‘We keep searching for you, Homeland’* / Antonio Rodiles

December 17 is a watershed in the recent history of our country. It is the break point between those who are betting on neo-Castroism or who are willing to participate in its moves, and those of us who argue that our nation should rebuild itself around the basic premises of freedoms and fundamental rights.

No nation has to assume our burdens and resolve our conflicts, but undoubtedly the measures taken by President Barack Obama will provide great benefits to those who intend to mutate to this new authoritarianism. It has been a grave error to set aside the many voices and stories that have so much to say about Cuba, and to listen only to the Castros and to a handful who pretend to know how to transition to democracy.

In parallel, they have tried to show that those who advocate an unbending position with regards to full respect for fundamental human rights are retrograde and extremist people, obsoletes who revel in pain and lack a vision of the future. What a naïve and dangerous game they propose as an exit strategy from totalitarianism. Can they ignore so much history and fail to understand that in a transition there are actors who cannot be omitted?

The longest dictatorship in the hemisphere has destroyed our country materially and profoundly damaged the Cuban soul. The reconstruction of the nation requires more than investment, cellphones and flash memories. Cuba is not a computer on which new software can be installed to make it become socially functional.

We need a consciousness and memory of what has happened to us, our frustrations and pains, what we do not want to repeat or never again perpetuate. Without this recognition we will continue to be a dispersed and broken nation, without the spirit to be reborn. Cuba needs to be re-founded with a fresh impulse, full of strength and a sense of freedom. Starting from clear demands to return the dignity, the pride, and to allow the design of a future without the burden of the Castro regime.

There is a great deal for us to rethink: projection, messages, strategies and even aesthetics. But the hope of shaking off an elite that has shown the most profound contempt for Cubans is a genuine sentiment that steers us. A political solution is only possible if it is based on full respect for the human being.

The current United States administration has to change course if it wants to be an agent of credible change, and it must pay attention to the demand of thousands of Cuban citizens who from within and outside the Island insist on a solid and firm commitment to human rights. The ratification and above all the implementation of the United Nations Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights should be a key tool as a precondition to move us forward in the Cuban dilemma. The European Union has already paid attention to this demand, adding the International Labor Organization (ILO) standards. A clear and firm repositioning is the only way to give credibility to a process that began with profound mistakes.

What is needed is a strong push to infect with desires of freedom Cubans who, in the face of survival and evasion, have lost faith. To find a solution to our long conflict, it is a premise that all political actors, from within and outside the island, must participate.

It is no longer about the Castro regime, the Castro regime is dying. The conflict is between accepting a neo-Castro authoritarianism, or moving to a true democracy.

The phrase that is the title of this article is a quote from Reinaldo Arenas.