January 2013 / Rafael Leon Rodriguez

Former presidents Castro and Lula
Former presidents Castro and Lula. From noticiasvenado.com.ar

Cuba assumed the presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) during the Summit held in Santiago de Chile over the last days of January. Among the governments of the 33 member states, Cuba’s stands out for its lack of political pluralism, intolerance, repression against the opposition, and a longstanding dictatorship

Authoritarian leaders competing among themselves, on Sunday February 3, when the votes were held to elect deputies to the provincial assemblies and the National Assembly of People’s Power in which everything was pre-planned, even the results.

During the closing of the Third International Conference for World Equilibrium in Havana, the former president of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, spoke about the achievements of his country in the eight years of government under his leadership, which now continues to expand under the leadership of Dilma Rousseff. He appealed in his speech for the integration of Latin America and the Caribbean and urged President Obama to advance, among other things, the end of the blockade on Cuba.

The U.S. president, meanwhile, told reporters that relations between the U.S. and Cuba can progress in the next four years and noted the importance of continuing to press for Cubans to have our own voices and to strengthen civil society in Cuba.

The Foreign Ministry quickly issued a statement declaring the island’s government’s willingness to work for the advancement of bilateral relations. At the end, the note states that Cuba is a country that is changing and moving. Now, if General President Raul Castro assured, publicly, that current changes were for more socialism, understood to more of the same, then the advance seems headed in the opposite direction.

So we Cubans started off 2013. Confirming the universal validity of the thought of José Martí on his 160th birthday; listening surprised in the midst of disaster to the story of Brazil’s progress; seeing the disinterest of democratic governments in Latin America in the oppressive situation of our people; observing another predetermined general election in our country; and hopeful that the interest of winning the North American market, will lead the totalitarian authorities to move towards democratic freedoms.

February 5 2013