14ymedio, Madrid, 31 Mach 2016 – Like “a small crack in the Cuban political system” from which an opening coming. Thus did the attorney and activist Rolando Ferrer define the Otro18 (Another 2018) project during a meeting with journalists this Thursday at the Madrid Press Association. Four of the promoters of this process travelled from the island to present in Spain this initiative that promotes reforms in laws addressing elections, association, political parties and others.
14ymedio, Carlos Alberto Montaner, Miami, 26 March 2016 – Spanish children used to play a game of imagination, listing the things carried in ships from the colonies: “A ship has come from Havana carrying: pineapples, lace, sugar,” whatever. It was a playful exercise in which fantasy and vocabulary mixed as a teaching tool.
Barack Obama, without knowing it, revived the game. For the United States President his trip had four declared objectives: unilaterally bury the Cold War in the Caribbean; officially eliminate the diplomatic strategy of containment or isolation and replace it with one of engagement or rapprochement; reinforce ties with Cuban civil society, especially with the emerging private business sector; and strengthen the democratic opposition that seeks a peaceful evolution of the regime towards pluralism. Continue reading “A President Has Come to Havana Carrying… / 14ymedio, Carlos Alberto Montaner”
14ymedio, Carlos Alberto Montaner, Miami, 19 March 2016 – The United States president has not yet set foot in Cuba and the regime has already begun the bombardment. First it was a long editorial in the Party newspaper Granma. The essence? Cuba will not move its socialist and anti-imperialist positions a single millimeter, including its support for the Chavista monster in Venezuela, a huge source of subsidies for Cubans, afflictions for Venezuelans and unrest for its neighbors.
Then diplomatic errand boy Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez warned that his government was not pleased that Obama spoke of empowering the Cuban people. Nor, that it would try to impose the internet on them. Cuba, he said, “will protect the technological sovereignty of our networks.” In plain language he meant that the political police continue to monitor communications. By this and for this they live. Continue reading “Obama in Cuba / 14ymedio, Carlos Alberto Montaner”
14ymedio, Carlos Alberto Montaner, Miami, 20 February 2016 — Obama will go to Havana in March. The trip is part of his change of policy regarding the island. He wants, as John Paul II asked, for “Cuba to open itself to the world and the world to open itself to Cuba.”
That includes, as suggested by El Nuevo Herald, the entry into the country of independent journalists who are not intimidated by the political police. Will Obama bring it up among his requests?
14ymedio, Mario J. Penton, Miami, 19 February 2016 — José Martí is not the precursor of the Cuban Revolution, nor can one establish continuity between the mambises [Cuban independence fighters of the 1800s] and the Stalinist regime in place since 1959. “This telling of the story is an ideological swindle,” said Carlos Alberto Montaner in a series of three lectures in Miami from 16 to 18 February at the Casa Bacardi Center for Cuban and Cuban-American studies.
14ymedio, Carlos Alberto Montaner, 31 January 2016 – Let’s get right down to it. The current conflict that divides half the planet, and especially Latin Americans, is between neo-populism and authoritarian democracy, against liberal democracy. I just developed a short course on the subject at the Francisco Marroquín University in Guatemala. I do not know any other institution so committed to economic and political freedom. Impressive.
In the neo-populist corner of the ring appear, to the left, Father Marx, statism, cronyism, Liberation Theology, the Dependency Theory, Eduardo Galeano, Che Guevara, Ernesto Laclau, Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales, Fidel Castro, all mixed up, plus the other issues: long-lasting caudillos, excessive public spending, ALBA, 21st Century Socialism, the Sao Paulo Forum and a tense et cetera with a closed fist and a street slogan on its lips. Continue reading “Our Everyday War / 14ymedio, Carlos Alberto Montaner”
14ymedio, Carlos Alberto Montaner, Miami, 24 January 2016 — Evo Morales has already served 10 years as president of Bolivia. He is the person who has occupied the post for the longest consecutive time since Simón Bolívar was inaugurated in 1825. He is in his third term. It will end in 2019.
It seems too little. He is not happy. He wants to be reelected when that date arrives. For him, generational change and the circulation of the elites sparks nervous laughter. He has called a referendum to be able to run a fourth time, which would put him in the presidential chair in 2025, and celebrating two hundred years since the inauguration of the Republic. Continue reading “A Calamity Called Evo / 14ymedio, Carlos Alberto Montaner”
14ymedio, Carlos Alberto Montaner, 16 January 2016 — Again, thousands of Cubans are preparing to enter the United States. The first have already arrived. It is an old and exhausted story. They have come in massive numbers since 1959, when the Castro brothers’ communist dictatorship began. This time they are coming via Costa Rica.
14ymedio, Carlos Alberto Montaner, Miami, 9 January 2016 – I couldn’t avoid the sense of déjà vu. It brought to mind Eduardo Suarez, formerly with El Mundo, a professional of the image with a fine instinct for the news. Hugo Chavez’s photographs being expelled from the new Venezuelan National Assembly brought back to me the unforgettable episodes at the end of European communism, with the statues of Stalin rolling on the ground in the midst of a glorious dust.
Somehow, what happened in Caracas is a continuation of those events. It is with good reason that the Chavistas and their fellow travelers proclaimed themselves cultivators of 21st Century Socialism, although with much less violence than that of the 20th century, but with the same level of incompetence and perhaps even more corruption. It was the enormous amount of patronage, collectivism and disdain for the ways of liberal democracy that allowed this to happen, in the time after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the total discrediting of Marxist superstitions. Continue reading “The Day the Prisoners Are Freed in Venezuela / 14ymedio, Carlos Alberto Montaner”
14ymedio, Carlos Alberto Montaner, Miami, 2 January 2016 — The Castros have been in power for 57 years. At this point, general curiosity is limited to formulating three disturbing questions. Why have they lasted so long? Is it a failure, as their opponents say, or a success, as their supporters claim? What will happen after this extremely long-lasting government, the longest in the history of the Americas?
The Castros’ government has been so enduring because it is a dictatorship that does not seek the consent of society, nor does it dedicate itself to obeying it. On the contrary, its efforts are permanently dedicated to directing and controlling it.
The secret of this permanence is to convert people into sheep and to conveniently keep them penned up. To these ends a formidable apparatus of counterintelligence is organized, with some 60,000 people and a proven repressive script. That amounts to 0.5% of the population, consistent with the infallible formula learned from the German Stasi which, along with the KGB, was the mother and teacher of the Cuban services. Continue reading “Cuba And The Three Questions / 14ymedio, Carlos Alberto Montaner”
14ymedio, Carlos Alberto Montaner, 12 December 2015 — Has the Latin American Spring finally sprung? Perhaps. There are signs. Antonio Machado records the doubt in his Canciones: “Spring has come, nobody knows how.”
All springs are different.
Eastern Europe’s, in the second half of the eighties, was possible because the stars surprisingly aligned themselves under the firmament of absolute disgust with Real Socialism, sunk in economic failure and political disrepute. It was the glorious moment of Havel, Walesa, Reagan, John Paul II, Sakharov and especially Gorbachev, a naïve and melancholy gravedigger for that sinister undertaker forged by the KGB and the Red Army. Continue reading “The Latin American Spring / 14ymedio, Carlos Alberto Montaner”
14ymedio, Carlos Alberto Montaner, Miami, 9 December 2015 – We are gathered on Human Rights Day, a great opportunity to offer Ricardo Bofill the tribute he deserves.
Bofill, Gustavo and Sebastian Arcos, Martha Frayde and another handful of patriots, changed the history of Cuba from the depths of a cell. They were imprisoned for opposing the Stalinist dictatorship of the Castros and everyone from the ranks of the Revolution.
Imprisoned and isolated, they modified the axis of the Cuban struggles. Starting with the creation of the Cuban Committee for Human Rights, in the remote decade of the seventies, the political battle, where it was anything goes, became a battle for the dignity of the individual.
14ymedio, Carlos Alberto Montaner, 23 November 2015 — The victory of Mauricio Macri in Argentina is the triumph of common sense over strained discourse and failed emotions. It is also the arrival of modernity and the burial of a populist stage that should have disappeared long ago.
There is a successful way of governing. It is the one used in the 25 leading nations of the planet, among which should be Argentina, as it had been in the first quarter of the twentieth century. Everyone hopes that Macri will lead the country in that direction.
14ymedio, Carlos Alberto Montaner, Miami, 21 November 2015 — Another stampede of Cubans. It happens from time to time. An editorial in Costa Rica’s La Nación offers a strong description of how the government of that country reacted: “First duty, to protect the victims.” The Costa Ricans gave them transit visas and, as they are stranded at the border, quickly built provisional shelters to feed and house them.
Bravo! This is what a civilized nation does. These are not animals. They are more than 1,700 people. They are not criminals, as a Nicaraguan Sandinista deputy unjustly labeled them. The criminals are the military and the police who are clubbing unarmed and peaceful immigrants. They are frightened individuals and families – children, pregnant women – almost all young, who are trying to reach the United States border by land, after traveling over a thousand miles from Ecuador. Continue reading “The Sad Ballad of Cuban Emigration / 14ymedio, Carlos Alberto Montaner”
14ymedio, Carlos Alberto Montaner, Miami, 7 November 2015 — Nicolas Maduro knows he will lose the election on December 6. The disaster is too intense. So say all the polls. Ninety percent of Venezuelans want a change. Eighty percent blame Maduro. Seventy percent are determined to vote against this thoroughly incompetent government.
Venezuelans are tired of lining up to buy milk, toilet paper, whatever. The inflation horrifies them. Everything is more expensive every day that passes. The salary of a month is consumed in a week. The corruption disgusts them. They know and intuit that the Chavista leadership is an association of crooks with no lack of narco-traffickers, all colluding to plunder the country. Lacking flour, violence is the daily arepa (bread). Caracas is one of the most dangerous cities in the world. And one of the filthiest. (This is also what Cubanization is: Wreckage and sewage running in the streets on the worn out pavement full of potholes.)
But Maduro blindly obeys an axiom of the Castros: “The Revolution will never surrender.” The Revolutiuon is actually a verbal construction that, in reality, means The Power. The Power is what is never handed over. The Revolution is a plastic thing that transforms itself so as not to lose power. The verbal construction has other rhetorical components: “the people, social justice, anti-imperialism, the oppressed poor, the greedy rich, multinational exploiters, the Yankee enemy.” There are hundreds of expressions that arm the story. Continue reading “Nicolas Maduro’s Two Plans / 14ymedio, Carlos Alberto Montaner”