Friday, April 3, 2009

“Don’t put commercial considerations before the political freedom of our people”

The Herald runs a letter from 17 dissidents (pdf) to President Obama, asking that as he reviews policy toward Cuba, he consider a “multilateral international strategy that obliges the Castro regime to open itself to its own people, releasing political prisoners, restoring the civil rights of the Cuban people, and organizing free elections under international supervision.”

Also yesterday, exiled dissident Pedro Pablo Alvarez Ramos called for the United States to end its travel restrictions to Cuba: “We believe that the lifting of travel restrictions will bring about an exchange between the Cuban people and the American people that will redound to the benefit of our people.” Alvarez, an independent trade union leader, was arrested in 2003, sentenced to 25 years in prison, and released in 2008 into exile in Spain. He spoke at an event sponsored by Freedom House and the National Endowment for Democracy.


Jose said...

Interesting, OB should listen to Mel's dissidents, BUT at the same time listen to the other dissidents who want end to travel and embargo (there are many more, including Yoani, and Pedro Pablo..etc).

Second thought, someone please tell me the difference between the cuban dissidents and Chinese dissidents, or M. Eastern women, such as Afgan. wanting freedom from 'marital rape'... what about dissidents in Saudia Arabia? Vietnam, Iran? Outside of being 'close to usa' in term of geography , seems like we are playing favorites and hypocrites.

Third thought of day: Although I wish for Cuban freedom and pray it comes soon, in my opinion we shoudln't have a role in democracy promotion, plus unless we do so in ALL countries, which means we immediately establish embargos on half the world, at least. Also stinks of hubris and ethnocentrism. (i know, i'll get whining comments from someone about that, from the safety of their armchair in Miami). If you want change in Cuba, go yourself and start a movement, don't rely on our tax monies. We all can support that.

Anonymous said...

there is a historical context to America's continued attempts to re-impose hegemony. The hypocrisy of how they treat cuba compared to far worse regimes is obvious. once that's realized you can better understand why American policies of aggression have been in place since the revolution, and the rants of the Cuban-American hard right makes more sense, if possible.

Mambi_Watch said...

The timing of this letter is confusing because it seems originally made for Pres. Obama before going to the Summit of the Americas, which is two weeks away.

By releasing it now, readers may think it refers to the debate on American travel to Cuba, but most likely it is not meant for it.

The theme of profits versus principles is clear, and most likely the letter is referring to the US embargo towards Cuba which will be discussed at the Summit of the Americas.

Concerning Cuban dissidents, Jose asks if there's a difference between them and other dissidents around the world. In terms of being brave individuals who confront the power of the state and seek change, there's no difference. In terms of historical context and methods of dissident, there are slight differences. But, those slight differences are insignificant to the duty all people have in defending and supporting the voices of dissent because one day it might be us who need to raise our voices.

And finally, concerning US funds going to the Cuba opposition: this should stop. Some dissidents have publicly stated that these funds put them at risk for arrest, and new methods of support should be examined. Governments too need to be more cautious when referring to opposition groups, and instead give their moral support to political dissent in general.

Anonymous said...

Jose, three thoughts in one day -- is that a record?

leftside said...

Interesting that these 17 dissidents used the phraseology of the gusanos in (mistakenly) focusing on the "commercial considerations" supposedly at play with any change in Cuba policy. Sure there are some like the Chamber of Commerce who see everything in terms of money, but to think that any political decision on allowing Americans to travel freely (or end the embargo) has anything to do with commerce, is simply off base. The gusanos like to use this argument because it appears to put them in the moral high-ground, but in reality, the money some travel agents will get has nothing to do with anything that is being done. Either the 17 are have been woefully misinformed or they are intentionally parroting a political line used increasingly by dinosaurs like Martinez et. al -which would be even sadder.

cabrón said...

Leftside, I'd love to see you call a Cuban American a "gusano" to their face. You're so brave from 3,000 miles away. Let me tell you what I think is the lowest life-form, someone like you who ardently defends a dictatorial regime but wouldn't be caught dead living under that regime for a single day. The same goes to all the other pathetic apologists for tyranny who have been stinking up this site lately.

FreedomForCuba said...

cabrón: why are you so afraid to use your babalu name? Coward.

leftside said...

Cabron, sorry I won't use gusano anymore. I'll just stick to "the minority of loud-mouthed, a**hole, hard-line, intransigent, Cuban-American exiles that mostly live in Miami." Gusano is actually pretty precise. If you are not one, you wouldn't get so upset.

Thing is, I hope to live in Cuba one day and could never live in Miami. The interesting part of that is that despite how much I love Cuban architecture, culture, poilitics, etc. - the biggest factor for me is the people.

But I am not here to fight, so that'll be the end for me unless you want to actually talk about the merits of my original argument.

Anonymous said...

Cabron, can you not think? and its true, if you are hard right from mafia, you are gusano, even anti-castro folk living in cuba woudl call you that. ... b/c you are not only gusano for being hardliner toward cuba, but also for your beliefs in everything right-wing, don't believe in health care for all in Usa, you beleive in guns, you don't belive in social security (calling it a socialist plot for 'your money), you believe in cowboy diplomacy with iran, but love israel, you want to bomb N. korea, meanwhile you want to legisate teh bedroom, against gay rights,

for all of these reasons, you are gusano.

Anonymous said...

gusano is exactly the right term, and cabron is the adjective. get it through your head the majority don't position themselves as defenders of the regime, simply against the imperialistic, right wing aggression that has dominated policies for the past 50 years. let the Cubans in Cuba change things; it's so ridiculous for your side not to recognize all your policies make it harder for change and reform to come to cuba.
hurting the cuban people through the embargo, the terrorist acts, the isolation has only discredited your cause from the start, and we can all see that your 'high' opposition is simply a flaccid attempt to re-impose control under your terms.
the dissidents who accept material or financial aid are considered working for a foreign power, an enemy foreign power. i don't agree with jailing them, but NO govt in the world would allow that to continue, particularly one under siege. what would happen in US if Americans were shown to accept money from Al Quaeda for the purpose of destabilizing the govt? they'd be in jail faster than you can say gusano.

Oh, sorry, you don't like the term gusano, well lets try something else -- hypocrite.

oye Sr Tufo, el apeste es tuyo.


Anonymous said...

those dissidents who have the taint of accepting american aid simply don't have legitimacy. it is the perception of wanting to advance the policies of the enemy -- that's how the cuban govt sees it. so while their voices may have impact in US; they have to remove themselves from American influence, or perception of it, as others have done, before they will have any impact where it counts -- in side cuba