OBAMA IN CUBA: WHAT CHANGES COME WILL DEPEND UPON THE CUBAN PEOPLE
A new stage is opening to Cuba and the United States. President Barack Obama visit to Cuba has been an unmistakable sign.
“I have come here to bury the last remnant of the Cold War in the Americas”- said the president of the United States. And for his part he has done his best to move forward. The official Cuban press has not finished the chapter and has reacted with the same suspicion, discredit and language of past times. However, it’s evident and verifiable by the ones who are interested in hearing the people’s opinion, that President Obama visit has been positive, respectful, close and encouraging. This dichotomy between the voice of citizens and the official mass media is worrying and anachronistic.
After the first impressions we wish to evaluate this visit which is the first visit paid by a president of the United States in 88 years.
1.The visit is an unmistakable sign of the change of policy by the government of the United States toward Cuba. Besides, it is a significant effort in order to turn this policy into a State matter therefore it will be irreversible in its essence though there may be alternation in the executive or some changes about circumstantial details.
2.This change of policy has left certain official sectors without place and has shattered the old and obsolete pretext of the “external enemy” and “country under siege” which has tried to justify for more than half a century, the punishment on discrepancy, the lack of civil, political, social, economic and cultural liberties, the violation of Universal and indivisible Human Rights.
3.This change of policy has set very clearly and unmistakably that The United States are not going to invade Cuba or interfere, design and much less have a leading role in the future of Cuba or diminish the sovereignty of Cubans or their self- determination or their independence.
4.“Changes depend upon the Cuban people”- said President Obama. In all his words was the echo of the most momentous and current phrase stated by Pope John Paul II in his visit to Cuba in 1998: “You are and must be the protagonists of your own personal and national history”. In our opinion, this is the essence, the core and the end of every sound policy either in diplomatic relations between governments or in relations between the Cuban people and the government devoted to its people.
5.The policy “people to people” which has been exemplified by President Obama during his visit to Cuba is the only way that gives guarantee, prominence and safety to relations among nations.
6.The exchange with citizens without mediators and with the authorities too. Carry out work sessions with different social actors such as independent workers, small entrepreneurs, nuns and priests, opponents, civil society activists, artists and others, in transparent meetings, honest and constructive is and should be an example for other presidents, religious leaders and personalities from Culture, Sports and international organizations coming to Cuba.
7.The visit was a sowing of confidence. The atmosphere of trust and transparency is the indispensable habitat to normalize every interpersonal and international relation. You cannot talk with another people if you are afraid of him. Negotiations cannot be achieved if there isn’t a minimum of mutual trust. Relations cannot be established if there is a priori judgement or paralyzing suspicion or defamatory and violent language or nervous and defiant gestures. Normalization requires an atmosphere of serenity, safety, unrestricted respect for the differences, open spirit, the will to change; before, during and after the visits and negotiations.
8.The visit was a sowing of safety for interlocutors. The spaces of greatest freedom and greatest democratic participation are created by rapprochement and not isolation, by talks and not discredit, by negotiation of what is negotiable and respect for what’s not negotiable; by giving safety and confidence to the interlocutor because nobody who is threatened, punished or repressed can open himself up to dialogue, negotiation and change.
9.The new climate that is being built since the 17th of December, 2014 is closing up and it should definitively close up the spirit of confrontation, violence in language and actions. This given trust should be shown by stopping the repression to the soul, liberties, legitimate aspirations to progress and happiness on the part of our people and it should give way to what has been correctly called “decriminalization of discrepancy”.
10.The example of what was achieved in this visit should help the heads of states involved as well as both shores of the only Cuban nation not to be conditioned by hatred, resentment and settling of scores. The Montecristi Manifest, the highest and most ethical one inherited from Martí shows us to banish all malice. Historic memory, yes but without revenge. To learn and draw lessons from the past, yes but we should be allowed to renovate the present and innovate for the future. Respect for the suffering experienced by both shores is a duty and the other duty is to pay the best tribute to all who fell or suffered which means to end violence and death forever in order to rebuild a Republic based on what Martí called “the formula of triumphant love”: with all and for the good of all” with hatred-free souls.
After the visit from the president of the United States, from three Catholic Church Supreme Pontiffs, from many presidents and international organizations and after the Agreement signed with the European Union:
What else does the Cuban government need to implement a National Dialogue with all sectors of its own people?
What else do the Cuban citizens need to accept our civic and political relevance in order to change all that has to be changed by peaceful means with the participation of all with equal possibilities and opportunities?
What else does the international community need to realize who’s responsible for the changes in Cuba?
What else do we Cubans need to create in our country the economic, political, social, cultural, moral and religious conditions that allow all the children of Cuba to live, work and progress here and not be compelled to escape in order to find happiness abroad. We have the right to happiness in our own land.
We think we have started a new stage. We glimpse the possibility of new events this very year in which the VII Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba will be held.
Once more we express our deepest conviction and confidence in the talents, abilities, initiative and creativity of Cubans, women and men, to take on our destiny, to fix our problems ourselves and leave a prosperous, fraternal and happy nation to our children and grandchildren. The nation we all deserve.
Nobody will come to do it for us.
Pinar del Río, March 25th, 2016
Anniversary of Montecristi Manifest