No Effort Will Perk up the Cuban Economy / Angel Santiesteban

The new container terminal in the Mariel Special Development Zone. REUTERS/Desmond Boylan

Not a thousand ports like Mariel and its development zone will be able to enliven the Cuban economy. A government which for more than half a century uses a great part of its finances to prepare for a war that never arrived, and which instead of taking advantage of that unique opportunity when it existed — the Soviet Union and the rest of the socialist bloc that maintained us without caring what we invested in — squandered those billions on the work of Fidel Castro, the worst administrator in the history of any national economy, sowing guerrillas in America, carrying out civil wars, instituting misfortune and thousands of death, instead of investing in agricultural and industrial development.

No prosperous economy will be able to exist as long there is not full freedom and demilitarization of all sectors at all levels.  No prosperous economy will be able to exist while the people do not have basic rights and there is no respect for individual thought.  A prosperous economy will not be able to exist while the opposition is disrespected.

The health of a country, and any human yearning, is in listening to the diversity of opinions, in the discussion of the parties for the improvement of the same end.

In 1980 the Mariel port was for everyone the symbol of liberty. Large portions of the best and worst of our society departed through Mariel, essentially the result achieved in 20 years of imposed socialism.

Today it is meant to form part of a development zone for the national economy in particular and of Latin America in general, but that depends only on Raul Castro inserting himself into the concert of nations of the 21st century, where there is no room for dictatorships but political and economic processes that truly help guide serious progress in all senses, beginning — of course — with respect for Human Rights, and for that, he must sign the UN Accords.

Hopefully the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, will insist on that urgent point for the people of Cuba and for the world. No one will get more from that gesture than the dictatorship itself and the purse of the Castro family, which for many years has prepared for its future as high-class millionaires. As long as these advances in rights do not occur, there will be no future prosperity.

Angel Santiesteban-Prats

Lawton Prison Settlement. January 2014.

Translated by mlk.

1 February 2014