Thursday, March 8, 2018

The transnational opposition

“Cuba se transnacionalizó” in recent years, a friend of mine said, referring to all the cross-border activity that before was rare or impossible but is now routine: Miami Cubans investing in businesses and real estate in Cuba; Cubans maintaining roots, livelihoods, and legal residency inside Cuba and out; emigrants returning to start businesses; etc., etc.

I thought of this when I saw today’s news about an event in Havana organized by dissident Rosa Maria Paya, who lives in Florida since 2013, admitted as a refugee. She returns to Havana from time to time to engage in politics or to tend to the family home, a sort of visiting dissident. She is far from the first in Cuban history to engage in political activism from abroad – it’s a tradition that spans centuries, with activists over the years reflecting the possibilities of their time. Whether it’s possible to move beyond media events and gain traction as a political leader with occasional visits is an open question, but times are changing, and we’ll see. Cuba’s political opposition, such as it is, is transnational now.

Here’s Reuters on the Cuban government blocking some foreign participants from attending the event, and here’s Prensa Latina gloating about it.

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