Do what I say… / Rosa María Rodríguez Torrado

“Between individuals as between nations, respect for the rights of others is peace.”
Benito Juarez

From the pages of Granma we learned, on April 9: “The United States confiscated more than $493,000,000 from 2010 to date,” and in addition that this was, “a part of the economic blockade imposed on our country for more than half a century.”

They allege that the information was confirmed in a communication from the Office of Assets Control under the Department of the Treasury, a Federal agency that lists Cuba as a “nation sponsoring terrorism.”

Under the same concept, Washington has frozen 223,700,000 dollars intended for our country in 2009. They add that the document was quoted by Prensa Latina and in a side note published on the first page of the official 8-page tabloid, they mentioned that U.S. authorities also maintain similar blockades against six properties owned by the Cuban State in New York and Washington.

A week later, this Monday the 16th, in an extensive article published on page 3 of the same daily, under the title “The Truth About The Stolen Funds,” in the third paragraph, they declare that the “the Cuban funds frozen in the United States, in virtue of the economic, commercial and financial blockade,” total 245 million dollars, not the 493 million asserted in the earlier note.

What is not mentioned in either of these articles, is that it was the Cuban authorities who first confiscated American property on our soil as a part of their multiple outrages on the way to their total seizure of power. Never — that I know of — have they mentioned the amount of these appropriations from American citizens, nor from Cubans themselves.

How can they protest, then, when they do the same thing? They address the issue casually, as if here the government would have allowed, not only the American government, but any citizen from there, to own property in our territory in the last five decades.

It’s not that I’m in favor of the old law of retaliation or any kind of reprisal, simply that I question the facts, as do many people within Cuba. According to the logic of power, they can rob others — although they call it “nationalizing” — whenever they want, but others cannot do the same to them. I’m surprised that the leaders of the Greater Antilles, which so often accuse the U.S. administrations of wanting to impose its laws and vision on the world, act in a pattern similar to that they criticize.

It seems that, contrary to what the historic Cuban leadership suggests, arrogant attitudes are not only a trait of the leaders of the rich countries. It is unethical to hide behind the prerogatives of a Revolution to justify violations of elemental rights — individual and group — such as respect for private property. It is necessary to renew the political model from which so many national disasters originated in order to erect a truly just, humane and enduring work.

April 17 2012