No Commitment / Yoani Sanchez

Photo by Silvia Corbelle

Red and black, these are the colors of the newspaper Granma. But unlike Stendhal’s famous work, in Granma’s pages the reader will not encounter realism, simply proselytizing. When the official organ of the Communist Party chooses a headline, its intentions are to impose an idea, not to report on it.

So it was with the phrase highlighted on the front page of this newspaper last Thursday. Taken from Raul Castro’s speech in Santiago de Cuba, the words stressed that, “The Revolution will continue just the same, without commitments to anyone at all, only to the people!” With this cover page, both the orator and the editors wanted to emphasize something which, in reality, they don’t make very clear. It’s worth trying to decipher its meaning.

Fifty-five years have passed since the start of the so-called Cuban Revolution, so this reference to possible commitments should not refer back to its origins. One imagines that the General wasn’t alluding to the rupture of and ingratitude for certain endorsements and subsidies made to the rebels half a century ago.

It does not sound, then, like an adiós to the former fellow travelers who put their shoulders, and pockets, to the wheel to sustain this system for decades.

Who, then, is this “anyone” whom Raul Castro strips of any chance to make demands? Clearly it’s not aimed at the Miraflores Palace in response to the huge subsidies that Cuba receives from Venezuela. For this economic support has generated more political ties to the government being maintained than the one maintaining it.

To think that it’s an insinuation of a setting aside of the political responsibilities of belonging to the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) would be naive, at the very least. What, then, was this man in his military uniform talking about, with his hackneyed phrases and written speech? What is he referring to? The answer points both to the White House and to Brussels.

Every negotiation or conversation needs a minimum set of obligations to fulfill. Any party involved in an agreement is assured that the other party cedes an equal or greater measure than it does. It’s clear that in 2013, both the United States and the European Union took steps to moderate the diplomatic temperature between themselves and the Plaza of the Revolution.

Winks, relaxations, announcements of a new path, entered the speech of some politicians with respect to the largest of the Antilles. The table was set for a feast of agreement and dialog. In response, the ungrateful guest has come and overturned the table.

“No commitments…” screams Raul Castro, and rushes to frame it in the red letters of the newspaper Granma. We already know to whom the phrase is directed; they can consider themselves warned.

7 January 2014