The Law of the Funnel / Fernando Damaso

Fernando Damaso, Havana, 3 February 2015 — Following December 17, 2014, and the first working meeting between the United States and Cuba delegations to reestablish diplomatic relations and find solutions to other questions that affect both governments, the Cuban authorities have framed the event as a victory.

They say it is a result of “almost half a century of heroic struggle and faithfulness to the principles of the Cuban people…thanks to the new era in which our region lives, and to the solid and brave demand from the governments and peoples of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).” Once again, the false triumphalism that has given us so many headaches makes an appearance.

What goes unmentioned is the courageous decision by the president of the United States and the measures which — without any concessions in return by the Cuban government — he is taking, despite criticism from both the Democratic and Republican sectors.

The Cuban authorities, knowing that they only have two years (the time left in office to the current North American president) to get something — instead of facilitating his gesture, complicate matters with absurd and out-of-context demands, mixing them with others that might be accepted. Thus, along with the end of the embargo, the green light for travel by American individuals, the granting of credit, the removal of Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, the procurement of equipment and technologies, and a trade relationship — all of which are fair requests and in keeping with good relations between neighboring countries — there is the return of the Guantánamo naval base, the ceasing of Radio and TV Martí broadcasts, compensation for the human and economic damages of the embargo, as well as not requiring anything from the Cuban government in return, which will be very difficult for an American administration to accept. It is a classic case of the “law of the funnel”: the wide part for me and the narrow for others.

These unrestrained demands make one think that the Cuban authorities are only interested in buying time, delaying the resolution of the dispute, without daring to leave the game, come what may. It is a matter of a sick addiction to power, believing themselves designated by the gods to exercise it eternally, without any regard for the Cuban people. After sinking the country and dragging it down to poverty, they still consider themselves its saviors and, worst of all, they try to make us citizens accept them as such.

 Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison