Successful self-employed, a group to consider / Juan Juan Almeida

Juan Juan Almeida, 10 February 2015 — Observing coldly and setting aside all partisanship is the best way to understand that the decision taken by the American president to reestablish relations with Cuba is entirely welcome news for a Cuban sector that, after suffering the wrath of what appeared to be an infinite confrontation, trusts in a step that, without a doubt, will have a positive impact on its current way of life.

Clearly the United States, in addition to executing a masterful geopolitical move — because with this approach it isolates Russia and China from Latin America using as leverage the indisputable influence of Cuba in the region — also aims to turn the island into a kind of stable neighbor capable of guaranteeing control over its illegal emigration and constraining the nest of terrorist and international crime groups in our island. We accept without naivety that this latter will only be achieved by working together with the Cuban military and/or government, dictatorial or not.

Do I like it? Of course not, I know all the high level Cuban leaders, I know that they are structured to crush without remorse everyone who goes against them; they are criminals and they are dictators. But our opposition has nothing to offer because, in addition to fighting for power using the ideal recipe to fall into disaster, they seem not to understand that the solutions to social problems are found in real politics and not in international marketing. Neither the victimhood silliness nor the wise man arrogance have any appeal. Therefore, their actions lack a mobilizing effect.

None of our opponents, for example (using the off-repeated campaign of General Raul Castro against corruption), has talked about pushing a “law of transparency” project, in which every member of the government and the Cuban State is obliged to create direct on-line access so that everyone, at any time, can have a look to know how much they earn, how much they have and what they are spending the national budget on.

Nevertheless, we must support them and it seems significant that the debate about Cuba came to Washington in the form of invited guests from the Cuban opposition. From my point of view, this invitation signifies a real push and a protective umbrella for these brave voices who, from within Cuba, leave their lives in the streets. But if what the government of the United States wants is “To understand the impacts of the political changes on Human Rights and Democracy in Cuba,” then, in addition to dissidents and opponents, it must also invite some of those people who, although we have not applied to them the deserved title of leaders, are the true vanguard, who inspire and represent the dreams of Cuban youth and our civil society.

I am referring, obviously, to those new and successful Cuban entrepreneurs (I detest the word “self-employed”) who are emerging within the Island, channeling the social disconnect, and creating an attractive zone of visual comfort to the still reduced but growing sector that dreams of emigrating there. Not listening to that social group that is ever more powerful, more influential and that applauds the rapprochement between Cuba and the United States because they want to benefit from it, is like wishing the black clouds of today will continue to form a part of the eternally impoverished national landscape.