By: Dr. Néstor García Iturbe
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
The Trump administration, at the head of the United States government, has just included Cuba on three new lists.
That is part of the policy change, which Trump announced when he met in the city of Miami, with a group of “rank Batistianos, annexationists and terrorists” as our Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Rodríguez, described them in his recent speech before the General Assembly of the United Nations.
One of the lists, from the State Department, refers to different Cuban entities with which the US citizens will not be able to carry out financial transactions. This list is headed by the MINISTRY OF THE ARMED FORCES, THE MINISTRY OF THE INTERIOR, THE POLICE AND OTHERS ORGANS OF STATE SECURITY. They also include a series of hotels and other entities that supposedly belong to the security forces of the Cuban government.
This measure has been shaped by the main interest of trying to affect the trips of US citizens to Cuba. But what it establishes is unconstitutional, within the so-called freedoms that American citizens have proclaimed, as well as being irrational.
For example, if a US citizen commits a traffic infraction, he has to pay a fine to the police, in doing so he is violating a regulation of the US government and could be incriminated for this.
It is irrational and ridiculous to include in the ban two brands of soft drinks made in Cuba. The so-called “individual freedoms” of the American are torn up again when the government regulates them up to the brand of soda pop that can be drunk.
To continue issuing regulations, the Trump administration will establish the type of toilet paper that Americans should use in Cuba. It is possible that even THAT will have to be regulated for people from the US. That is the so-called “democracy”, and a sample of the “freedom” that prevails in capitalist society.
The other lists, also regulating what the US citizen can do or not do, have the same goal, try to affect the relations between the Cuban people and the American people, the contacts that are established between visitor and visited, in order, to the greatest extent possible, to avoid these contacts.
In general, people from the US who have traveled to Cuba are kind, respectful and interested in knowing the truth of what is happening on the Island. That is the danger that the enemies of our country are considering.
Those who return from Cuba, speak with honesty of our people, of the advances of the revolution and of the situation in which we live, which is always much better than the image disclosed by the enemies and the Miami mafia.
What kind of regime is Trump creating?
It is not only trying to reverse the progress in relations with Cuba that was achieved during the Obama administration. The violations of the US Constitution and to the liberties proclaimed in that same document, are directed at creating a repressive, discriminatory, terror regime, comparable to the existing one at the time of peak of the McCarthyism.
Perhaps that is the true meaning of his motto “Make America great again”.
By Editor, Havana Radio/ Photos: Alexis Rodríguez
October 20, 2017
By Néstor García Iturbe
Translated and Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Some compañeros from other countries have written to me worried about Hurricane Irma and its consequences. That is why I make this brief chronicle. It would be unnecessary for those who live in Cuba and surely they would have much to contribute from their personal experiences.
AFTER PREPARATION TO RECEIVE IRMA AND ITS ARRIVAL IN CUBA, THEY CAN UNDERSTAND THAT ALL LIFE HAS BEEN ALTERED.
This hurricane crossed several provinces of the country along the north coast, destroying a good part of our tourist facilities and beaches, in addition to seriously affecting many cities.
The size of the hurricane was such that when it passed through a place it affected an area of more than three hundred kilometers. The closest to the eye of the hurricane with winds of about 250 kilometers per hour, in addition to the rains, those that were far from the center of the hurricane were also affected by winds of 80 kilometers in some cases and 150 in others (approximately).
Virtually the entire country ran out of electricity, with heavy flooding, disrupted roads, telephones. The news could be heard on the radio, the one with a portable radio, because although the television was on the air, no one could receive the signal because of the lack of electricity.
Although Civil Defense properly and timely warned about the dangers and the need to be safe, people were placed at safe locations to shelter, accidents occurred that cost the lives of ten Cubans.
Losses were also suffered in agriculture, industries, housing, schools, hospitals and others.
For those who have visited Cuba and have been in Havana, I can tell you that the water the sea advanced about 800 to 900 meters from the coast, above the seawall, in some places reached the height of 1.5 meters (as in the neighborhood where alive). You can understand that it destroys mobile homes, electrical equipment, shops, streets. trees, cars, electric and telephone lines, flooding of tunnels, garages and everything that is usually the basement of a building, where people often live.
After the hurricane, work began on the restoration of normality, and although much of the services (water, electricity, gas, telephone, television, radio) have yet to be restored, they have been reestablished in almost all of the country. On Monday the school year should be restarted at all levels, people who had problems with their home will continue in shelters, but work is underway on many of these, as well as factories and power plants. Most of the streets are passable and almost all the trees that were demolished were eliminated.
We still have some work to do, we have solved a good part but there are always issues that we must resolve to bring the country and its citizens back to the situation in which they were before Irene.
We are grateful for the solidarity shown by many people who are friends of Cuba, the help that is coming to us from some countries and above all we are grateful to have so many friends, like you, who care about us.
Many hurricanes would have to pass so that the Revolution would not go ahead. A hurricane affects us, but it does not stop us.S
Thank you all,
By Iroel Sánchez
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
March 21, 2017
Some time ago I published some questions about Havana:
“Is it a coincidence that places like Parque Lenin or Coppelia [ice-cream parlor in Vedado], symbols of the democratization of recreation and the access of the majority to refinement –opened by the collective project of the Revolution– languish between bad service and structural deterioration, while the idea that the good and the beautiful are the exclusive patrimony of the pre-revolutionary past? Why is the Latin American Stadium increasingly called the “Estadium del Cerro” in our media?
“Is it a Havana for tourists the one that will reach its 500th anniversary, reproducing the celebrations with the colonial flavor that –unlike what happened with the half millennium of Santiago de Cuba– took place in many of the towns founded by the Spaniards? Or as in Santiago, the neighborhoods built by the Revolution –and now more or less vandalized– (Camilo Cienfuegos, San Agustín, Alamar, Mulgoba, Reparto Electrico …) can renew their (lack of) urbanism and raise the quality of life of hundreds of thousands of Havana workers who have never been able to sit in a “paladar” [private restaurant]?
“Will the newly refurbished Capitolio of Havana be an old building for a new democracy, or a shell that –between marbles and bronzes, so dear to the dictatorships and plutocracies– forgets to consecrate the name of Jesus Menendez, the black working-class parliamentarian who imposed on the Yankees and the Cuban bourgeoisie a fair deal for the sugar workers. As a result, he was murdered despite his parliamentary immunity in “the most democratic period in contemporary Cuban history,” a phrase taken from an article in the Spanish newspaper El País signed by a Cuban “historian”?
And I return to these questions because, fortunately, for a few months now in the capital of the country we can see the growth of a transformative effort in favor of the majorities: renewing public spaces –like those mentioned in my questions– accessible to those who lack the resources to visit the new recreation centers which have prospered under the new economic measures. Large agricultural markets have been opened on the outskirts of the city. State-run gastronomic facilities with popular prices have been rescued. Fountains that had been without water for decades are running again. And other achievements are beginning to take shape with the decentralized funds collected by the municipalities. It can be said that, through these actions, the city thrives, because most of its inhabitants prosper.
But if that effort is not accompanied by the participation of the people in creating a culture of civic order and urbanity, all this effort will be like pedaling on a stationary bicycle. This participation must stem from a popular debate –we have the organizations and media to do so– that would serve for the dissemination and production of consensus around the rules that regulate and punish –if they were enforced– the frequent aggressions against common property.
To give just one example: the debris generated by construction work –for repairing opulent mansions acquired by landlords and the new rich in the most central municipalities of Havana– will continue to be dumped with impunity on street corners, so that the state sector –that is: the lowest paid workers– pay for its free collection without taking into account that, as explained by the British academic Emily Morris:
“As the non-state sector has developed, it has become increasingly clear that the relatively inefficient private firms have been able to thrive within the national economy since their costs in Cuban pesos, including labor, are undervalued at the CADECA / CUC rate they use for their transactions. In fact, the Cuban state is subsidizing the new non-state sector through the underrated rate of CADECA. Meanwhile, state-owned enterprises have to use the overvalued official exchange rate, a serious disadvantage in terms of their competitiveness. A form of “monetary illusion” which means that efficient state-owned enterprises report losses and therefore cannot raise capital for investment; while private entrepreneurs operating at very low productivity levels enjoy strong hidden state subsidies but complain of excessively high taxes.”
The non-state economy has much to contribute in Cuba; but illegality, tax evasion, hoarding, appropriation of the common good, and speculation with deficit products are not the best allies to convince of its virtues.
The first thing that should be clarified is what we mean when we use the verb “to prosper”.
In those economically “most prosperous” territories (such as: Trinidad –where business has developed along with the growth of garbage in the streets, and the notorious tax evasion reached such extremes that the ONAT [National Office for Tax Collection] of Sancti Spiritus had to be moved over there; Viñales –where teachers have to be taken from other municipalities and private pools try to steal the scarce water supply in times of drought; or Havana, where part of the efforts to supply popular restaurants and cafeterias, education and health centers, drains to private restaurants or bars that remain open until five in the morning –not until 3:00 am as it is regulated) businesses are favored by the indirect subsidies of the CADECA 25 to 1 exchange rate, the low rates of water, gas and electricity conceived for domestic use, but used for profit; the free disposal of increased amounts of solid waste –as if this waste came from the kitchen of a home.
In this way development and prosperity will be patrimony of a few to the detriment of the majority.(CubAhora)
Back in 1935, my wife and I went to Cuba for a vacation. We went via the Panama Canal one of the great flying boats which then operated between San Francisco and New York. It laid out for two or three days in Havana harbor. We spent one day in the capital city and then returned aboard the ship and went on up to New York. We couldn’t see ourselves vacationing in the welter of poverty, ignorance, corruption, prostitution, misery and despair, which were the Cuba of 1935. We went back to Havana and in December 1960. Fidel Castro and his revolutionaries had overthrown the American puppet Batista, and defeated his army – also maintained, trained, and paid by American taxpayers for the benefit of American big – business corporations. It was the Year of Education, and and islandwide campaign was being waged to stamp out illiteracy. The shacks and slums were disappearing, to be replaced by prefabricated concrete houses. These had sanitary plumbing, running water, gas and electricity. The barren landed estates had been converted into food–processing plantations for the benefit of all. Everywhere there was hope, pride and exaltation. The Cuban people had recaptured their coiuntry from the exploiters.
A LION IN COURT
by Vincent Hallinan
G.P. Putnam’s Sons
By Graziella Pogolotti
May 3, 2017
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
The image of the tourist was, at first, that of a traveler who, individually, undertook an adventure in search of new horizons to gain knowledge. Thus, exotic visitors began to show up in Cuba, who very often left testimony of their experience through letters, stories or books that proposed more ambitious insights.
The perspective of others gave us a vision of our singularity in the multiple planes that natural and human landscapes offer. For those persons who come from other lands, the richness of a prodigal natural universe –unaffected by the harsh rigors of winter– is striking.
The chromatic luxury of the environment made an impact at first sight. The true singularity was expressed in the human face of a cordial country, with open doors, where the refinement of customs was accompanied by the abandonment of the rigid formalism prevailing in other lands. The deepest bond was established in the human plane and there was also the first-hand approach to a culture forged under different circumstances. Thus, the characteristics of “being Cuban” were beginning to be defined.
Later on, in the twentieth century, workers’ demands gave the middle classes the right to vacation time. Inexpensive because of geographical proximity, access to a tourist trip was within reach of Americans encouraged by the stimulus of the warm climate and the exoticism of a certain folklore trivialized by the trinket trade.
In the winter months, the high season prevailed. It offered an enjoyable warm weather and coincided with the Havana carnival. In Parque Central, a maracas player stood at the door of a store that offered cheap musical instruments, along with belts, purses, and other articles made of genuine crocodile leather.
The flourishing business imposed its perverse features. When Prohibition was established in the United States, Havana was a space open to free consumption of alcohol. Bars multiplied and a malicious substrate became linked to the contraband privileged by the vicinity between the coasts of the two countries.
With its well-known ability to forge mentalities, neo-liberal globalization has appropriated large-scale tourism, associated with what is called with apparent innocence –eternal trap of words–: the leisure industry.
Its extreme expression is manifested in the cruises. In these, instead of observing the new, travelers contemplate each other in a coexistence that consumes most of the available time. In a tour of preset destinations, they pass through some paradigmatic sites and lunge into the search for small souvenirs, trophies to give to friends, once back home. The human landscape and the power of culture have disappeared from the picture. They will get to know, if at all, a masquerade willing to show –with roaring stridency– the expected exotic component.
Before becoming the grave of desperate emigrants, the Mediterranean’s natural environment suffered the predatory effects of tourism. There, too, on a short excursion, the testimonies of one of the original sources of so-called Western culture moved to the background
The Caribbean is the counterpart of that mare nostrum. We preserve virginal areas, but our being an island makes us extremely vulnerable. We have beautiful landscapes, but we lack abundant water resources to quench the thirst of a temporary overpopulation and maintain perfect lawns for golf courses.
In the cultural field, the dangers are even greater. While the Mediterranean tradition still evokes the glories of a dilapidated Parthenon and the infinite management of the Egyptian pyramids, –all victims of neo-colonial perspectives– our culture does not enjoy similar recognition.
Exoticism always maintains a component of underestimation, and our inhabitants have psychologically suffered from this conditioning. Expansive in the last half century, the leisure industry was already emerging, when “the Commander arrived and ordered it to stop.” [a refernence to the lyrics of a song, by Carlos Puebla, referering to Fidel putting an end to capitalist evils].
The hotels that multiplied in Havana were fronts for gambling halls, meeting points for high class prostitution, and business centers of an expanding mafia.
At that time, a master plan for the development of Havana was designed which articulated interests of a diverse nature. Speculation based on the price of the land oriented the growth of the city towards the east, where investments were made with a view to the creation of new neighborhoods.
The government would pay the expenses of infrastructure for investments with an absolute guarantee of profitability. New management centers were being directed there.
The historic city would be at the expense of the underworld. Since the space provided for that predatory universe was insufficient, a floating island would be built in front of the Malecon, for the free flow of large-scale gambling dens. The landscape value of the Malecón –complemented by the gentle hills that shape the profile of the city towards its geographical center, the present-day Plaza de la Revolución– did not matter. The capital of the country, the historical and cultural jewel in our crown, would be hopelessly dismembered.
For a country like ours, lacking in great mining wealth, tourism is a source of income of indisputable importance. The challenge is to devise strategies that enhance the possibilities of development in favor of the nation, culturally and humanly, because in the virtues of our people lies the soul of the nation.
The emergent demand for a large-scale project focused on the advantages of the availability of sun and beaches must be accompanied by the analysis of the risks involved, with the purpose of elaborating the indispensable counterparts. It is important to discard the notion of the leisure industry and to take into account that the fashion of beach enjoyment may be temporary.
Our true strength lies in our status as a large island, endowed with a multitude of possible options: many of them based on a cultural and historical tradition.
There is also the possibility of proposing designs aimed at valuing good living, latent in our large and small cities, in the varied landscape environment, and in the survival of little-explored corners made to the measure of the human being. To elaborate these projects, it would be advisable to complement the geographic and geological maps with a cultural map illuminated by a deep inward look.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
“Religious tourism is part of the Caribbean culture, and is also good business. The local religions of the beautiful islands of the Caribbean, from voodoo in Haiti to obeah in Jamaica and santería in Cuba, provide valuable cultural and historical information about the Caribbean. This type of tourism allows visitors to become acquainted with the main religious sites in the region that are also related to important historical events.” This is the recommendation of a paper published by the Italian magazine TTC Caribbean dedicated to the promotion of tourism to the region.
“The voodoo cult, born in Haiti, has for decades been a good theme for horror movies; but along with other Caribbean religious creeds, it has also become a real attraction for international tourism,” says the promotional article about tourism in the Caribbean Sea area.
In Bonaire –an island in the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean Sea– churches, mosques and synagogues provide a comprehensive service in Papiamento, Dutch, English and Spanish.
In Anguilla, a guide to “Places of Worship” was published with a list of churches of the predominant religious denominations, their addresses and schedules.
In the Dominican Republic there is the “Route of Faith” consisting of a journey or pilgrimage that stops at many monuments and sites of religious significance for Catholics. It includes a visit to Santo Domingo, the city that experienced the first evangelization in America. In addition, there is the “Holy Hill Sanctuary” where Christopher Columbus ordered the first Christian cross to be placed in America.sz
In eastern Cuba, there is the temple of Our Lady of Charity, also known as the Virgin of El Cobre or Our Lady Virgin of Charity in honor of the Virgin Mary, pontifically designated as the Patroness of Cuba.
The image of the virgin in Cuba is enshrined in the Basilica that is the National Sanctuary of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, built in 1926. The sanctuary is in the picturesque village of El Cobre, very near Santiago de Cuba.
On December 20, 1936, Pope Pius XI granted a canonical coronation of the image of the virgin which was found at sea in the 17th Century.
The Caribbean has also become a frequently visited site by tourists as a destination for weddings and other religious ceremonies.
The opinion of experts, says the TTC digital magazine, is that the Caribbean needs to constantly innovate the tourist offers. Religions have a crucial influence in the popular culture and are a major attraction, but they are not sufficiently exploited in the Caribbean.
The religious tourism sector is strongly rooted in Europe where it is estimated that more than fifteen million people enjoy some kind of tourism of this nature every yar. In Latin America, there are several specialized tourist agencies in this sector.
Generally, the main motivations for religious travel are visits to shrines and holy places, as well as pilgrimages, visits to the tombs of saints, attendance and participation in religious celebrations, visits to religious leaders, eucharistic congresses, holy years, etc.
Traditional African religions in the Caribbean and Brazil can greatly benefit tourism in the area, in the same way that religions have promoted the movement of people to remote sites since ancient times.
Religious tourism, says TTC, may be the main reason for travelling, but it can also be part of a holiday trip and provide additional attractions to a destination.
Such is the case, for example, of millions of non-Catholic persons who visit the Vatican each year.
All this makes religious tourism a thriving business. Two years ago, the annual value of religious travel around the world was estimated at 18 billion dollars, involving 300 million travelers.
Religious tourism, unlike all other segments of the tourist market, has faith as its fundamental motivation. At present, the holy cities that have historically been the destination of pilgrimages –Jerusalem, Mecca or Rome– continue to be important tourist landmarks. Perhaps the Caribbean region could also be one soon. Why not?
August 5, 2016.
By Manuel E. Yepe
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Louis A. Pérez Jr., historian and professor from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, the United States, is the author of a number of important books about Cuban national identity. He has published an interesting essay that delves into the meaning of the present links between Cuba and the United States. The title may confuse many about its content: Visit Cuba before it changes!
“There has been something of an implacable tenacity with which the United States has pursued change in Cuba, a single-minded resolve over the course of 55 years: one armed invasion, scores of assassination plots, years of covert operations, and decades of punitive economic sanctions. An embargo –“harsher than toward any other country in the world,” as Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson acknowledged in 2015– designed with malice aforethought: to inflict adversity upon the Cuban people, to deepen Cuban discontent through economic privation, in the hope that such hardship would act to bestir the Cuban people to rise up and, in one fell swoop, bring about the overthrow of the Cuban government.”
This is how Professor Perez summarizes the tragic history of aggression and humiliation endured by the Cuban people because of their firm decision to carry out their project of independence and socialist change.
When the Cuban revolution had barely begun (although it had already produced impressive and universally-applauded popular benefits such as land reform and literacy throughout its people), Washington declared that tourism to Cuba was contrary to the foreign policy and national interests of the United States. Travel to Cuba was thus forbidden by law for all US citizens as part of a cruel policy of hostility.
It is known –because surveys indicate is– that most US citizens wanted and still want friendly relations with Cuba despite the poison that the US mass media has been injecting for more than half a century.
Regrettably, not all Americans base their thinking on the fact that these policies violate basic principles of international law and basic norms of human coexistence. There are
many people who only see the issue from the point of view of what befits the corporations that, as a result of many years of media manipulation, are considered the reason and symbol of the US nation.
The merit of the Obama administration has been in recognizing the failure of the policy pursued by their country for more than half a century. The United States had insisted on political change in Cuba as a precondition for the establishment of normal diplomatic relations.
Near the end of his term, Obama turned this policy on its head, proposed normal diplomatic relations as an initial step; revitalized the system of selective authorization for “people-to-people” travel; modified regulations; softened controls and relaxed restrictions in order to expand the categories of authorized travel to Cuba. He declared himself powerless against the blockade, but urged Congress to lift it.
“Through engagement we have a better chance of bringing about change than we would have otherwise,” said President Obama to justify the modification of his policy towards Cuba. “US presence in Cuba would serve to spread among the Cuban people the values of the United States.”
Cuba accepted the challenge posed by Washington’s “people-to-people” policy because, despite its stated intention that the visitors would promote “democracy” (the term Washington uses to mean the capitalist system) among Cubans, the Cubans took that purpose as an opportunity to show visitors that the defamatory campaign, that US corporate media have been waging at global scale against Cuba for more than half a century, was false.
The distance between the manipulations of the campaign and the truth is so great that from the first minute of contact with Cuban reality, US visitors –as a rule– are open to understanding the reasons that led to the historic popular achievement that is the Cuban revolution. At the same time, they see the senselessness of U.S. government’s policy of hostility of the against the small island nation.
Lies crashing against evidence eventually awakened a strong current of attraction to the Cuban revolution’s process of independence and social justice.
It seems that the new US policy against Cuba is to increase contacts with the Cuban people, support what Washington means by civil society in Cuba, and so to disrupt the interaction between Cubans and their local authorities. All this is based on obvious neo-liberal goals of dividing the people from the state and encouraging the development of a capitalist class on the island.
Cuba, meanwhile, will continue in its revolutionary determination to change what needs to be changed, seizing opportunities, but avoiding traps. Revolution is the mother of change!
May 14, 2016.
Por Manuel E. Yepe
Louis A. Pérez Jr, sociólogo y profesor de la Universidad de Carolina del Norte en Chapel Hill, Estados Unidos, y autor de importantes libros acerca de la identidad nacional cubana, ha publicado un interesante ensayo en el que hurga en el significado de momento actual de los vínculos entre Cuba y Estados Unidos. El título puede confundir a muchos acerca del contenido: “¡Visite Cuba antes de que cambie! “
Con implacable tenacidad Estados Unidos se ha propuesto conseguir el cambio en Cuba. Ha sido una determinación con carácter de fijación en el transcurso de cincuenta y cinco años: una invasión armada, veintenas de complots de asesinato, años de operaciones encubiertas y decenios de sanciones económicas punitivas. Un embargo más duro que el impuesto a cualquier otro país del mundo, según lo admitiera la secretaria de Estado adjunta Roberta Jacobson en 2015. Todo diseñado para infligirle adversidad al pueblo cubano y profundizar el descontento mediante la privación económica, con la esperanza de que las penalidades obren en el sentido de incitar al pueblo cubano a rebelarse para que, en una arremetida, precipite el derrocamiento del gobierno cubano.”
Así resume el profesor Pérez la trágica historia de agresiones y vejaciones que ha soportado el pueblo cubano por su firme decisión de llevar a cabo su proyecto de cambio independentista y socialista. Cuando la revolución cubana apenas se iniciaba (aunque ya había producido impresionantes conquistas populares aplaudidas
universalmente, como la reforma agraria y la alfabetización de todo el pueblo), Washington declaró que el turismo a Cuba era contrario a la política exterior y los intereses nacionales de Estados Unidos. Los viajes a Cuba quedaron así vedados por ley para todos los
estadounidenses como parte de una cruel política de hostilidad. Se conoce, porque las encuestas así lo indican, que la mayoría de los ciudadanos estadounidenses deseaban y siguen queriendo relaciones de amistad con Cuba no obstante el veneno que durante mas de medio siglo les han estado inyectando los medios masivos.
Lo lamentable es que no todos los norteamericanos basan sus criterios en el hecho de que esas políticas violan principios básicos del derecho internacional y normas elementales de convivencia humana. Son muchos los que sólo ven el asunto desde el punto de vista de lo que conviene a las corporaciones que, por efecto de muchos años de manipulación mediática, son consideradas la razón y el símbolo de la nación estadounidense.
El mérito del gobierno de Barack Obama ha estado en haber reconocido el fracaso de la política seguida por su país durante más de medio siglo. Estados Unidos había insistido en el cambio político en Cuba como precondición al establecimiento de relaciones diplomáticas normales. Próximo el final de su mandato, Obama viró esa política de cabeza, propuso relaciones diplomáticas normales como paso inicial; reanimó el sistema de autorizaciones selectivas “pueblo a pueblo”; modificó regulaciones; suavizó controles y relajó restricciones para ampliar los viajes autorizados a Cuba. Se declaró impotente contra el bloqueo, pero exhortó al Congreso a levantarlo.
“Mediante el compromiso, tenemos una mayor oportunidad de inducir cambios que por otros medios” declaró el Presidente para justificar el reajuste de su política hacia Cuba. “La presencia estadounidense en Cuba serviría para difundir en el pueblo cubano los valores de Estados Unidos”.
Cuba había aceptado el reto que suponía la política “pueblo a pueblo” de Washington porque, no obstante su declarada intención de que los visitantes promovieran entre los cubanos la “democracia” (término con que Washington designa al sistema capitalista), los cubanos apreciaban tal propósito como oportunidad para demostrar a los visitantes las falsedades de la campaña difamatoria que desde hacía más de medio siglo libraban a escala global los medios corporativos de Estados Unidos contra Cuba.
La distancia que media entre las manipulaciones de esa campaña y la verdad es tan grande que desde el primer minuto de contacto con la realidad, los visitantes –como regla– se abren al entendimiento de las razones que dieron lugar a la histórica hazaña popular que es la revolución cubana y la sinrazón de la política de hostilidad de su gobierno contra el pequeño país insular.
Las mentiras, al chocar contra las evidencias, acabaron por despertar una fuerte corriente de atracción hacia el proceso independentista y de justicia social que es la revolución cubana.
Todo parece indicar que la nueva política estadounidense contra Cuba consiste en incrementar los contactos con el pueblo cubano, apoyar lo que ellos entienden por sociedad civil en Cuba y romper la interacción entre los cubanos y sus autoridades populares. Todo ello partiendo de claros fines neoliberales de separar al pueblo del Estado y fomentar el desarrollo de una clase capitalista en la isla.
Cuba, por su parte, seguirá en su empeño revolucionario de cambiar lo que tenga que cambiarse, aprovechando oportunidades, pero evitando trampas. ¡La revolución es la madre de los cambios!
Mayo 14 de 2016.