Five Months and… / Rafael Leon Rodriguez

Image from

Rafael Leon Rodriguez , 22 May 2015 — A little over five months have transpired since the conversations between the governments of Cuba and the United States of America were made public. After half a century of disconnected positions, hope has returned of renewing the ties that have historically linked the two nations. An exchange of political prisoners, conversations about the reestablishment of diplomatic relations, consideration of measures to improve exchanges between the two countries, of communications, of human rights; removal of Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, among other significant steps, auger a new era for Cubans and Americans.

As for the relationship between the authorities of the archipelago with the national society in this new scenario, everything appears to reaffirm that only the economic categories are subject to modifications or changes, but the political categories remain unalterable, based on the anti-democratic hegemony of a single party. They talk about a new electoral law but the first-round votes for the delegates to the Municipal Assembles this last April was conducted under the existing law. They suggest they are considering enacting another constitution, but provide no information about this important issue.

Now, finally, they sent a strong and clear message at the 7th Summit of the Americas in Panama, of intolerance in the face of political diversity. To the representatives of Cuba’s independent civil society that attended the parallel forums, they confronted us with dozens of members of the civil society dependent on the Cuban State, sent as representatives of a questionable institutional civility.

Ordered to show through their actions their loyalty to the regime, they preferred confrontation over the sharing of spaces for dialog with their fellow compatriots. If it weren’t for the significance of the event itself for the present and future of the nation, we could call on island humor, rejoicing over having two civil societies: one dependent and one independent of the State.

In the speeches of the most senior political leaders of the archipelago about the conversations with the American authorities, we heard constant allusions to: “We must learn to live with respect for our differences.”

Is the national context not applicable to this affirmation. The Cuban nation belongs to all Cubans, independent of where we find ourselves and the way we thing. We are people, we are diverse, we are all subjects of the law and respect for our human dignity.

Beyond the importance of normalization of relations without neighbors to the north, the formation of a true Cuban nation “of all with for the good of all” should not and cannot be kept waiting.