By Jorge Gómez Barata
September 9, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
For stating that: “If I won the elections, I would take up Barack Obama’s policy towards Cuba…”, Joe Biden, candidate for the presidency of the United States, does not need any more to settle the doubts regarding the government and the Cuban people.
Giving continuity to Obama’s Cuban policy expresses the will for détente that would configure a platform to bring positions closer, define agendas and propitiate a climate from which it is possible to advance, not only towards what Cuba wanted, but also towards what Barack Obama preferred. He considered the policy followed by the previous administrations obsolete, including the blockade that, according to his creed, instead of isolating Cuba, isolated the United States”.
Obama was neither a friend nor an ally of Cuba, but rather a president of the United States who, saving the asymmetries and the historical disagreement initiated by the Platt Amendment, as well as the insurmountable ideological differences derived both from the anti-communism in force in US policy and the aggressiveness in the face of the Revolution, worked to replace the hostility between the United States and Cuba with neighborliness.
Nobody discovers anything new when they observe that, as the political head of the empire, Obama would like a change in the orientation of Cuban policy, for which he set up premises, different from the aggressive policies of his predecessors. Obama chose options that were closer to the battle of ideas preferred by Cuba. Obviously, there are also Cubans who would applaud a socialist United States, but that does not mean that they would make such a commitment a political objective.
Whatever may be said, Barack Obama was the only US president who, in the 118 years of Cuba’s republican history, spoke with the national authorities on bilateral issues on an equal footing. He did this without prior conditions, without demands and without meanness, which had been a hope of the Cubans and a brilliant conquest of the Revolution. Besides, he is the only one who visited the Island and fraternally talked to the people and the authorities.
Raúl Castro, who added political sagacity and diplomatic skill to his firmness in the defense of national sovereignty and socialist principles, saw the moment when an opportunity opened up and, with integrity and flexibility, took advantage of it. He took steps towards meeting the political coherence of Barack Obama, reaching a common ground on which it was possible to understand each other and move forward until diplomatic relations were re-established.
The flexibility and political stature allowed both to understand that: differences do not prevent civilized coexistence. From Biden, I expect nothing else… I hope he wins. See you there.
By Osviel Castro Medel
August 25, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
From the nasobuco, that addendum of which we knew little in times of normality, one can write today almost a treatise, the same with Cuban humor as with the most serious things.
There have been those who, accustomed to using it almost all the time, forgot to take it off before performing some acts and thus spilled coffee on their bodies or bit their tongues trying to eat.
It has also been responsible for certain language tangles, such as that of a Bayamese man who spoke to his wife about “fixing the pedals to look for food for the boys” and she understood that when the carnivals were suspended they would have to sell the “males” (as pigs are called in much of the Orient). “Don’t even think about it,” she answered, to the surprise of the first.
Regardless of any joke, the nasobuco helped, along with other measures, to contain the new coronavirus in Cuba. However, for some weeks now we have seen with alarm how hundreds of people have dispensed with its use, not only in the Cuban capital, the epicenter of the disease.
Let us go -even in the provinces that are right now in the third phase- through some main streets, let us go to one of the long daily queues, let us go to the parks, to the bus stops, let us get on public transportation or let us enter centers that serve the population and we will find many citizens without the minimum protection that these times advise.
There have even been images uploaded to social networks of crowds drinking beer from the same tap, or rum from the bottle, as if they were celebrating the end of the pandemic. They have, unfortunately, entered the so-called relaxation stage, unaware of the aforementioned and recited perception of risk.
The bitter spike in numbers these days – which are people, not numbers, of course – is linked precisely to overconfidence or chanting victory ahead of time.
A few days ago a friend, in an educated hypothesis, was walking without her nasobuco in the middle of a crowd. When I made the observation, she answered the incredible: “Ah, we are already in the third phase, stop that, there is no need”.
When the Temporary Working Group of the Government for the confrontation of the new coronavirus announced the entry into the third phase of almost all the provinces and the special municipality of Isla de la Juventud, it was emphasized: “We reiterate the need to maintain the health measures and physical isolation, which are applicable in the three phases, including the use of nasobuco in public and closed places, where there is a concentration of people”.
Do we need to pressure our hands a little with the fines and other coercive measures? Could it be that the messages in the media calling for a collective conscience do not reach the majority? Will we courageously denounce the irresponsible without creating a witch-hunt? Have we already forgotten the regulations regarding the hygienization of hands and surfaces, the distance between people and the recommendation to keep ourselves informed?
These are questions that can help move thought and generate action. In the end, the most important thing is to know that the battle against the virus is not over; it has probably entered its most critical phase, and we can continue to move backwards if, as we say in the popular jargon, we throw ourselves into the middle street or get infected with “extreme freedom” and throw the nasobuco and all the rules related to the preservation of our health into a corner.