Hope Is Reborn in Cuba

Protests in Santiago de Cuba on July 11. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Luis Zuñiga, Miami, August 26, 2021 —  On July 11 the Cuban people handed the communist regime a death sentence. The Miguel-Diaz government knows this and so does the exile community. The steps that both sides are taking are representative of their expectations for the immediate future of Cuba.

Diaz-Canel, the Castros’ hand-picked successor, is touring schools, gymnasia and workplaces in an attempt to raise the regime’s political profile. His words reflect the predominant mood of fear, discouragement and defeatism within the party. They knew there was a segment of the population that strongly opposed and rejected them, but they did not imagine it was so enormous or so widespread.

On the other hand, the exile community is demonstrating its optimism about the future with a conference of prominent Cuban-American businesspeople sponsored by the Assembly of the Cuban Resistance. They have committed to offering their talent, expertise and investment resources as soon as freedom and democracy are restored on the island.

These prominent businesspeople have committed to establishing continue reading

a fund for the reconstruction of the Republic of Cuba that will provide “advice, credit support, financing and accounting systems to Cubans who wish to become entrepreneurs and thus develop, as soon as possible, thousands of small and medium-sized companies that will be owned by individuals and families and not by an oppressive state.”

The obstacle preventing the Cuban economy from taking off is the communist system. The people have shown that they do not want to continue with a failed experiment that has plunged them into poverty and subjected them to oppression. Their calls during the protests were not for food or medicine but for the end of the system. Everyone knows this is the problem but the regime resists change and, once again, has resorted to the only tool it has to hold onto power: repression.

Faced with violence, the popular response being discussed on the island is a national strike to bring the country to a halt and force the dictorial leadership to resign. The opposition has demonstrated that it is in the majority and, with this majority, that it can paralyze the country’s productive and commercial activities. Faced with enormous debt, lack of credit, lack of income, and a dying economy, the regime would find it very difficult to survive.

People know that under the communist regime they will never be able to improve their lives. Nor will they be able to fulfill their dreams of becoming entrepreneurs. They know that the government’s tolerance of the private sector is simply a license granted today that will be taken away tomorrow at the whim of some official. They are also convinced that private enterprise and the market economy produce prosperity.

This is why the Miami businesspeople’s commitment to Cubans on the island is so important. It covers almost all the major sectors, including finance, banking, insurance, manufacturing, construction, energy, medicine, and even real estate and the press.

Persons and peoples are motivated to make great sacrifices, even at the risk of their freedom and life, when the goal is the happiness, well-being and security of their families. Those are the desires that have always moved humanity to undertake social and political struggles to achieve a better life. Today these desires are in the hopes and minds of millions of Cubans on the island who already know there is a better future awaiting them.

____________

COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

The Military and the Future of Cuba

The regime’s days are numbered, the author argues, with or without the participation of the military. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Luis Zuñiga, Miami, August 16, 2021 – The Castro dictatorship was not thrilled with a proposal by businessman Sergio Pino to build houses for the military in a effort to encourage democratic change in Cuba. The issue is not the material aspect of the proposal. What bothers them is the implied message: a Cuban exile is extending his hand to the military, encouraging its leaders to take sides in the current crisis and play a role in bringing about the changes the Cuban people are demanding.

The message carries an important acknowledgement: the military has not participated in the regime’s repression against the people; their hands have not been stained with blood nor have they participated in the mistreatment and torture of political prisoners.

For this reason, most Cuban exiles would welcome a decision by the military to take the democratic path. Here is evidence of the exile community opening its arms to those military officers who have chosen to distance themselves from the dictatorship.

Clearly, the regime’s days are numbered, with or without the participation of the military. The July 11 protests in Cuba are echoes of those that occurred in Eastern European countries just before their communist governments fell. In those instances, the military prevented state security forces from attacking crowds and forced top government officials continue reading

to resign. Military officers were allowed to retain their commands, both after transitional governments took over and after democracy was established. This is how it should be in Cuba too.

Answering the call would be within the line of duty. Soldiers pledge allegiance to the nation, not to communist ideology. And the people are the nation. On July 11 the nation spoke clearly: “We want no more of this communist regime.”

We realize this system creates uncertainty for everyone, including military officers. The fear that expressing an honest opinion could be interpreted as an act of treason is real. Therefore, senior officers should use their personal relationships, not their professional ones, as a vehicle to speak privately and honestly about the situation as it truly exists in Cuba. The responsibility they carry on their shoulders is crucial.

This decision is not difficult if one honestly and objectively evaluates what the Castro regime has done to Cuba: a nation ruined and indebted, with a dilapidated infrastructure, widespread poverty, abandoned farmland overrun with marabou weed, rampant prostitution, jails filled to capacity, corrupt police, huge inequalities between the people and its leaders, and — worse still — no future.

Faced with this undeniable reality, should military commanders continue to support a regime that does not know how to govern, that only generates poverty and that hangs onto power through repression and imprisonment?

_______________

Editor’s note: The author is a political analyst and a former Cuban political prisoner.

____________

COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.