“It’s not just that 40 Cuban and American personalities have asked Barack Obama to ease the embargo against Cuba. It’s that the powerful Chamber of Commerce of the United States traveled to Havana and returned delighted; it’s that ex-Governor Charlie Crist also wants to go to the legendary capital and lift the embargo; it’s that Tampa doesn’t know what to do to to be closer to Havana and and wants to start a ferry. It’s Fanjul’s calculated statements, the memoirs of Hillary Clinton, and now the poll. What to say about the poll, because polls are like appearances of the virgin: some fall to their knees and others say it’s a hallucination. I say that it is a serious indication that there winds of change not only in the relations between Washington and Havana, but also in Miami.
“It is true that there are moral and ideological reasons to oppose Washington, as they say, ‘giving oxygen to the dictatorship.’ But the Cuban political exile community long ago delivered the solution to its national problem to the United States. And the interests of this exile community, whether beneficial or not for the Cuban nation, need not coincide with those of Washington.
“There is no reason to fear accepting and evaluating the facts of Cuban reality, both the good and the bad. The bad are repeated every day. But the others are not. Yes, there is a change in Cuba toward new forms of production. Today the Cuban public is freer socially and economically than two years ago, freer to travel, to emigrate and if they don’t like it, to return; with more rights in entrepreneurship and property than at any time since 1968; government opponents leave and return to their homes in Havana. Raul Castro says that he’s putting everything on the table to negotiate with the United States. Is there an internal debate, no less important for being outside the official media, over the future of the country? Why negate it and insist that all this is nothing more than a pantomime?
“In the standard and acceptable narrative about the Cuban state, its power is on the edge of the abyss. A never-ending abyss into which it never falls. Because the criminal hand of Castro blocks it. That narrative is unchanged for the past half-century. But in the past 23 years that government survived the fall of the Soviet bloc and strengthened its influence in Latin America; since 2007 it has been off the list of human rights violators and for 22 years has managed to have the UN condemn the U.S. embargo. Is that government weaker than in the spring of 1991? No. In the equation to understand its power, there are other crucial factors than those considered in the repeated anti-Castro narrative. In 1996 they rejected Clinton’s olive branch because they were weak, now they are seeking it because they are not.
“The 61 years that have passed since the Moncada attack are an indelible part of Cuban reality and history. There is no way to make them disappear and it would not be right to do so. The same applies to the 57 years of the Republic. This is, whether we like it or not in Miami or in Havana, the history of the Cuban people. There is no other. It carries on by the friendly or terrible hand of a powerful neighbor whom it is as dangerous to idolize as to look down upon. Let’s not continue turning our backs on ourselves.”
– Jorge Davila Miguel, in Friday’s Nuevo Herald