The Brookings Institution / Rafael León Rodríguez

Eusebio Leal Spengler, City of Havana Historian. Image taken from: ""

The press and official propaganda organ of the Cuban government, Granma, published a report dated May 18 in Washington, on a lecture given by the City of Havana historian, Eusebio Leal Spengler, at The Brookings Institution think tank in the U.S. Capital. It dealt with the project of restoring the historic center of Havana, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982. The note also makes reference to the comments of the noted intellectual with regards to the update of the Cuban economic model, which he described as irreversible, and added as a declaration of faith his plans for the country, and I quote, “I am not here by accident, but looking and working in the direction that I consider correct, the salvation of our national rights and our ancestral worship of our sovereignty, the establishment of normal relations between the United States and Cuba.”

In April of 2009 The Brookings Institutions released a document titled “Report of the Brookings Project ‘U.S. Policy toward a Cuba in Transition.’” This study, undertaken by a large group of American, Cuban-American and Latin American advisers, proposes a kind of road map in three stages — the short, medium and long term — to solve the differences between Cuba and the United States. Under the title “Cuba: A New Policy of Critical and Constructive Engagement,” the study was intended as a foreign policy tool for the new President Obama, whom they assume, given his election campaign speeches, to be interested in changing the conflicted relations between the two countries.

It would be interesting were Mr. Eusebio Leal Spengler, who certainly knows of this study from The Brookings Institution, and enjoys the privilege of access to governmental center of power on the island, to promote the publication of this project for Cuba, on his return. In this way, Cuban citizens would have the opportunity to learn about a topic of interest to them, which directly affects them and which they are entitled to know about. It’s clear that the declaration of the speaker to the Associated Press was not delivered on his own account. These references are associated, among others, with the speeches made by the co-chair of the Cuba Study Group, Mr. Carlos Saladrigas, in one of his recent visits to our country. Mr. Saladrigas served as an adviser to the Brookings Cuba project and was among the financial donors for the work.

If, as Mr. Leal said, the updating the so-called economic model is irreversible and this is nothing other than the recovery of a share of the right to work for oneself, and small private property rights we have enjoyed for fifty years, the right of all citizens to participate in the solution of the problem of Cuba, beginning, as well, with reclaiming universal information: free access to the media and the Internet. Above all, it is through this universal right that we begin to establish normal relations, not only with the United States but with the world.

22 May 2012