The Opposition Needs Something More Than Courage / Jorge Olivera Castillo

HAVANA, Cuba , October, – I have heard more than once that the opposition is nothing more than a symbolic “testimonial,” which will fail to turn itself into an important political reference in the short and medium term.

Most significant are not so much the affirmations, as the people (Cubans and foreigners) who make them, many of them on the condition of anonymity and without knowledge of the subject .

It has not been easy to resist in the midst of so many difficulties, and even to advance agendas that would seem impossible in such adverse circumstances. However, despite the many mistakes committed in tactics and strategies, the government repression and the unending flow of leaders into exile, the Cuban opposition has a moderate margin of credibility.

To say that all the effort of more than three decades has been a failure, would be false. Along with the many setbacks, there are successes; not many, but they represent the moral fortitude and resilience of opposition groups.

Unfortunately, many of our initiatives attest to the courage and determination of the opponents, but failed to extend our struggle to a substantial part of the people. Nor is there unity among opponents. The egotism of some and their persistence in undertaking unrealistic and overly ambitious plans continue to damage our struggle.

The regime, despite its talent for repression, is recognized in international forums. The denunciations of flagrant violations of human rights, in addition to being ignored by the mainstream press, don’t receive attention from other governments or these forums.

The hundreds of arbitrary arrests every month, the increase in the numbers of political prisoners and the beatings of peaceful opponents in the public streets, pass before the eyes of the world without consequences for the dictatorship.

To move forward we must “professionalize” our struggle. We need the humility to recognize what we are lacking and our potential. If we don’t correct our tactics we will not achieve legitimacy for our aspirations.

With our divisions, our ambitious goals, and the discourse that clamors for external corrective measures, including military intervention, the opposition grows the vicious circle.

We must maintain our fundamental principles, but readjust our strategies, and look for new, more effective, methods.

Jorge Olivera Castillo,

From Cubanet, 23 October 2013