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April 2015
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Mission Accomplished, General

Mission Accomplished, General
MIRIAM CELAYA, Panama | Abril 10, 2015

Just as expected, April 8 th was D-day for Castro’s troops in Panama,
with the Forum of Civil Society in the framework of the Summit of the
Americas. The physical and verbal aggression and the “revolutionary
violence” unleashed in all its public display of barbarism before the
astonished eyes of those who were involuntary witnesses of the shameful
act, demonstrate how long the arm of the dictatorship of the Island is,
and how disrespectful they are willing to be at international democratic

It would have been naive to expect any other conduct, after preludes
that foretold the climax. The Castro clan was initially flattered in its
infinite vanity, after half a century of being expelled from the OAS, to
have been one of the first invitees to the Americas’ Summit, only to
have to swallow the bitter pill, soon after, of tolerating the
independent civil society’s presence at the regional event. These are
appropriate games of democracy, but a humiliation that the Antillean
olive green caste was not willing to accept.

Now we were able to prove that it was not by happenstance that several
activists of the Cuban independent civil society were harassed on our
arrival at the Tocumen airport, some detained a relatively long time and
interrogated, as if we were terrorists or criminals, by authorities that
report directly to the Panamanian government. “We do not want
disturbances or provocations at the Summit,” was the warning we received
before allowing us to continue, and following that, a polite phrase that
was almost cynical: “Welcome to Panama.” No doubt this is a peculiar
sense of the hospitality and the official image this country is offering
these occasional visitors.

Later, there was an official apology issued by the Panamanian Foreign
Ministry, but it was also learned that the Cuban regime’s troops of the
“civil society” were not ill-treated or warned on their arrival. Perhaps
that was why they immediately began to distribute, through the hotels
hosting delegates from dozens of countries, printed leaflets containing
the photographs and full names of various members of the Cuban
dissidence, under the heading of “mercenaries.” A great number of the
tabloids were placed on tables in the lobby of the hotel El Panama,
where credentials were being processed, while other activists handed
them out in the streets around the headquarters, where activities of the
Summit would take place.

Thus, encouraged by the permission – the complicity, I should say – of
the hosts and organizers of the Summit, the revolutionary low-lives who
were further protected by the dozens of accreditations that were granted
to them, felt free to create violent disturbances right in the meeting
room, rudely attacking the scarce representatives of several independent
organizations on the Island that had barely achieved accreditation from
the Civil Society Forum on behalf of dozens of contenders who were
denied the opportunity to participate.

Some public places were also the scenes of Castro mobs, sabotaging the
democratic and civilized spirit that should have been expected from this
hemispheric event.

It was a poor choice on the part of these guests to the democratic
festivity, Messrs. hosts, and if such is the model of civility that we
want to imitate in the region, a very bad effect. But worse are the
results for the regime in Havana, whose objective was always to boycott
the Summit and blow up the spaces for dialogue, but in attempting to
demonstrate the supposed low aspect of its opposition, it ended up
demonstrating its own, additionally granting its opponents the chance to
show their moral superiority. Now the democrats in the region may be
wondering about the stateless group who have sustained decades of
peaceful struggle against the enormous machine of violence that has been
brought to bear against them from the seat of power.

A great number of the delegates offered their solidarity to the Cuban
civil society and commented to us about their bewilderment. “If this is
the way it is in the midst of this forum and at a democratic venue, what
must they be able to get away in Cuba,” commented a group of young
people from several Latin American nations.

A somber sixty-something man shook his head disapprovingly: “This is not
right … It is not proper … We cannot allow it,” he said, referring to
the performance of Castro followers and supporters.

Our spontaneous embraces in the hotel lobby, to demonstrate support for
each other among members of the independent civil society made a better
impression than all the shouting and screaming of slogans of the crazed
members of the regime. The aggression had only succeeded in uniting us
beyond any differences.

It was also made clear that a dictatorship that has sustained itself on
confrontation and belligerence, inside and outside its own geographical
territory, would not be able to overcome the challenge posed by the open
debate and arguments of its opponents. Weeks ago the General-President
had already announced that “the true Cuban civil society would come to
the Summit to defeat the stateless mercenaries at the service of the
Empire,” thus demonstrating their absolute lack of political willingness
to respect the diversity of ideas and alternative projects of the very
Cubans on the Island.

Well then, General, your serfs – those same strident individuals who
carry out your acts of repudiation, whose passports were confiscated as
soon as they crossed the border into Panama in order to avoid
inopportune desertions – withdrew from the Summit as soon as they
fulfilled their wretched role. It did not matter that the Cuban State
spent its people’s ever-scarce resources to finance documents, travel,
accommodations, food, and a huge amount of printed pamphlets. Nothing
will prevent the end of its empire of corruption and fear.

I can imagine how its “victorious” delegation will be welcomed when it
returns to the ridiculed homeland. I can almost imagine the team leader,
submissively bowing his prop epaulettes: “Mission accomplished,
General.” And just the thought of such a degrading image overwhelms me
with two conflicting feelings: compassion and contempt.

Translated by Norma Whiting

Source: Mission Accomplished, General –

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