Relations / Fernando Damaso

Last December 17, we Cubans received the pleasing news that diplomatic relations would be reestablished between the governments of Cuba and the United States, after more than 50 years of non-existence, lived in a hostile and confrontational climate. Many of us thought that, finally, common sense had prevailed, and that both governments had derived lessons from their errors, so as not to repeat them.

Soon enough, however, the alarms went off. Cuban leaders and functionaries continued using the same obsolete language from the “Cold War” years; aggressive declarations were made; illogical and improvised demands were raised; alignment with totalitarian governments was tightened; and support for extremist organizations and movements was increased.

As if this weren’t enough, it was assumed to be a duty of all Cubans to side with the inept Venezuelan government, and its even more inept president, in an attitude of brazen interference in that country’s internal affairs: demonizing and declaring war on its opposition, taking an active part on the side of the authorities, disregarding that in the last elections, the “Chavistas” (followers of Hugo Chavez, and now his handpicked heir Nicolas Maduro) won by a margin of 300,000 votes in a country divided almost down the middle, where the wishes of those who are not in accord with the government are as valid as those of the government and its supporters. The Venezuelan authorities seem to have forgotten that they should govern for all Venezuelans, and not for just a portion of them–which seems to be a common evil in our lands.

This surge in the political fire does not help the goal of reestablishing respectful relations. Once again, the Cuban authorities forget that they should represent first the interests of the Cuban people, and not those of certain political groups in other countries who have similar ideologies. Let us hope that in the upcoming dialogues of the 21st, all of this is kept in mind.

Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison

18 May 2015