Antonio Rodiles interview: “Truth is on the side of the opposition” / Cubanet, Ernesto Perez Chang

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cubanet square logoCubanet, Ernesto Perez Chang, Havana, 9 April 2015 – The discussion parallel to the Panama Summit (Summit of the Americas) lacks the presence of Antonio G. Rodiles, because the Cuban government, very “opportunistically,” has retained his passport.

A recognized opposition activist and director of the Estado de Sats (State of Sats) civic project, this talkative, jovial, controversial man who was young athlete, doctor of science and professor at prestigious universities in the United States, one day decided to leave the comfort of academic life to return to Cuba and challenge the regime, building, in his own home, a space for public debate as an alternative to the stagnation that affects Cuban society.

The announcement of the conversations between the governments of the Cuba and the United States has generated different positions among the Cuban dissidence. The opinions of Antonio G. Rodiles in a certain way deviate from those of the rest of the opponents, calling attention to those things that should be paramount at the dialog table where many do not feel represented.

“From my point of view,” warns Rodiles, “is very illogical to accept a path where there is no clear request to the regime in Havana. We all know that the principal objective of the regime is to maintain itself in power. They cannot maintain it much longer because this elite is going to die of natural causes and clearly they are working for the transfer of power to their family. (…)

“If the international community (…) allows them to make this transition without asking anything in return it is going to be happiness for them, and anguish for us Cubans (…). Our position has been made clear against a political process, we are peaceful fighters and we believe the solution for Cuba has to be a peaceful and a political one but this must be through a clearly defined process, there must be transparency, which was not what happened (…).

“It is clear that in a negotiation process not everything is going to be said, not all points are going to be put on the table, but at least the line and the logic of what you want to accomplish should be, and so far we have not seen that Cubans’ civil and political rights are the end point of this conversation, and this is what overwhelmingly concerns us.”

Although the constant dedication of the Estado de Sats project consumes a great part of his social and family life, Antonio G. Rodiles – who affirms that he grew up “hearing the Voice of America and Radio Marti,” and without hearing “that Fidel and Raul Castro were heroes,” despite being the nephew of one of Raul Castro’s trusted confidants – agreed to meet with us, for hours, to talk about what we wanted to know about his past, his obsessions, his personal perspectives on a democratic future, and even his daily life, shaped by a sense of commitment to his ideas and with respect for dialogue, qualities that have made him a true leader for a good part of the opposition within and outside Cuba.

Video below is in Spanish