Monday, September 23, 2013

Oscar Espinosa Chepe, R.I.P.

Oscar Espinosa Chepe, who died in Spain following a long battle with liver cancer, was a quiet and brave man who broke with a government whose policies he consistently found to be in conflict with its own goals and with the laws of economics. 

Oscar was one of the 75 dissidents jailed in 2003 and after his release he often joked that he was jailed for saying things that later became acceptable for people inside the system to say.  His break with the government began when he and his wife Miriam Leiva were serving in diplomatic posts in Yugoslavia; they saw changes in the Eastern bloc and got into hot water for asking why the same changes could not be tried in Cuba.

His style was to dig through government data and to use them to make arguments in his articles.  He was a listener; in conversation he didn’t evince a need to prevail; and he wanted to see reconciliation in his country.

Oscar and Miriam also believed in free contact between peoples, they opposed U.S. sanctions, and they often wrote that the hardliners in Miami are the greatest allies of the hardliners in Havana.  Here’s an example from 2007.   

His obituary in El Pais is here.

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