Dissidents: “It implies an ignorance about how things work here.” / Manual Cuesta Morua, Antonio Rodiles, Jose Daniel Ferrer

Letter to Obama: The internal opposition questions that it doesn’t address human rights on the Island.

Manuel Cuesta Morúa, president of the Progressive Arc Party

“It is not very viable to address the proposal directly to self-employment in Cuba since it implies an ignorance of how things work here . It is the government which grants and takes away the license, which doesn’t allow loans from international banks, and which monopolizes the importation of goods and commodities. So the impact of these potential resources will always be limited.

“I find it interesting that this initiative is based in the United States and not Cuba. It is dangerous for Cuba, like the hug of a bear, because Cuba is very weak as a nation. Nor do I see in this letter a clear defense of human rights and freedoms, and that makes me a little suspicious.”

Antonio Rodiles, director of Estado de SATS

“This anti-embargo onslaught associated with the silence or support of political actors inside and outside the Island is shameful. Basic freedoms have never come from complacency with the executioners. Those who today are afraid that time is running out must hear direct words, based on the premise of respect for the rights and freedoms of citizens.

“There are times when we have to define the principles that govern us, the political chess should at least have certain basic principles. In our case, the demand for rights is elemental. Oxygen for the tyrants implies suffering for Cubans. If a blank check is given to the dictators, it does not bode well, the costs to become a democratic nation will be high.”

José Daniel Ferrer, executive secretary of the Patriotic Union of Cuba

“Every approach, every issue between whatever free country and Cuba, must have the forefront the situation of human rights. The Castro brothers’ regime is a flagrant and stubborn violator of human rights. At the point where we are today, it wouldn’t be ethical, nor politically wise, because the regime is condemned to disappear. It’s not good that people or institution, looking for economic benefits, want to approach.

“Given the current reality and the rules the Castros maintain, it would be impossible for self-employed workers or independent organizations to receive these credits or grants.

“For that to happen, Cuban must change the rules of the game. And they have to consider the organizations working for a political opening, freedom and democracy. Because as long as the regime maintains a political monopoly, the high taxes that affect every question related to the economy and the productivity of the nation will remain.”

Diario de Cuba | Havana | 20 May 2014

Editor’s note: A website with the letter to Obama is here, or you can download a PDF of the letter here.