By Salim Lamrani
August 15, 2021
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Photo, Carlos Rafael Diéguez
“In reality, the United States expects a total and definitive surrender from the Cuban people.”
Born in 1930 in Cuba, in the small town of Vueltas, to a Polish Jewish father who fled the anti-Semitic persecution of his country and a Cuban mother, Max Lesnik became involved early, at the age of 15, in political militancy. He frequented the ranks of the Orthodoxo Party founded by Eduardo Chibás, a symbol of the struggle against government corruption, and quickly became the national secretary of the Orthodoxo Youth in the 1950s.
Max Lesnik acquired fame throughout the country and became friends with Fidel Castro, whom he met at the University of Havana. Fidel was also a member of the Orthodoxo Party and even presented his candidacy in the 1952 elections for the Congress of the Republic before Fulgencio Batista’s coup d’état put an end to constitutional legality.
Lesnik, like many young Cubans, revolted against the military dictatorship of Batista, supported by the United States and was part of the leadership of the Second Front of the Escambray, led by Eloy Gutiérrez Menoyo in the activity of ideological, political and propaganda work.
At the triumph of the Revolution, on January 1, 1959, Lesnik was the first revolutionary leader to be interviewed on television by journalist Carlos Lechuga. With the installation of the new power, Max Lesnik resumed his work as a journalist, publishing chronicles in Bohemia magazine and hosting a daily program on the National Radio Station Cadena Oriental de Radio.
But Lesnik began to criticize the hegemony of the communists in power. He opposed the alliance with the Soviet Union. According to him, Cuba should be independent from Washington and also from Moscow. Total sovereignty.
In 1961, the situation was critical and Max Lesnik was forced to go into exile in the United States. But he did not join the ranks of the supporters of the old regime, nor did he accept the perks of the CIA, which sought to recruit political figures from exile in order to organize a movement aimed at overthrowing the Cuban Revolution. When he heard the news, Fidel Castro tried to convince Max Lesnik to return to Cuba through their mutual friend Alfredo Guevara, to no avail.
In Miami, Lesnik created his radio program in which he denounced the Bay of Pigs invasion of April 17, 1961 and accused the participants of being mercenaries in the pay of a foreign power. The next day, he was visited by several armed individuals who coerced him into making a live apology to the audience. Max Lesnik refused and saved his life thanks to hesitation on the part of the assailants who decided to leave the studio without carrying out their threat.
In the mid-1960s, Max Lesnik decided to found the tabloid newspaper Réplica, which would become a magazine a few years later with weekly print runs that could reach 100,000 copies. This professional adventure allowed him to acquire great notoriety in the Cuban and Latino community in the United States, as well as a certain economic tranquility.
In the late 1970s, Max Lesnik played an essential role in establishing a dialogue between the Cuban community in the United States and the authorities in Havana. He returned to Cuba and saw his friend Fidel Castro again after 17 years. The rapprochement with Havana was not to the liking of Miami extremists. Max Lesnik was the victim of a first bomb attack in 1979. In all, he was the target of eleven similar attacks. His magazine did not survive the intolerance and the last issue came out in 1990, after the abandonment of the main advertising sponsors, also threatened by the violent exiles from Florida.
Max Lesnik was also involved in the rapprochement between the Catholic Church and the Cuban Revolution and in the origin of Pope John Paul II’s historic visit to Cuba in 1998. “The man of the two Havana’s”, referring to the Cuban capital and Miami’s “Little Havana” where he resides, is today director of Radio Miami.
In these conversations, Max Lesnik talks about the history of Cuba, his personal trajectory, his ties with Fidel Castro and the Cuba of today.
SL: When did you meet Fidel Castro?
ML: I met Fidel Castro at the University of Havana, at the then Plaza Cadenas, in front of the Law School. We met on a bench where students met to talk about current political events and to organize demonstrations against the governments of the time, whether against the increase in the prices of basic necessities, the price of electricity, the price of public transportation.
I entered the University in 1948. Fidel was already in the Faculty and was politically involved in student life. I wanted to meet the different youth leaders who maintained a vertical position in the face of the corruption and gangsterism of the time.
Fidel was a young rebel with political concerns. I understood from the first moment that this was someone who would be the future leader of a different Cuba or a martyr. I believe I was not mistaken. Fidel entered the Pantheon of Latin American liberators during his lifetime.
SL: What were the main characteristics of Fidel Castro?
ML: Fidel was at the same time a politician of great magnitude, a thinker and a lucid visionary. He managed to build a different Cuba and a different Latin America. It is hard for us Cubans to realize that we are the engines of an emancipation process, with our successes and our mistakes. But there is a constancy in the path pointed out by José Martí at the end of the 19th century. Fidel Castro managed to catalyze the enthusiasm and frustrations of several generations to build a revolutionary Cuba.
SL: Could you tell us an anecdote that illustrates Fidel Castro’s personality?
ML: I remember that at the University, on this famous bench in front of the Law School, we fraternized in the foundation of a committee called “September 30th Committee against Gangsterism”.
It was the year 1949, under the presidency of Carlos Prío Socarrás, marked by clashes between violent gangs that fought in the streets of Havana for hegemony within the State bureaucracy. These groups came from the revolutionary elements that participated in the struggle against Machado and Batista. Then, they began to confront each other to get crumbs of power.
In order to obtain social peace, the Government established the “Pacto de las pandillas”, granting well-paid positions in the administration -botellas, as they were called at the time- to the leaders of those groups, who allowed themselves to be bribed. These groups then threatened the students of the University and the members of the Orthodox Youth, who were the only ones to denounce government corruption.
The University was the banner of the values of the Republic, inherited from Julio Antonio Mella, founder of the Cuban Communist Party and Antonio Guiteras, the soul of the Revolution of 1933. The Government wanted to crush this university resistance, using gangsters against the students. There were even some student leaders who allowed themselves to be bribed.
SL: What was the role of this committee?
ML: Its role was to publicly denounce the gangsterism and the threats against the university. We gathered an Assembly where all the student presidents of the departments were present. This Committee had a collegiate leadership made up of the leaders of the Orthodoxo Youth – of which I was a member – and socialist youth leaders.
Fidel Castro was a member of the September 30th Committee and assigned to denounce who were the ones receiving money from the Government. Fidel was always very skilled at uncovering what was behind the scenes. In this precise case, Fidel Castro took the floor on behalf of the September 30th Committee and denounced one by one all the corrupt and government-sponsored gangsters, even revealing the nature of the “botella”.
The gangsters were close to the University and found out the reality. It was a courageous denunciation on the part of Fidel, who listed names and showed documents to back up his claims. The bandits were enraged and informed the Committee members that they were going to pay with their lives for the denunciation. Fidel received the news as he spoke. But, far from keeping quiet, he spoke more virulently, insisting on the names of each corrupt person.
SL: What happened next?
ML: This generated an enormous scandal because we had unmasked the bandits. When the Assembly ended we met to find out how we were going to get out of the University. I was a leader of the Orthodoxo Youth and I had a certain prestige because I was linked to Eduardo Chibás. We had to save Fidel Castro, who was in danger of death. I knew that they would not take the risk of assassinating Fidel if he met me. Eduardo Chibás, the leader of the Orthodoxo Party, was alive at that time and had a Sunday radio program that all Cubans followed. Assassinating Fidel at the risk of killing the leader of the Orthodoxo Youth was too dangerous for the government. Finally we were able to leave the University without much trouble, although Fidel had to stay hidden in my house for several weeks.
SL: Where were you when the attack on the Moncada Barracks took place on July 26, 1953?
ML: I was in Havana, with two of Fidel’s friends, Dr. Aramista Taboada and Alfredo Esquivel. There was a lot of speculation about Moncada. Some thought that Colonel Pedraza had carried out a coup d’état, while others claimed that there had been an uprising by the garrison.
We analyzed the situation and wondered where Fidel was. We knew he was very bold. The “Chinese” Esquivel went to the house of Mirtha Díaz-Balart, Fidel’s wife, who informed us that her husband had not appeared for three days. At that moment, we were certain that Fidel Castro was involved in one way or another in the Moncada attack.
We then became active everywhere to prevent the dictatorship from assassinating Fidel and his comrades. He was captured and imprisoned for two years.
SL: Did you have any differences with Fidel Castro at that time?
ML: I had no disagreement in principle with Fidel. The problem was that he had carried out the Moncada coup on his own, without notifying anyone. It was a conspiracy that he organized alone, in which I was not involved. Until the last moments, very few people knew what they were going to do -I am talking about the participants-, maybe Raúl Castro, Jesús Montané, Abel Santamaría, that is, a very limited group. Fidel was always very discreet and his comrades had great confidence in him.
When he got out of prison, Fidel Castro began to meet with some people. I had introduced him to Alvaro Barba, who had been President of the Federation of University Students (FEU), as well as to José Antonio Echevarría, of the Revolutionary Directorate.
SL: What was your role in the struggle against the Batista dictatorship?
ML: When Fidel Castro disembarked on December 2, 1956, the political opposition was paralyzed by the great repression unleashed by Batista. The persecution was very strong and there was no space for civic and peaceful political activity.
I had formed a strong friendship with some elements of the Orthodoxo Party who had revolted in the Sierra del Escambray, in the center of the island, and who had formed the Second Front of the Escambray. When I arrived in the area, there was a division between the Revolutionary Directorate and the Second Front formed then by elements of Fidel Castro’s 26th of July Movement that had risen up, in which my friend Roger Redondo and Lázaro Artola, who was head of the Orthodoxo Youth in Camagüey, were included.
After the attack on the Presidential Palace on March 13, 1957, Eloy Gutiérrez Menoyo arrived in the Escambray area to establish a guerrilla front to strengthen those who had already risen up there. I was appointed in charge of propaganda for the Second Front. I went back and forth to Havana to look for economic resources.
SL: Fulgencio Batista fled the country on January 1, 1959. How did you hear the news?
ML: I was in Havana when Batista fell. I had an important mission to accomplish as a plane loaded with weapons from the United States was to supply the Second Front. I was clandestine and a friend of the Orthodoxo Youth, Lucas Alvarez Tabio, nephew of a Supreme Court magistrate, informed me of the news. When Batista left power, he wanted to give a constitutional form to his departure and appointed Magistrate Carlos Piedra.
SL: What did you do after the triumph of the Revolution?
ML: Many tried to get a position in the new power. This was not my case. I dedicated myself to my profession as a journalist and wrote in Bohemia. I also had a radio program. José Pardo Llada, who was the most listened journalist in the history of Cuba, had his program after mine at one o’clock in the afternoon.
Then the Revolution was radicalized and the Communist Party began to establish its hegemony in all sectors. The United States opposed the new power from the beginning and this hostility led to its radicalization.
I was very critical on my radio program. I stated that I was against U.S. imperialism but I was not a communist either. I did not want to have an ideology imposed on me.
SL: Were you against an alliance with the communists?
ML: I was resolutely against an alliance with a group that had collaborated with Batista in 1944 and had not played a key role during the insurrectionary struggle against tyranny. The communists began to push aside all those who had taken a different position.
SL: Did you have relations with Raul Castro?
ML: We had common friends like Alfredo Guevara, father of the New Latin American Cinema, and Léster Rodríguez, who participated in the Moncada. Raul was Fidel’s younger brother. I remember that during my honeymoon in Mexico, on December 30, 1955, it was Raul who came to pick up my wife and me at the airport, Raul was not yet second in command. Fidel was very careful about hierarchies. He did not want any privileges for his brother. Raul later earned his positions fighting in the Sierra Maestra and the Second Eastern Front to become President of the Republic.
SL: Did you meet Che Guevara?
ML: I never talked to him but I know he had a negative image of me. He had been told that I was a dangerous guy. We met once from car to car but nothing more. It wasn’t my place to go to him and tell him he was wrong. It was not my style. I regret it because I think that if I had met Che in the Sierra del Escambray, things would have been different.
SL: Let’s talk now about your departure from Cuba, why did you decide to go into exile in the United States?
ML: In my radio program I was very critical of the communists and the security apparatus was in their hands. I had become a target and I could not stay in Cuba.
I decided then to leave Cuba clandestinely together with the leaders of the Second Front of the Escambray in January 1961. Actually, I think that someone in the intelligence services who was aware of our departure let us go. When we arrived in the United States, the authorities imprisoned us for several months in Texas.
SL: Was Fidel Castro informed of your departure?
ML: When Fidel learned that I was in prison in the United States, he sent Alfredo Guevara to tell my mother to send me the following message: “Let him cross the Mexican border and return to Cuba. He has no problem here”. I received the message later but, in any case, I would not have returned. But I will always thank Fidel and Alfredo for that.
Likewise, Fidel Castro intervened to allow my wife and daughters to leave the country. The Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs at the time, Carlos Olivares, refused to issue the passports because I had not signed the permission to leave the country, something I could not do since I was in Miami. Fidel personally phoned Olivares to give him the instructions.
SL: Were you at that time in ideological rupture with Fidel Castro?
ML: Not with Fidel, but with the process, yes.
SL: Did you meet with exiled political leaders in Miami?
Yes, with the Prío family, for example. I have an anecdote about that. The Prío family were close friends of the comedian Guillermo Álvarez Guedes. When a brother of Alvarez Guedes died in Miami, at the Caballero Funeral Home on 8th Street and 27th Avenue, we met there for the funeral. I knew Guillermo from Cuba. I went to greet him and offer my condolences. He was at the door of the funeral home with Antonio Prío, the brother of former president Carlos Prío Socarrás and we began to talk. An elderly lady arrived, who had been Orthodoxo and who knew me since my time as a youth leader, recognized Antonio Prío, who had been a candidate for mayor of Havana and Minister of Finance. He had been involved in a big scandal and had been accused of having stolen 7 million pesos, which at that time was equivalent to $7 million dollars and which today would be about 70 million dollars. It seems incredible, Max Lesnik, Orthodoxo leader, you are here with Antonio Prío Socarrás, the thief who stole 7 million pesos, who was punished by the people of Cuba, since he lost the mayoralty to Castellanos”. The lady gave us a tremendous speech.
Then Antonio put a hand in his pocket and said, “Madam, please, I am going to ask you a question: how many millions of inhabitants did Cuba have in 1950, which is when you accuse me of having stolen 7 million pesos?” The lady replied, “Well, seven million inhabitants”. Then Prío replied: “Well, take your peso and don’t fuck with me anymore”.
SL: You played an important role in the establishment of a dialogue between the Cuban community in the United States and the Government of Havana in 1978. Could you tell us the genesis of this historic process of reconciliation?
ML: In 1976, James Carter, former Democratic governor of the State of Georgia, won the presidency. He was a friend of Alfredo Durán, a Cuban involved in American political life, who became Chairman of the Florida Democratic Party. I knew him from my profession as a journalist and editor of Réplica magazine. All the politicians in the United States constantly asked me for an interview because our magazine was not sectarian and gave the floor to everyone, without distinction, open to democratic debate and a plurality of ideas. It was the Spanish-language magazine with the largest circulation in the United States.
One day, Durán asked me and explained to me that he was supporting a candidate for the presidency of the United States named James Carter. He was due to stop in Miami and Durán was in charge of his tour in the city. When Carter visited Réplica, I interviewed him and asked him what his Cuba policy would be. Surprisingly, he replied that he would establish communication with Cuba to improve human rights. It was the first time that a U.S. politician had such a constructive discourse towards Havana.
SL: How did the process unfold?
ML: Carter was elected president of the United States and began a process of discreet rapprochement. Diplomatic representations were opened in both capitals, which illustrated Carter’s willingness to establish direct contact with the island’s authorities and put an end to twenty years of confrontation.
Bernardo Benes, an eminent banker who was part of Carter’s delegation during his visit to Miami, traveled to Panama to see his friend Alberto Pons, a Cuban who had a successful guayabera business. A brother of Pons, who lived in Cuba, was also present and a discussion was opened on Cuba-U.S. relations as well as the human rights situation. Pons had read the interview with Benes in Replica about it and said the following to him, “Why don’t you talk about it with Fidel Castro?”
Benes laughed and replied that he was willing to talk to Fidel Castro. When he returned to Havana, Pons’ brother informed the authorities. Benes, for his part, brought this conversation to the attention of a prominent CIA agent in charge of Latin America, who was based in Mexico. As a banker, Benes had many contacts. He had worked for the U.S. Government at the Inter-American Development Bank. He was a very open man, with relationships all over the place.
The CIA agent informed the U.S. Government. Benes made contact with Bob Pastor, a close collaborator of Carter and got permission to explore the possibilities of rapprochement with the authorities in Havana. With Charles Dascal, a Cuban-Jewish president of Banco Continental, where I had all my accounts, Benes met several times with Fidel Castro and obtained the release of 3,500 political prisoners involved in the counterrevolutionary war in the 1960s.
SL: When did you return to Cuba?
ML: During one of those meetings with Benes, Fidel told him that he was inviting me to travel to Cuba. The whole thing was a secret operation because the extreme right in Florida was opposed to any idea of normalization. Only both governments were aware of it.
In 1978 we took a private jet from Fort Lauderdale to Havana. I was with Benes and Dascal. We landed discreetly at José Martí Airport. We were met by Abrantes, a general in the Ministry of the Interior, deputy minister of MININT and head of Fidel’s bodyguard, with him was José Luis Padrón, one of his top aides. I had known Abrantes since pre-revolutionary times, we lived in the same neighborhood in Old Havana, although we were not friends.
SL: How did your meeting with Fidel Castro develop?
ML: The next day, Abrantes came looking for me to tell me that Fidel wanted to see me. We went to the Palace and Fidel showed up. I remember asking him, “What’s the deal?”. It was about the President of the Republic and I had to respect protocol.
Notice that he answered me: “For you, Fidel”. The framework was then established. We began a dialogue that lasted several hours because we had not seen each other since 1960. We talked about the past, about our university days. Fidel likes to recall anecdotes.
Fidel asked me many questions about Réplica. He wanted to know all the details, the print run, the distribution, the technique, the publicity, its influence. It’s one of Fidel’s characteristics. He is very curious. Then, suddenly, he asked me: “But why did you leave Cuba?”. I explained that I did not agree with the Cuban communists and that I was opposed to an alliance with the Soviet Union. With much wisdom Fidel told me the following, “If you had held my position, you would have done the same thing to save the Revolution and prevent Cuba from losing its sovereignty.”
I think Fidel was absolutely right. Looking back on the events, I must say that his analysis was true. I had been wrong. If what I had wanted had been done, that is, to keep Cuba out of the alliance with the USSR, Washington would have crushed the Revolution. If Fidel had not accepted the hand of the Russians, the Revolution would not have survived.
I remember that when we said goodbye, Fidel gave me a painting of Portocarrero, which I still have in my living room and he said something like “you don’t look so old, but you are wiser”.
SL: What did Fidel Castro think about James Carter?
ML: About Carter, Fidel thought he was capable of carrying out the reconciliation process. The prospects were then encouraging.
Unfortunately, the Mariel migratory exodus in 1980 and the political crisis that followed put an end to the bilateral dialogue. People opposed to any normalization with Cuba gravitated around Carter. Zbignew Brezinsky, of Polish origin, a staunch anti-communist, was Carter’s Security Advisor. For him, no diplomacy with the communists was possible. He opposed dialogue and Secretary of State Salius Vans, who was in favor of a rapprochement with Cuba.
Then, when a group of Cubans forced their way into the Peruvian embassy, causing the death of a Cuban guard, the diplomats refused to hand over the refugees to justice. The Cuban authorities then decided to withdraw the custody protecting the embassy and the newspaper Granma published a note saying that all those who wanted to leave the country could do so through the Peruvian embassy. Thousands of people then entered the embassy. Brezinsky took advantage of the occasion to influence Carter and forced him to make that famous statement inviting Cubans to travel to the United States.
Fidel Castro then felt betrayed because the conflict was with Peru and not with the United States. He replied by saying on television that all Cubans who wanted to travel to the United States could do so through the port of Mariel. In total, 120,000 people left the island.
The story is well known. Reagan came to power and ended the policy of rapprochement with Cuba.
What were the consequences on a personal level?
ML: I was the target of the right-wing Cubans because I published articles and chronicles in Réplica in favor of dialogue. In the same way, I had denounced the horrendous crime committed in October 1976 against a Cuban civilian airplane that took the lives of 73 people. Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch had planted a bomb on board. I denounced these terrorist acts while the extreme right applauded them.
I was then the victim of several bombings, like other supporters of dialogue. In total, the terrorists carried out eleven attacks against Réplica. Nobody defended our right to freedom of expression, neither the Miami Herald nor the Inter-American Press Association. The only one who defended us was the Miami News, which does not exist today. We had to put an end to the Réplica venture because we no longer had advertisers.
SL: In 1994, another migratory crisis generated tensions between Cuba and the United States. You acted to avoid an escalation, could you remind us of the events?
ML: I was in Havana with Alfredo Guevara and Eusebio Leal. I expressed my concern about the crisis that could lead to a larger conflict. Clinton was a weak president and could get dragged down. Carter could be the solution and I could contact him through Alfredo Duran.
Eusebio Leal asked me to return to the hotel and wait for his call. At three o’clock in the morning, he called me and said, “Your college friend says to do whatever you want”. It was Fidel. I then informed Duran of the situation and asked him to contact Carter urgently. When I returned to Miami, we met in my office with Durán. On my side, I was on the phone talking to Alfredo Guevara who was with Fidel, and Durán, for his part, had Carter, who was in Atlanta. The former president then sent a message to Clinton.
SL: Let’s talk now about the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1998.
ML: The pope had named Jaime Ortega a cardinal. I knew the apostolic nuncio in Havana, Monsignor Benjamino Stella. There was a tense situation with the Church. In addition, Ortega had been invited to Miami. In this regard, Fidel told us in a meeting in Havana that after Ortega’s visit to Miami, he was going to return as a counterrevolutionary. I remember saying to Fidel: “Why don’t we give him the benefit of the doubt? I will be there and I will tell you”, I told Fidel.
Fidel found out that I was going to attend the reception given by the nuncio the following day. He then asked Eusebio Leal and Alfredo Guevara to be present as well. The following day, during the reception, to which all the members of the Government were invited, only Isabel Allende, who was at that time Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, showed up.
At two o’clock in the morning, when the reception was over, the nuncio regretted the absence of the government authorities. I then told him that Fidel Castro had personally sent Leal and Guevara and that he wished to normalize relations with the Church. I told him everything, without betraying any secrets. I even turned to Jaime Ortega to tell him: “Fidel thinks you are going to come back from Miami as a counterrevolutionary”. But notice that Ortega behaved well in Miami and that opened the way to a rapprochement between the Vatican and Havana.
During the Pope’s visit in 1998, the Apostolic Nuncio invited me to Cuba. On the day of his departure, the pope received us privately with three other friends, journalists Alfredo Muñoz of Agence France Presse, Luis Baez and the historical commander Manuel Piñeiro Losada, also friends of the apostolic nuncio. The nuncio told the Pope: “Lesnik is from the house”. I remember telling him that I was not Catholic but Jewish and that I was not a practicing Jew. I also told him that my mother was Cuban and my father Polish. The pope said with a certain sense of humor: “God bless all Poles”. Of course, since he was Polish too….
SL: Let’s move on to another topic. As a Cuban journalist living in Miami, what do you think about freedom of expression in Cuba?
ML: It is worth remembering some elementary truths. Freedom of expression is directly linked to the security of the State. I am not referring to the police apparatus or the intelligence services. When a State feels secure, when there is no external or internal force capable of destabilizing it, freedom of expression is total. As soon as there is an internal or external threat – in this case, an external threat which is the United States and an internal threat which is the dissidents supported by a foreign power – restrictions on freedom of expression begin.
Take the case of the United States, which is the most powerful nation in the world. Despite the crises, it is still the richest country. It is said that there is full and absolute freedom of the press in the United States. I am a journalist. I know the subject. In reality, freedom of the press is in the hands of the media owners, controlled by capitalist forces to defend their interests. Media concentration has been reinforced in recent years. Before, a newspaper was owned by the publisher, as was my case. Today, the shareholders of the press belong to the military-industrial complex. Then, when a State feels threatened, it reduces freedom of expression, as was the case under McCarthyism, when fundamental freedoms were violated while nobody threatened the United States.
In Cuba, as the State sees the disappearance of external or internal threats promoted from outside, I am convinced that the space reserved for critical debate will expand.
SL: In a word, the degree of freedom of expression in Cuba depends on the degree of U.S. hostility towards the island.
ML: Exactly. As tensions ease and the U.S. stops using the internal opposition to destabilize the state, there will be more freedom of expression in Cuba. But it already exists. Of course, with its limits, but there is more freedom of expression in Cuba every day.
There is another problem. For years, Cubans, in the name of defending the Revolution, hid their mistakes so as not to threaten national unity. They thought that criticizing the defects of the system weakened them in the face of the enemy, when in fact it is a demonstration of strength. On the other hand, the enemy uses this facade of unity as an angle of attack. When an incompetent leader is criticized, the man is criticized, not the Revolution. Open and healthy criticism from the revolutionary camp to improve the system and denounce corruption does not weaken the process. Raul Castro is the perfect example.
I consider that one of the most important critics of the Cuban press has been and is Fidel Castro himself.
SL: What do you think of the single party in Cuba?
ML: The debate around the single-party and multi-party systems is interesting. Democracy does not arise from parties. It should be a process in which all points of view are debated, even if there is only one party or none. The party has nothing to do with democracy, which is more than 2,000 years old while the political party was born in the 19th century as an institution.
It is said that Cuba is a dictatorship because there is only one party. This is a simplistic reading. There are dictatorships in the world with a multi-party system. Under Batista, there were many parties and yet it was a dictatorship.
SL: What do you think of the opposition in Cuba?
ML: Unfortunately, since the triumph of the Revolution, the opposition is under the control of the United States. I would like there to be a true patriotic and independent opposition in Cuba. But, from the beginning, Washington financed the dissident groups.
If we take a look at history, through the whole Cuban revolutionary process, from the wars of independence to the struggle against Batista, no insurrectionary group was financed by a foreign power. It is important to point out this reality. Cubans fight for a noble cause, for patriotism, not for money. There were never people financed during the war of 1868, nor during the war of 1895, nor during the struggle against Machado or against Batista.
Since 1959, the United States has considered Cuba a threat, before the Revolution declared itself socialist or signed a strategic alliance with the Soviet Union. At that time, the “Revolution was as Cuban as the palms,” as Fidel Castro put it. Washington then began to finance internal groups. That was the opposition’s undoing because Cubans cannot understand that a fellow countryman would accept money from a foreign power to oppose their government. That is why the opposition is insignificant in Cuba and incapable of rallying the population around it.
SL: But there are dissatisfied sectors in Cuba that do not receive money from the United States.
ML: I am not saying that there are not dissatisfied people in Cuba. They must be substantial, especially since the Special Period following the demise of the Soviet Union. But transforming this discontent into political opposition against the government is not easy, because Cubans want to preserve their system and improve it. The vast majority do not want another model.
An honest political opposition must be in favor of national sovereignty and against U.S. economic sanctions. It must be willing to defend José Martí’s dream of a free and independent Cuba. It must seek Cuban solutions to Cuban problems and not look to the North. It must rid itself of its inferiority complex and of being submissive, which consists of believing that it always has to ask Washington’s permission to undertake an initiative.
SL: Why are there no revolts in Cuba, as there are in Europe and the rest of the world?
ML: The media dissidents cannot benefit from popular support. They have neither a defined program nor a leader. The fabricated opposition is caught in a contradiction. To fight for freedom, one must be free. However, the dissidents are prisoners of U.S. foreign policy towards Cuba. The day the annual budget of $20 million that Washington dedicates to it disappears, that opposition will also disappear.
SL: How do you analyze the changes in Cuba’s economic model?
ML: To answer your question, I must first define myself from an ideological point of view. I have always been and am a socialist. As a socialist, I consider that capitalism does not distribute wealth in society, but [gives] privileges to the richest. When capitalist society is transformed into a statist Revolution, as in Cuba where almost everything is in the hands of the State, the capitalist bureaucracy, which is efficient, is replaced with a party bureaucracy, which in many cases is inefficient.
Today, the Cuban process allows Cubans to work on their own and favors the cleansing of the State of this unsustainable bureaucracy that impedes development. But Cuban society should favor, in addition to individual work, cooperatives. In other words, socialism is not State capitalism. Socialism stipulates that the means of production must be in the hands of the workers. The role of the state is to carry out this process over the long term. When a license is given to a person to establish his trade, it is a positive step. But the State must be bolder and turn the enterprises over to the workers and transform them into socialist cooperatives.
The problem in Cuba, with the bureaucracy and paternalism, is that everyone considers that everything belongs to them. That is why there is so much theft in hotels and state enterprises. The administrator, in charge of the proper functioning of the structure, in certain cases is the first to steal. There is only one way to break this vicious circle: by bringing criminals to justice and, above all, by socializing the means of production. In a cooperative, theft is no longer possible because the workers are members and will not allow this type of criminal behavior. If a member of a cooperative, let us say of a restaurant, wants to take a ham home, it will be impossible for him to do so because he will run up against the opposition of his fellow members. Thus, the property of the cooperative will be better protected.
SL: Should the State leave the entire economy in the hands of cooperatives?
ML: No, the State should keep control of the big companies, of the country’s basic industry, as well as tourism and nickel. It should keep control of the nation’s strategic resources.
On the other hand, barbershops, restaurants and other small businesses should be out of state control. Economic reform should not be limited to small private enterprises but should also include cooperatives. This is a fundamental objective. I am quite optimistic about this and I hope that Cubans will feel, with each passing day, more proud of their nationality.
SL: What are the main obstacles to these changes?
ML: They are of two types: internal and external. Externally, the United States will take advantage of the new situation of free enterprise to use it against the Revolution and to destabilize the country. This is the first risk.
Then, Cuban leaders should not let the bureaucracy fabricate phantoms to preserve their power. They must differentiate an efficient official from an incompetent bureaucrat who pretends to scare the State in order to keep his position. Those are the two challenges.
SL: What do you think of the way the Western media portrays Cuba?
ML: I have been a journalist for more than half a century. It is clear that there is a double standard when it comes to Cuba. Some time ago, the media reported the story of an opposition leader arrested by the police and released a few hours later. That same day there was a demonstration in the Dominican Republic. The police fired and three people were killed. The Western press did not say a word [about that]. An event that goes unnoticed in the rest of the world becomes news when it comes to Cuba.
SL: Why does the United States continue to impose economic sanctions on Cuba, more than a quarter of a century after the end of the Cold War?
ML: Initially, the economic sanctions were imposed following Cuba’s decision to nationalize some U.S. companies. But it is worth remembering that U.S. hostility, or at least distrust, of Fidel Castro predates the triumph of the Revolution. Washington did everything to prevent Fidel Castro from coming to power and supported Fulgencio Batista until the last moments. After the dictator fled, the United States imposed a military junta but it lasted only a few hours and was destroyed by the popular and revolutionary wave. It is important to remember this historical reality.
Since that time, the Revolution has been in power and the United States has taken every possible and imaginable measure to try to overthrow it. All the diplomatic rhetoric elaborated since 1959 to justify the state of siege against Cuba is a succession of pretexts that do not stand up to analysis. Washington thus evoked the nationalizations, then the alliance with the Soviet Union, then Cuba’s aid to revolutionary movements throughout the world, then the single party, then human rights. In reality, the United States expects a total and definitive surrender of the Cuban people, something that has not happened in more than half a century and which, in my opinion, will not happen.
SL: However, Washington normalized relations with China and Vietnam and ended sanctions against these countries. Why is it different with Cuba?
ML: The policy of sanctions against Cuba – the objective of which is to starve the Cuban people – has failed. And I think the United States is having a hard time being clear-headed about this and admitting this reality. The maintenance of the sanctions is aimed at preventing the country’s development and the neighbor to the North refuses to recognize its mistake and maintains an obsolete and cruel state of siege that arouses the opprobrium of the international community, even of the United States’ most faithful allies.
I believe that sooner rather than later the United States will have to lift the sanctions against Cuba. Even President Barack Obama has spoken out against those sanctions and now it will be up to the U.S. Congress to take the initiative by interpreting the sentiments of the U.S. people.
SL: What is the impact of the economic sanctions on the Cuban community in the United States?
ML: The economic sanctions constitute not only aggression against the Cuban people but also affect the American people. Preventing a U.S. citizen from traveling to a country 90 miles away is an attack on a constitutional human right.
Likewise, the Cuban community in the United States suffers because in order to travel to Cuba, the land of our ancestors where more than 80% of the Cubans living in American territory were born, one must face a whole series of administrative obstacles imposed by Washington.
For example, under George W. Bush, U.S. Cubans could only travel to their country of origin for two weeks every three years. This, at best, was because a permit had to be obtained from the Treasury Department. To obtain such authorization, one had to prove that one had a direct family member in Cuba. For everyone, an aunt, cousin or nephew is a direct family member. But the Bush administration gave a definition of family that only applied to Cubans. Thus, only grandparents, siblings, children and spouses were part of the family. So, a Cuban from Coral Gables who only had an aunt in Cuba could not travel to their country of origin. Imagine the impact it had on the Cuban family when we know that the family is the basis of society. In Cuba, the concept of family is important and broad because not only those who are linked by blood are part of the family, but also those who are linked by friendship.
This political aberration had the support of the Cuban extreme right-wing in Florida, which has a visceral hatred for the people of Cuba. It is not only a question of a desire for revenge towards the Castro brothers but of a real aversion towards the Cuban population since the majority of them support the Government.
SL: How do you respond to those who say that the economic sanctions are simply a bilateral issue between Cuba and the United States and that Havana can develop its commercial relations with the rest of the world?
ML: Those statements do not stand up to analysis even for a moment. To say that Cuba can trade with the rest of the world is to ignore the extraterritorial character of the economic sanctions. Let me give you some examples. Since 1992, any ship entering a Cuban port is prohibited from entering a U.S. port for six months. What is the consequence for Cuba? It must pay astronomical sums, above market rates, to convince international carriers to bring it goods. Remember that the United States is the world’s largest market.
Likewise, if a foreign company wants to export its products to the United States, it must prove to the Treasury Department that its products do not contain a single gram of Cuban raw material. How then can Cuba export its products to the rest of the world with such obstacles? Likewise, Cuba cannot import anything from the rest of the world that contains more than 10% U.S. components. Given the technical and technological leadership of the United States, they have a monopoly in many sectors. The most emblematic example is the medical sector. The United States is the world leader in this field and Cuba cannot import any medicine or medical equipment produced in the United States or containing more than 10% of U.S. components. Take the case of the aeronautical sector. The vast majority of aircraft contain U.S. products and cannot operate in Cuba. That is the reality.
SL: According to Washington, the sanctions policy is the best way to restore democracy in Cuba.
ML: It is ridiculous to think that economic sanctions can have positive results for the United States. It is a criminal weapon against the people of Cuba and will not have any favorable outcome. There will be no political changes in Cuba orchestrated from the outside. Cubans will never accept it. Even during the period of the Soviet Union, Moscow could not control Cuba’s domestic and international politics. To claim that sanctions will change the position of the Cuban leadership is ignorant. Changes in Cuba have taken place since 1959 by the natural law of life, but they have been made only by the will of the Cubans themselves.
As for democracy, what kind of democracy does the U.S. want to export, that of Miami where vice, corruption, vote-buying and selling are rife, where lobbies choose who will be the next president? I am sure Cubans do not favor this kind of democracy. They already experienced that when Batista was in power.
SL: Cuba has not compensated the nationalized U.S. properties.
ML: Let the United States present the account. The Cubans will also present the account of the damages caused by the economic sanctions and the policy of aggression since 1960 and we will get the true account of it all. I think it will be Washington’s turn to draw the check.
SL: What would be the benefits for the American people in the event of the lifting of economic sanctions?
ML: First, U.S. citizens would regain their right to travel to any country in the world. They have been deprived of this constitutional right for more than half a century. Next, it would restore the fraternal ties between the two peoples that a political dispute that divides the two nations has broken. U.S. citizens will discover that Cuba is undoubtedly the only country in the world where an American flag has never been burned. U.S. diplomats in Cuba walk the streets of Havana without the need for protection. The Cuban people have always shown goodwill towards the American people.
From an economic standpoint, American businesses would be the great beneficiaries of removal of sanctions and could enjoy the opportunities offered by a country of 11.2 million people 90 miles from Key West.
SL: The U.S. regularly brings up the human rights situation in Cuba.
ML: To talk selectively about human rights in Cuba as a political and propaganda tool is absurd and grotesque. Not a day goes by without massive human rights violations in the world, including in the United States, without any possible comparison with what could happen in Cuba, without any reaction from Washington or the Western media.
When a police officer in the United States commits an outrage against a citizen, the responsibility lies with the municipal services. On the other hand, when it happens in Havana, they immediately accuse the government of the “Castro brothers” and blame them. This double standard is not acceptable. A magnifying glass is used to dissect Cuba’s defects and we purposely forget that these same defects exist in the greatest Western democracies.
What moral authority does the U.S. have to lecture on the issue of human rights when it has set up a torture center in Guantanamo, secret prisons all over the world and carries out extrajudicial executions in Iraq and Afghanistan? All this is public.
SL: What is the main achievement of the Cuban Revolution?
ML: Without a doubt, sovereignty. If Fidel had to change its name, it would have to be called Sovereignty. For the first time in its history, Cuba is sovereign and independent.
By Juana Carrasco Martin
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
The new coronavirus has upset some people. The symptoms are a brutalization caused by bad intentions and Cubaphobia, translated into attempts to politicize the pandemic and -irrationally- to put Cuba as the focus and center of the contagion.
Of course, such bullshit could only come from Miami – a city contaminated for more than six decades by a visceral hatred and a vengeful desire for Cubans to disappear from the map, in order to appropriate this beautiful archipelago at any cost.
The most recent invention arrived with Twitter feeds and a letter sent to President Donald Trump by Commissioner Esteban “Steve” Bovo, asking him to place Cuba on the list of restricted travel to the United States, because “we need to take all preventive measures to protect Miami-Dade County and the state of Florida from the spread of COVID-19.
In Bovo County, the number of confirmed cases rose to 76 (March 18 data) and is increasing, as is the number of positive cases in all of Florida, which is almost 400, ranking among the highest in the 50 U.S. states.
Everyone knows, as do many Americans, including medical experts, and Democratic presidential hopefuls, say, that Trump did not act on SARS-CoV-2 in time, and that the public health care system — and, of course, the private health care system, plus the insurance companies — are responsive to the profits they can make, not the needs of their citizens.
Therefore, the records show that the United States is the country with the highest rate in the entire hemisphere, with 13,737 cases positive for COVID-19; 201 deaths and 108 recoveries. There are now 178 countries where the pandemic has made landfall.
However, the commissioner assures that Cuba has falsified its records, that it is rumored that the sick are Italians, that there have been no medicines in the country for a long time, and he dares to point out that “Cuba cannot protect its people, much less the tourists”.
Such is the blindness and bad temper of the aforementioned that he does not see how the world recognizes the benefits of the Cuban anti-viral recombinant Interferon alpha 2B, nor the gratitude of the passengers and crew of a cruise ship condemned to sail aimlessly through the Caribbean. [It wasn’t] until the humanism, solidarity and generosity of the largest of the Antilles and its people, opened a port and airport for them to return to the United Kingdom. A “I love you Cuba” was the best message from HM Braemar…
It would be good, in case they need it, to take into account that the Cuban pharmaceutical industry is prepared to treat thousands of possible patients with COVID-19, and our antiviral has already been successfully used in China.
The problem is that the Bovo is riding on the xenophobic bandwagon of the White House president, who never acknowledges his failures and looks for scapegoats in others, in order to also run an election campaign, since he hopes to be the mayor of Miami.
Nor does he care that if this extreme measure of cutting off travel between Havana and Miami were taken, it would totally sever the ties of Cuban families, a crime against humanity.
By Redaccion OnCuba
January 27, 2018
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews[The sign says, “If we weren’t Cubans, we would pay to be.”]
Padura, who was in the Spanish city of Toledo to present his new novel La transparencia del tiempo, answered reporters’ questions, that although he can’t be sure, he believes Trump is president “because in ahead of him, there was a candidate who was a woman.
And, in the United States, it was easier to have a black president than a female president, it’s a very complicated society,” he added.
Cuban writer Leonardo Padura said that the president of the United States, Donald Trump,”is the sin that Americans themselves are paying for their way of thinking”.
In this regard, he recalled that the story he tells in his latest novel takes place fundamentally in 2014 and ends with the beginning of talks between Cuba and the United States to re-establish relations.
It was a very hopeful development for the vast majority of Cubans and a large majority of Americans. But unfortunately, one of President Trump’s fundamental policies has been to dismantle President Obama’s policies,” said Padura.
I don’t believe that he has had a definite policy, except in the dismantling of what Obama created, and that’s where Cuba also fell,” said the writer, for whom relations between Cuba and the United States were restored but not normalized,” because, with an economic and financial embargo there can’t be normal relations.
In this context, he stressed that the Cuban community in Miami “is really very important.
It is a community that has made great efforts, which has even been able to accumulate capital “and will be important in the future development of Cuba,” according to Padura. He added that although in his principles this community “was characterized by being totally hostile to the Cuban revolutionary system,” now other more open generations have arrived.
The new generation of Cubans from Miami is much more open, its members travel to Cuba very often ” and they feel Cuban,” said Padura. He added that he has personally perceived that “it is increasingly possible for a Cuban artist living in Cuba to present himself as something normal in Miami.
There is an atmosphere “in which you can find some sense of hostility,” although he pointed out that “this has remained for a political class for which the bad relationship with Cuba is part of their work and is also part of their business.
But, in general, I feel that it is a community that has changed a lot in recent times. The historical exile no longer exists,” said Padura, who, for this novel brings back the character of police officer Mario Conde, who has starred in half a dozen novels.
In the plot, Conde is going to turn 60 years old and age begins to worry him. Not because of vanity,”but because he wants to witness things that may happen in the future” even though he is a man obsessed with the past “and knows that this vital period is running out”.
By Iroel Sanchez
June 17, 2017
July 30 is a day of national mourning in Cuba. On that date, each year, the streets of Santiago de Cuba are filled with a spontaneous pilgrimage; rose petals fall from the balconies, and people walk in silence towards the cemetery.
This yearly pilgrimage is a remembrance of the popular reaction of the city in response, in 1957, to the murders of young Frank País and Raúl Pujol by the police of Fulgencio Batista. It is also a remembrance of all the many who were victims of similar actions.
It was the son of one of Frank and Josue’s murderers whom the US President Donald Trump chose for the storytelling in the speech he delivered in Miami June 17. A violin in the hands of the offspring played –out of tune– the notes of the US national anthem.
In a theater that bears the name of one of the invaders that –under the orders of the CIA– suffered an embarrassing defeat at Playa Girón [Bay of Pigs], a politician many consider a “loser”, promised more of the same the whole world –and even his predecessor in office– recognized as doomed to failure.
The audience –mostly elderly Miamians who have not set foot in Cuba in decades– shouted, “USA, USA,” while the president announced that citizens of “the land of the free” will continue to be banned from engaging in tourism in Cuba. If they travel to the island they must do so in a group and with a detailed and auditable logbook, so that Big Brother can adequately confirm if they fulfill the mission that their government has given them: to overthrow the “regime” that has made sure that crimes such as those of December 30, 1957, never happen again o n the island.
The same President, who signed a $100 billion contract for arms sales to the Saudi Arabian monarchy less than a month ago, signed another in the presence of people who practiced terrorism. The objective: to prevent a single US penny from reaching the Armed Forces of the Republic of Cuba. He also promised to prevent trade and investments that do not exist today.
With the balance of his campaign promises showing more debits than credits and threatened by a congressional investigation following his pressure on former FBI director James Comey, Mr. Trump seems to have found among the Cuban-American ultra-right in Miami a way to show he is true to his word and to be applauded.
But rhetoric cannot conceal a reality: 73% of Americans and 80% of Cuban-Americans support the end of the blockade of Cuba, and Trump’s announcements this Friday will only increase that rejection. Time will tell. The day before the speech, Trump managed to make the analysts of The Miami Herald agree with those of The New York Times.
South of the Florida straits we did not have long to wait. The first results of Trump’s show in Miami are already perceptible in Cuba: there is more talk about politics. In social networks many young people, who do not usually discuss these issues, express their indignation with the Miami speech of the American President. Since the kidnapping of Elian Gonzalez, Cubans had not seen such a clear image of the Jurassic Park that would be ruling Cuba if there was no Revolution.
By Authors Name Here
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Andrés Gómez, Director of Areítodigital / April 11, 2016
Miami.- I have lived in Miami since November 29, 1960, and now I’m 68 years old. I was 13 when I arrived with my family, much like almost 130,000 Cubans who left their country in that year as a result of the radical changes made by the Cuban revolutionary process and war threats issued by the United States that were partially carried out in April 1961, five months later, with the Bay of Pigs invasion, the defeat of which those 55 years ago will be soon celebrated by the Cuban people in revolution.
Barack Obama was born on August 4, 1961, and not in Miami. After living in that city for so many years I know very well that “clear monument”, as Obama described Miami, calling it an example of hope for the Cubans, especially the young people,” in his well-timed and much-quoted speech of March 22 in Havana’s Gran Teatro.
Like others, I have written extensively about the idyllic and unreal image of Miami that U.S. Administrations have stubbornly insisted on creating and using as a contrast for more than 57 years, since the beginning of this long-lived nightmare, to the great work and example that the Cuban people’s Revolution has been. This virtual vision is the “clear monument” that Obama brought back to life in his speech.
Above all else, Mr. Obama, Miami is the irrefutable example of the Cuban people’s success in maintaining and developing their socialist revolutionary process and, therefore, their independence and sovereignty. Miami is conclusive proof of the defeat suffered by the Cuban counterrevolutionaries and their imperial masters in their attempts to destroy Cuba’s independence.
Miami, the clear monument that Obama presents to the Cuban people as their hope for the future. It is where his terrorists live, those of the U.S. governments, who have planned and committed acts of terrorism against the Cuban people. These victims, killed as a result, have been men and women that include many, many members of that youth that you, Mr. Obama, constantly encourage to forget the past.
And those victims have also been boys and girls, fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, female and male friends and neighbors… It’s an endless list, Mr. Obama. Not to mention, Mr. President, the suffering of their families and friends for the loss and absence of their loved ones in so many years of horror.
In 57 years there have been thousands of terrorist acts against the Cubans as a result of the State Terrorism policy designed by U.S. governments, one of which you preside over today, brother Obama, as you were called by Fidel, whom these U.S. terrorists have tried to kill countless times.
You see, it was those U.S. governments which in 1959, two years before you were born, started to recruit, train, arm, fund and lead those terrorists who lived or are still living in Miami. Some of them, who have died –of natural causes, by the way– and the U.S. government has protected them and let them do what they do with total impunity.
Those terrorist monsters are now living freely here in Miami, your “clear monument” and example to the Cubans, “especially the young people”. They don’t worry that they will ever be brought to justice for their heinous crimes as required by law and decency, thanks to the protection that your government, Mr. President, gives them.
How many are the Cuban victims of that terrorist policy? Official figures have it that 3,478 have died and 2,099 have been physically disabled. Given the horror caused by the imperial policies of aggression and war against other peoples in the last decades, maybe the readers will not be shocked by the number of Cuban men and women who have died or been disabled in all these years of sustained terrorist campaigns led by the United States.
Fidel managed to put into the right context in his memorable speech of October 6, 2011 in memory of the 73 victims of the loathsome act committed by these same beasts when they planted a bomb on a civilian plane of Cubana Airlines and blew it out of the sky 35 years before that day.
Fidel explained then: “Comparing the Cuban population [on October 6, 1976] with the U.S. population last September 11, it’s as if seven American planes, each with 300 on board, had been shot down on the same day and at the same time… And if we compared the two populations, the 3,478 Cuban lives lost to these terrorist acts originated in the United States, it would be as if 88,434 Americans had been killed by terrorists, a number equivalent to the number of American soldiers killed in the Vietnam War and the Korean War together.”
Just as the experiences and outcomes of this vile and endless U.S. policy of State Terrorism have been terrible for the Cuban people, so too have they been for us Cubans who, also for decades, have defended our people right from the dens where these monsters who spearhead such a policy are living and enjoying the impunity offered them by Washington.
Next April 28 will mark the 37th anniversary of the bomb attack in San Juan, Puerto Rico, that caused the death, one day later, of Carlos Muñiz Varela, our companero at the National Committee of the Antonio Maceo Brigade, and his terrorist killers, who are members of the Miami-based Cuban extreme right, are yet to be taken to court so that justice is done.
The federal authorities in charge of these dreadful matters, and mainly the FBI, Mr. President, are to blame for the fact that nothing has been done about it. They refuse to disclose the evidence they have that can prove those murderers guilty.
In Puerto Rico, however, Carlos’s family and friends, Cubans and Puerto Rican alike, under the guiding hands of Carlos’s son –now considerably older than his father when he fell in 1979 at the age of 25– and our comrade Raúl Álzaga, keep demanding justice for both Carlos and Santiago Mari Pesquera, a young Puerto Rican pro-independence fighter, recently recalled again by our comrade of old, Ricardo Alarcon, in an excellent article.
So how is it, Mr. President? What’s with the “clear monument” that you hold Miami is as an example of hope for the Cubans, “especially the young people”? What about those scoundrels who are your terrorists, Mr. President, still free and unpunished thanks to your decision, not that of other presidents –ten of them, to be precise– who ruled before you, but your own one?
Here in Miami, alive and free and waiting for your decision to bring them to justice as required by law, are, among others: Félix Rodríguez, Luis Posada Carriles, Pedro Remón Rodríguez, Ernesto Lluesma Pares, Ruperto Pérez Ortega, Frank Castro Paz, Santiago Álvarez Magriñat, Reynol Rodríguez González, Osvaldo Bencomo Robaina, Sergio Ramos Suárez, Armando Ruiz Maceira, Secundino Carreras Bencomo, Ramón Saúl Sánchez, Guillermo Novo Sampol, Antonio de la Cova, Virgilio Paz Romero, Héctor Fabián, José Dionisio Suárez Esquivel and Luis Crespo.
Not many of them are mentioned here, Mr. President, Sir. The above names are just a sample of your terrorists. Many, however, are their heinous crimes.
Por Andrés Gómez, director de Areítodigital
11 de abril de 2016
Miami.- Vivo en Miami desde el 29 de noviembre de 1960 y hoy tengo 68 años de edad. Llegué a los 13 años de edad con mi familia, como también salieron de Cuba casi 130 mil cubanos aquel año de 1960, producto de los radicales cambios del proceso revolucionario cubano y de las amenazas de guerra por parte de Estados Unidos que se concretaron parcialmente en abril de 1961, cinco meses después, con la invasión por Playa Girón, cuya derrota, en su 55 aniversario la celebrará, en revolución, el pueblo de Cuba próximamente.
Barack Obama, nació el 4 de agosto de 1961, y no fue en Miami. Por haber vivido tanto años en Miami conozco a fondo a ese “claro monumento” que afirmó Obama que es Miami, “como ejemplo de esperanza para el pueblo cubano, especialmente, los jóvenes,” en su oportuno y muy citado discurso el 22 de marzo pasado en el Gran Teatro de La Habana.
Como otros, mucho he escrito sobre la obra que por más de 57 años los gobiernos de Estados Unidos se han empecinado en construir de una visión de Miami, idílica e irreal, para contraponerla desde el principio de esta larga pesadilla, al magno ejemplo y obra que ha sido la Revolución de los cubanos y las cubanas. Es esta visión virtual, “el claro monumento” que Obama resucita en su discurso en el Gran Teatro de La Habana.
Miami es, señor Obama, por sobre todo, el ejemplo fehaciente de la victoria del pueblo cubano por mantener y desarrollar su proceso revolucionario socialista y así su independencia y su soberanía. Miami es la prueba máxima de la derrota de la contrarrevolución cubana y la de sus amos imperiales por destruir la independencia de Cuba.
Miami, el claro monumento que Obama ofrece al pueblo cubano como la esperanza de su futuro, es donde viven sus terroristas, los terroristas de los gobiernos de Estados Unidos, los que han llevado a cabo actos y planes de terrorismo contra el pueblo de Cuba, cuyas víctimas, los muertos que han causado, han sido hombres y mujeres, muchos, muchos de éstos, jóvenes, señor Obama, a los que usted continuamente incita a que olviden el pasado. Como también niños y niñas, padres y madres, hermanas y hermanos, esposas y esposos, hijos e hijas, amigos y amigas, vecinos y vecinas… y así interminablemente señor Obama. Sin olvidarnos, señor presidente, de sus familiares y amigos que a través de tantos y tantos años de horror han sufrido sus pérdidas y ausencias.
Miles de acciones terroristas cometidas contra el pueblo de Cuba a través de 57 años como resultado de la política de Terrorismo de Estado de los gobiernos de Estados Unidos, el gobierno que usted preside, hermano Obama, como le llamara Fidel, a quien planes terroristas de Estados Unidos han intentado asesinar tantas, tantas, y tantas veces.
Porque esos terroristas que viven o vivieron en Miami, aquellos que han muerto –por muerte natural, debo aclarar, — y los muchos que aún viven, señor presidente, los gobiernos de Estados Unidos desde un principio, me refiero al año 1959, desde dos años antes de usted haber nacido, los comenzó a reclutar, a entrenar, a armar, a financiar, a dirigir, y hasta el presente los protege y les brinda absoluta impunidad.
Porque esos monstruos terroristas, viven hoy libremente, aquí en Miami, su “claro monumento, ejemplo de esperanza para el pueblo cubano, especialmente los jóvenes”, sin preocupaciones de ser llevados ante los tribunales de justicia por sus odiosos crímenes como la ley exige, como la decencia exige, gracias a la protección que su gobierno, señor presidente, les garantiza.
¿Cuántas son las víctimas en Cuba de esa política de terrorismo? De acuerdo a las cifras oficiales han sido 3,478 los muertos y 2,099 los incapacitados físicos. Dado el horror producto de las políticas imperiales de agresión y guerra a otros pueblos durante las últimas décadas quizás no resulte terrible a los lectores el número de cubanas y cubanos muertos y discapacitados a consecuencia de todos estos años de una sostenida campaña terrorista por parte de Estados Unidos.
Fidel lo supo poner en el contexto correcto en un memorable discurso el 6 de octubre de 2001 al recordar a las 73 víctimas del infame atentado, perpetrado por estas mismas bestias, contra un avión civil de Cubana de Aviación el 6 de octubre de 1976.
Explicó Fidel: “Comparando la población de Cuba [el 6 de octubre de 1976] con la de Estados Unidos el 11 de septiembre pasado, es como si 7 aviones norteamericanos cada uno con 300 pasajeros a bordo hubiesen sido derribados el mismo día, a la misma vez… Y si estimásemos en la misma proporción de poblaciones las 3,478 vidas cubanas perdidas debido a estas acciones terroristas originadas en Estados Unidos es como si 88,434 personas hubiesen sido asesinadas en Estados Unidos en actividades terroristas, que equivale al número de soldados norteamericanos muertos en las guerras de Corea y Vietnam.”
Interminable y terrible es la vivencia y los resultados de esta vil política estadounidense de Terrorismo de Estado contra el pueblo cubano. Como también, salvando las diferencias, duro lo ha sido para nosotros los cubanos que, también por décadas, hemos defendido a nuestro pueblo en las mismas madrigueras que los monstruos que han ejecutado esta política viven y gozan de la impunidad brindada por Washington.
El próximo 28 de abril se cumplirán 37 años del atentado y muerte, un día después, de nuestro compañero del Comité Nacional de la Brigada Antonio Maceo, Carlos Muñiz Varela, en San Juan de Puerto Rico sin que aún sus asesinos, terroristas miembros de la extrema derecha cubana radicada en Miami y Puerto Rico, hayan sido llevados ante los tribunales para que se haga justicia.
Las autoridades federales encargadas de esos terribles asuntos, el FBI principalmente, señor presidente Obama, son los culpables de que no se haya podido hacer justicia. Se niegan a hacer público las pruebas en su poder que demuestran la culpabilidad de los asesinos.
Pero en Puerto Rico también los familiares y compañeros de Carlos, cubanos y puertorriqueños por igual, dirigidos por su hijo, Carlos Muñiz Pérez, hoy bastante mayor que su padre era cuando en 1979 cayera asesinado con 25 años de edad, y nuestro compañero Raúl Álzaga, no han cesado en su empeño por lograr que se haga justicia a él y a Santiago Mari Pesquera, joven luchador independentista boricua, como recientemente nos lo volviera recordar en un excelente trabajo, nuestro compañero de siempre, Ricardo Alarcón.
¿Entonces, qué, señor presidente? ¿Qué de su ese “claro monumento” que usted mantiene que es Miami, “como ejemplo de esperanza para el pueblo cubano, especialmente, los jóvenes”? ¿Qué de esos miserables, sus terroristas, señor presidente, que siguen libres e impunes por su decisión, no la de otros presidentes, 10 para ser exactos, que gobernaron antes que usted, sino de la suya propia?
Aquí están en Miami, libres y vivos esperando, señor presidente, por su decisión de llevarlos ante los tribunales de justicia como la ley lo obliga. Algunos de ellos son: Félix Rodríguez, Luis Posada Carriles, Pedro Remón Rodríguez, Ernesto Lluesma Pares, Ruperto Pérez Ortega, Frank Castro Paz, Santiago Álvarez Magriñat, Reynol Rodríguez González, Osvaldo Bencomo Robaina, Sergio Ramos Suárez, Armando Ruiz Maceira, Secundino Carreras Bencomo, Ramón Saúl Sánchez, Guillermo Novo Sampol, Antonio de la Cova, Virgilio Paz Romero, Héctor Fabián, José Dionisio Suárez Esquivel y Luis Crespo.
No son muchos los aquí nombrados, señor presidente Obama, es sólo una muestra de sus terroristas, pero sí son muchos sus odiosos crímenes.//