Embargo 2014 / Rafael Leon Rodriguez

Image downloaded from http://www.cmhw.icrt.cu

The present year, 2014, started and in the last trimester Cuba began to pack its bags. And it is something that has been repeated since the last century to the point of exhaustion; as if year after year at the end, it sneaks out the window to return, stealthily, by the back door. Plans, promises, programs, guidelines; anyone would say: “More of the same with the same people.”

But it seems that finally something has started to move, mainly in the economic and social sectors. Self-employment, taxes, workers contracted to private domestic companies; use of the land by farmers leasing it under usufruct; recovery of some rights to buy and sell, to travel abroad and return. Political prisoners freed between deportation and parole. New laws addressing foreign investment and work.

All a package of reforms from the authoritarian government, to maintain the governments authoritarian power, with the intention of consolidating state capitalism and guaranteeing a peaceful dynastic succession.

Logically, national and international observers have different viewpoints on these matters. From those who claim they are only cosmetic changes, to those who argue the opposite. It’s clear that the authorities still haven’t addressed what they owe the peaceful political opposition and the world community with regards to the ratification and implementation of the United Nations’ International Covenants on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and Civil and Political Rights.

Eityher way, there is a new synergy, with its actions, contradictions and surprises. Who would have thought, for example, that the newspaper Granma, the organ of the Communist Party, would publish an article from the New York Times almost entirely for domestic readers, as happened on 14 October of this year.

It is as if suddenly the maximum historical leadership of the country would turn to independent journalism. And the topic of the American embargo on Cuba is news again this month at the United Nations.

In addition, the next Summit of the Americas in Panama, to which Cuba is invited for the first time, brings an unique opportunity for the Cuban government to face that of the United States in a framework propitious for the initiation of conversations.

The current instability in Venezuela, the electoral swings in Brazil, the systemic Cuban economic crisis and the phenomena of international terrorism, seem to have forced the Island’s authorities top take seriously the need for a constructive dialogue with our closest neighbors.

One of the significant aspects of these possible meetings and perhaps an element that has conspired against their prior realization is that, over the past 55 years, eleven eleven presidents and their respective administrations have passed through the White House and Cuba the leaders have remained the same, each with their respective histories.

However, only through negotiations can conflicts be peacefully resolved. The embargo on Cuba, which has served to victimize the regime, is senseless and has fallen on the most vulnerable sectors of the people and should be negotiated.

It is, without a doubt, another violation of Cubans’ human rights and an obstacle to our just aspirations for freedom, justice and peace in democracy.

19 October 2014