Home > Miguel Iturria Savón > Contradictions


The news cycle moves from local to global, although some would like to prove otherwise. In Havana, for example, political marketing disguises the collective misery and the social indolence in its exportable model. Half a century of campaigns against the United States have convinced half the world of the evils of the monster and the virtues of the Castro regime, bolstered in its decrepitude by Chavez in Venezuela, Lula in Brazil, Zapatero in Spain and the Chinese mandarins.

But the charisma, the power and even the marketing of the regime are wearing off. The contradictions grow and some people discover them. Others do not see nor hear because they are stuck in the past, in love with ideas, or shared businesses. What is that nonsense about political prisoners? Or peaceful opponents? Or women dressed in white while Castro I is in his death throes and his heirs keep quiet?

Who cares about human rights on the island when the leftist press is not addressing the issue? What difference does it make to the rest of the world? Galeano, Saramago, Sabina or Ramonet, they would all need a magnifying glass to see it. For them, the truth emerges from the speeches of the State. Cuba, however, is more complex than the picture drawn by the Communist Party’s Minister of Truth.

Now Castro II has met with the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, whose Archbishop informed us that he spoke of easing the conditions of the political prisoners: free some, move others closer to home and hospitalize the dying. Perhaps then Guillermo Farinas will end his hunger strike and the international community will stop criticizing the Caribbean bigwigs.

You do not need a mediator to issue orders to the jailers. More than a “humanitarian gesture” or the conciliation of the Bishops, it would be enough to decriminalize political dissent and open the floodgates of freedom.

The existence of political prisoners is barely recognized and there is no talk of the opposition, save to denigrate them as possible interlocutors of the regime, gripped by contradictions overlooked by the press: the failure to ratify international agreements on human rights, signed in February 2008, the corruption and the sinking market, the export of health services to the detriment of the nation, the daily despair in the face of the secret hopes of consumption and the postponing of changes to buy time and create expectations.

The government still defies the United Nations, asks for more loans while it doesn’t pay the Paris Club, of which it is the second largest debtor in the world; it negotiates with China for finer optic cable but doesn’t allow its citizens to access the Internet; it slows the development opportunities for its people; chatters on about its principles while repressing peaceful opponents and demonizing the diaspora, whose family remittances are one of the major sources of foreign currency circulating on the island.

The passion for power of the old men who rule is the governing chorus of any attempt to improve the plight of the people. Last year they raised the retirement age and months later announced the dismissal of a million workers. How can we come to grips with the problem?

Despite the silence and omissions of the official press, the growing contradictions spell the end of the Castro regime. Yet freedom is not a single viable concept, but many interwoven projects on the highway of the future.

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