of our civil rights–as most recent events have pointed
in the complete opposite direction–and without even having ratified and
implemented the already signed United Nations covenants on civil and
political rights as well as those on social and cultural rights, would
be a catastrophe in strategic terms for the Cuban people and possibly
delay, for many more decades, the coming of democracy for the
long-suffering Cuban nation.

Translated by: BW

9 December 2014

Source: White Flag to the Regime in Havana? / Jeovany Jimenez Vega |
Translating Cuba –

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